"What we know is that the impact of a team can often be more profound than just the impact of one person. This, of course, is not to minimize individual improvement, but when a group improves together, so does the climate and ... maybe even the culture ... of a school building. " Dr. Peter DeWitt's recent Education Week blog post "Do Principals and Their Leadership Teams Need Coaching Too?" reminds us that one-on-one coaching is not our only option when working to improve our schools. Team-coaching can make an impact on the entire building - clarifying vision and setting action steps to achieve goals.
What would happen if a school focused on teacher well-being as a building goal? What if a leadership team was open to coaching around this topic and took steps to make well-being a part of the culture? This is my dream for education. While teachers can take their own steps for self-care, schools and districts have the ability to change the environment for teachers and students. Imagine teaching in a building that was structured in a way to support the WHOLE teacher - person, really. When decisions are made, teachers and administrative leaders would collaborate in order to understand all aspects of a decision while maintaining focus on how this impacts the well-being of the teacher. What if NOT doing-it-all was encouraged and instead administrative leaders coached teachers on prioritizing initiatives while helping teachers feel good about coming to work everyday?
Is this dream possible? Do you work at school that considers the "whole" teacher when making decisions and taking action? If so, please tell us about your school in the comments!
I'm all about trying new ways to relax, so when I heard about a sound bath event in my area, I signed up hoping to be transported to a tranquil place in my mind. Little did I know that this experience would be jarring, but powerful just the same.
My imagination prepared me for a light dinging of bells and perhaps a gentle gong. My fellow bathers had come prepared with blow-up mattresses, fuzzy blankets, and silk eye masks, for heaven's sake. What I experienced, instead, was being trapped in sound so loud that I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack. The reverb was so loud that I could not sustain a thought. In the first five minutes, I was convinced that I would have to leave. I almost reached out to my friend nearby to feel more grounded but decided instead to surrender. Isn't that what meditators tell us to do?
As a teacher and mother, I pride myself in the decisions I make and the actions I take but don't do so well when I'm in situations out of my control. I was being bathed in inescapable sound that forced me to go on the journey of the healer - not in my own direction. Instead of fighting the noise inside and outside of my head, I let go of the tension that had built up and allowed myself to follow the path of sound. It painted the walls with joys, fears, sorrows, and hope and when it was over, I felt as if I had just experienced a lifetime of emotion- evoking my own memories of life. I did not leave relaxed, but contemplative. It was the perfect exercise for me in letting go.
We often deal with changes at school and in our home lives that require us to follow a path that feels out of our control. How do you cope in these situations?