Power to grow…

Evidence of teacher and student growth from recent work in a third grade classroom.


I didn’t go to the TC Saturday Reunion yesterday. Fortunately, so many people shared their experiences on Twitter and I followed along there. It did leave me disappointed that I didn’t make more of an effort to get there.  Living just an hour or so away, I’m always amazed at the lengths people go to make it to New York for this event. In October, I was inspired by a group of teachers that had traveled overnight on a bus, changing into matching pink t-shirts once they finally arrived. There is nothing like the full feeling I always leave TC with. Brain full of ideas, questions about current practice, plans to try new things…the promise of personal growth and the impact that will have on students.

One of my favorite pieces that I read from yesterday’s reunion came from Amy (@talesforteaching). Her tweet read, “Leadership is not outperforming others. It’s knowing yourself and others and giving others the power to grow #tcrwp” This quote had me thinking about my professional mantra that I have adopted, “Let’s root for each other and watch each other grow.” I have read other people participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, write about the mindset of teachers and having to gently push colleagues to outgrow themselves. There are days I leave school with my head hung low, bogged down by the weight of ideas like these. On days like these my mind is whirling with questions about how to make change, how to inspire without asking for too much.

It is on days like these that I have to remind myself to look for the small signs. While working with a grade level team recently, I was honestly very unsure about what impact I would have during our time together.  However, once we got started in our coaching cycle, I was surprised by how much fun I was having working in each of their classrooms. What I had felt was resistance was actually a lack of a connection, or a relationship.  We just hadn’t spent enough time together and we hadn’t gotten to the “drop by” to chat stage yet.

But each time I visited their classrooms, I saw evidence that they were taking in our conversations from the week past, implementing ideas and trying things out. They stopped by to talk about lessons and situations or just to pop by to let me know that something they had tried worked well, or how they adjusted on the fly. Not only were they growing, but I saw change in the students as well. The seemed more excited by the work and therefore, the work they were producing felt different, more purposeful.

Change is gradual. I have to keep reminding myself of this. For now, I will continue concentrating on continuing to grow and learn so that I can help to empower others to grow as well.




9 thoughts on “Power to grow…

  1. This post captures how I feel much of the time. It’s a type of wonder- “Am I making a difference?” But as you said, change is slow. And it’s important to look for the positive signs that our work is taking root. Thank you for sharing these thoughts!


  2. I like the idea of leadership as knowing ourselves and knowing others, and giving others the power to grow. This is what building teacher capacity is all about, but it does take time and patience, doesn’t it?


  3. I like how you capture the push and pull that comes with change in your post. We tend to focus on the newness of the outcome instead of the beauty of the struggle. Your perspective doesn’t gloss over the tough parts of teaching. But the sharing parts show evidence of people who trust feeling comfortable to stop by and share their learning and progress. This is a great tribute to your support of risk taking.


  4. I’m glad that you can step back and see the difference you are making! I think my mantra may be “change is gradual”. As a coach- sometimes it is hard to see how we are making a difference, but like that seed you plant, it takes time for the roots to grab hold.


  5. As a reading specialist I have the opportunity to work with readers over a three year period. While I might feel that progress is limited within the year, I love the fact that I can see growth over two to three years.


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