02 November 2010

Visualization vs. Application

As an athlete, one of the strategies coaches would tell me was to visualize myself making the play in games.  This is an effective tool since it brings a certain level of familiarity to a stressful task/performance and alleviates some of the anxieties associated with it.  
This strategy has followed me through life, and I found myself with a clear vision of what I wanted my first teaching experience to be.  

However, as an athlete I knew that once I stepped onto that field, events would not transpire the way I had envisioned.  If we get everything we want, then life becomes a meaningless pile of accumulated uselessness.  If being a Special Education Teacher was easy, then everyone would do it.  But it is not easy, and I knew that.  I knew it was going to be difficult, it is a lot of paperwork, that sometimes you get on the good and the bad side of parents, and that sometimes you struggle with students' learning or behavior.  I worked as a para-professional for over five years, so I knew all this coming in to this year, and yet I was still caught off-guard.  

I can't say that it is any one thing that has caught me off-guard, but the combination of things.  What has been unexpected to me, is needing to become a 1:1, and in-turn feeling like I've had to put the other students on cruise-control and ignore them in order to work with one.  What I did not account for was not having a time during the day to plan or collaborate with others in my department or building.  I do not want to fail my students, but I am only recently feeling like I'm coming out from being behind the 8-ball.  I am finally getting the help that is necessary for student success. 

I am not making excuses, and when I threw an interception in a game I didn't complain about it, but made sure that the guy was tackled so I could get to the sideline, evaluate, and fix the problem.  It is not what has happened to this point in the year that will dictate the way this year progresses, but the way My team and I are able to respond to these adversities, critiques, and obstacles. 

Something that is coming up, is that I am going to have to alter my leadership style to a certain extent.  However, I will save this topic for another post.  Thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to comment or follow.