I recently turned 30 years old and reflected that time has passed so quickly. Where has it gone?
I’d say that I’m pretty happy with life. A huge part of my early life has been spent in education, either working on my own education or involved with the education of others.
I have been teaching eighth-grade reading and language arts for seven years now. There are moments and days that carry their own challenges, I would like to think that everyone in the profession knows this. Yet, I still feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. Actually, change that, I know it is worthwhile.
I’m committed, I’m dedicated, I’m all in. Maybe sometimes even a bit too much. But that's another conversation, I see it as being invested and passionate. The future of our communities is in our hands, in our classroom. I'm always reminded of that.
During my time in the classroom, I was known and recognized for being an engaging instructor who consistently involved and motivated all learners. I knew my content area inside out, back to front, and upside down. I took risks and was dynamic in my practice. Not everything worked, I learned. But I persevered and realized gains in student achievement accordingly.
In recognition of the instructional expertise and leadership qualities I honed and exhibited, I was promoted by the district to become a teacher on special assignment. In this role, I was responsible for supporting the secondary schools in my system with their reading and language arts programs. This felt like recognition for all that I have been contributing to and achieving with my students. One of my primary functions in this position quickly changed to provide professional development for teachers on effective literacy practices.
I soon realized that what made me successful in the classroom with middle school students did not necessarily translate into getting results with adult learners. As I planned for my sessions, I found myself unsure of the best ways to curate and design learning for teachers. My confidence was waning.
During the seminars, I struggled with maintaining participant engagement and providing a delivery that would hold their attention throughout. My post-workshop evaluations we consistently average to below average. Within them, any positive feedback I received just felt like my peers were exercising pity on me. For the first time in my practice, I felt ineffective and started to doubt my capabilities. I maintained a brave face and tried different approaches. However, with all the demands on my time, things just didn’t get any better. The hole became bigger and I was starting to wonder about my future.
When The Brilliance Project was engaged across our district, we completed an assessment of strengths and developmental areas that were specific to my position. For myself, we identified opportunities for improvement in the areas of andragogy, presentation design, and presentation delivery. Following this assessment, The Brilliance Project was able to offer me (alongside the other Teachers on Special Assignment in my district) personalized professional learning that supported development in key growth areas.
I can not speak any more highly of their professionalism and ability to hone in on what is needed. Not just for me, but for positions right across the whole district. In my case, through working through their targeted development programs I was able to develop the skills and processes necessary for me to tackle any professional development session.
Today, I'm thriving, confident and competent in my ever-changing position. Beyond this, I feel that across my school and district, we're more closely connected and in unison as we tackle our common mission.