What a great word! Not only is it fun to say, but it describes perfectly how I feel after having two weeks of back to back TCRWP events. I went to my fourth coaching institute one week, and the following week we had two staff developers, Kristi Mraz and Chris Lehman, work at TAS for the week.
Two weeks of TC in a row=a whole lot of new learning. At the coaching institute, I finally felt like I wasn’t drinking from a fire hose. Still, there was so much new to learn, but for the first time, I felt like I had a mental box to put my new learning. This was a small comfort as I furiously took notes on giving critical feedback, methods for using read alouds intentionally, what the common core is all about, how to use the units of study with teams more effectively, and what all the new thinking is on teaching non fiction (and there’s a LOT of new thinking).
The next week we had Chris and Kristi at our school. I cannot exaggerate how effective having them on campus was. I feel like our faculty came away with so much; much more than we can fully take in all at once. We had three days of lab sites in a row and I was once again reminded how powerful a staff development tool lab sites are. One day was reserved for individual coaching, where Kristi and Chris sprinted from room to room individually coaching homeroom teachers all day long. The last day of the week was a marathon session ranging across topics that were of particular importance to our staff including: understanding the big ideas represented in the cool little ideas (the doodads, as we now call them), unpacking bands of text difficulty from A-Z, revising a current reading unit, the whys and hows of charting, vocabulary development across the day, and writing about reading. And they did it all without Powerpoint (amen!). These two were an absolutely amazing duo, and we can’t wait to host them again next year.
And after I learn new things, I feel a little jumbled up. My thinking is challenged. Practices I had never considered before now stare me in the face at every turn (What DOES this bulletin board say about what we value? How do I really feel about writing homework? Do second graders really need to keep reading logs?).
I don’t mind feeling jumbled for a while, because I know in the end I’ll be a better teacher and coach when the dust settles. And, the dust always settles. And then it will be time to go back to TC again.