This spring my department chair asked everyone on our team to take a strengths survey connected to the book Teach with Your Strengths so we could discover what our greatest strengths are and how each of us can contribute to the team pulling from those strengths. When I received my results I was surprised, but the results were not shocking. My survey results said that my greatest strengths are Input, Intellection, Ideation, Learner, and Restorative. I know that doesn't mean a lot to anyone reading this blog post right now, so let me explain a little. All of those things are brainy things and mostly happen within my head. Here's a little peek at what they mean:
Input - I collect things, ideas, resources, etc. I like things that inspire ideas, so I surround myself with them.
Intellection - I like to think. I like my time alone because it gives me room to think.
Ideation - I like ideas. I love the discovery of how one idea connects with something else. I love making others look at the world from a new, unexpected angle.
Learner - I love to learn. I love the process of learning. I am energized from the journey from ignorance to competence.
Restorative - I love problems because I love problem solving. I am energized by bringing things that are thought dead back to life.
Now, I only share this with you as a part of the greater narrative I have been living this year. I have mentioned that my instructional year was a really challenging one, and it took me such a long time to figure out how to address the needs of my students because they were so non-responsive. Despite the fact that one of my strengths is problem solving, by the time I figured things out I was exhausted and had little energy left to give to working towards a solution.
Enter Strengths Survey.
While the results of this survey told me a lot about myself that I always felt, but didn't really know, what it also told me was something that was a really tough reflection. Here's what I realized:
When I struggle with students, it is because I get too much into my head and I stop seeing them as people. I so love learning and that process that the thinking and ideas sometimes take priority over the people I am charged with teaching. I have a tendency to get frustrated with students who don't love and value learning, thinking, ideas and problem solving like me.
So, I am stepping back a bit. Not from my job or any of my responsibilities, but from the brainy part of my professional learning. I mean, I am going to take a break from learning about world language instruction and building language proficiency, and I am going to focus on deepening my capacity to connect with and care for the students who enter my room every day. I want to collect ideas, resources and strategies that give me the tools I need to get out of my head and all of my thinking, so that I can dirty my hands WITH the kids entrusted to me. Besides, if they don't believe I care about them as people, they won't trust that I can help them achieve the goals we set.
This is my quest for the remainder of this summer and the coming school year. How can I show all of my students I care about them, am their biggest cheerleader and will do whatever I can to make Spanish accessible, doable, and achievable to THEM?
I will let you know what I learn.
Happy Summer and Happy Coaching!