“20-30 years of doing one thing is enough.” – Lucy Kellaway
As a 46 year old woman who has worked in the education field for 20 years, I can relate to Ms. Kellaway’s ideas. I’ve always felt overwhelmed in this field because it IS so overwhelming. Many don’t make it this long. Too many others stay who should have left a long time ago. Is it my time to go? Is it time to start again?
I was aware when I started this new role as an instructional coach that I would really need to focus. Focus is necessary in order to get things done and to improve. Sadly, in education, focus is almost impossible and becoming overwhelmed is inevitable.
Now that over half of the school year is over, I’m finding it nearly impossible to focus my efforts toward professional learning and growth, I’m stretched in so many directions that my work and results are inadequate and ineffective. I not only blame the system and circumstances but myself as well. I constantly think about all that I need to be doing, I try to do too much and worst of all, compare myself to others who are further along in their journey, rendering my self cognitively overloaded, tired and eventually defeated.
In a YouTube search for “instructional coaching and feeling overwhelmed”, I discovered this video of a coaching session between a tennis coach and his coachee. I think it’s safe to say we could use this title for anything; leave out the word “tennis” and insert whatever it is you are learning.
Don’t overwhelm yourself when learning _______________________.
“Number one rule: Do not overwhelm the player. You must be very careful in how much you load your brain with information and thinking.”
So, as I move forward to coach myself and others, I need to adopt this rule. I’m overwhelmed, the teachers are overwhelmed so I need to Focus like a Leader and Stop & Reflect every day so I can Do More.
Also, I need to remember my own advice…
- Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. Not everything you need to know will be said with words; be very observant.
- Keep moving forward. You will make mistakes; keep believing in the process and learn from it.
- Be vulnerable. You are not an expert; you are learning along with your colleagues.
- Admit your weaknesses. Cultivate an environment in which it’s ok to admit your weaknesses; we can’t improve until we are totally honest with ourselves.
- Develop strength. Be brave enough to look at yourself through the lens of your struggles which highlight your weak points. (Thank you to the teacher who showed me that bit of wisdom during our debrief session.)
- Have some fun! Live a balanced life every day. Laugh at yourself; in a hundred years from now, no one will remember the little details that are bringing you down.
Even though I discovered the number 1 rule of coaching – do not overwhelm the player – and I’m certain it will help me focus for the remainder of the school year, I’m still left with the question of whether or not it’s time to start again, in another field outside of education. Maybe a simple life reboot instead of an extreme reboot would do the trick?
Any suggestions from fellow burned-out educators or from those who have gone through an extreme reboot? Leave a comment and share your ideas and experiences – I could use the advice. 🙂