Thursday, August 11, 2011

Final Days

My days as an Instructional Coach are winding down. As I prepare to say goodbye to the teachers I've served for two years, I'm forced into reflection mode. My thoughts?

The County Alternative School
I will miss the peace, tranquility, control, and smallness of your promise land. Thank you for sacrificing to work with our at-risk youth. As reigning Queen of student migration, you know differentiation better than most. Even though you operate on limited funding and resources, you make it work. We, the general public, fail to show our appreciation for your efforts to reform the behaviors of our children. I've never heard you complain...never!

Drugs, alcohol, media, and negative life experiences have control of many teens today, but you welcome the challenge. You empower them to gain control just enough to walk back into the world they can't trust. Will it forsake them again? Most likely, yes. But this time, they'll have the tools to survive.

On behalf of my colleagues,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To my most northern friends up on the hill:

Just to have the opportunity to experience your school environment was a rare pleasure! You should be proud of the strong sense of community you foster every day. No wonder so many of your own graduates return to teach there- a whole line of them this year! Where else could that possibly happen? They KNOW you care about them and want them to succeed. Then they come back to be a part of that support system.

Oh, and I get it. What other school would have people who would drive up to the school at 7:00pm just to help their new Instructional Coach dumpster dive for her wedding ring? I do believe we touched every last piece of trash in the dumpster and then in the school. Thank you for laughing when I called 5 minutes after I left to tell you I found the ring under my car seat. I do adore you, my trashy friends!

Administration. WOW! I truly felt like part of your team. I learned so much from watching you work. Everything you did focused of the needs of the students. Your attentiveness and passion for meeting those needs was noticed. One criticism: You need to be kicking those talented teachers down the hill more often to share with the rest of us in PD sessions. Don't let them hide!

...and Staffulty? I have three words for you: Be the Best!

To my school of soldiers:

It was humbling to walk into your school, get a bird's eye view of the battle field in front of you, and watch you conquer it. Thanks to your fearless leader, I knew just enough about your plight to know I had to be a good listener to survive in your school. At each turn, you asked, "What now? What next?" Oh, let's do a pilot program for the county! LOL! I thought y'all were crazy...but, alas <sigh>, you were focused.

To the head honcho: Your talks were some of my favorite memories! Not too many people have the ability to tell a story like you do. It helps that you're so much like my dad. I learned a lot about loyalty, pride, and the fierce desire to protect your own. Not too many principals know their faculty and students like you do. Most of all, thanks for keeping it real!

To the AP: Where do I start, my friend? I wish I had just half of your calm, cool, and collected demeanor. It's been a pleasure to watch you lead. I'm not sure you have any concept of how impressed other schools are with your new program and, as we implement it into my home school, how well you executed the plans you were given. Oh, and I promise to give you credit for all the great things I've stolen from you the past two years.

To my Shurley girls: "What's that?" you say. "You've been teaching for 20+ years, and you want to try a brand new program before you retire?" REALLY? Who does that? do!  I had a blast in your rooms! Thank you for sharing your students with me. I was most comfortable in your classrooms, because you allowed me to do what I do best-English to a beat.

Speaking of English, I would be remiss to not mention the one we lost. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to watch her teach. This profession lost so much that day!

Thank you for trusting me, opening the doors of your classroom, and treating me as one of your own. Being willing to try new things in the midst of obstacles takes guts- the kind only the bravest soldiers can muster.

One more school to mention, but I think I'll have to have more time...a lot more. I'll be back later, so stay tuned! 

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