Tonight I attended a meeting for our community Memorial Day parade. The meeting was led by our newly elected mayor, who just began his term this January. The previous mayor had been in office for about 15 years. The other people on this committee have also been part of the Memorial Day planning for many years. As we were moving through the agenda, the new mayor would frequently say, “The mayor did this”,or “I’ll check with the mayor”, etc. Of course he was referring to our outgoing mayor. Even as he now holds this office, his title still does not belong to him, even in his own mind.
How long does it take until you identify with the role you’ve been given? When I began my teaching career, I didn’t have any difficulties fitting into this role. Perhaps it was because I knew for a long time it was what I wanted to do, and since my early teen years I had been ‘teaching’ in one capacity or another. When I became a reading specialist, I felt equipped with knowledge but soon realized that my predecessor was highly revered and left big shoes to fill. I found myself reaching out to her more, asking the questions “what did she do?” or “how do you do this?” Now, as an instructional coach, those questions seem more and more frequent. Despite my longevity in the field, my uncertainty in my role seems to be rising. Is it that these new roles are stretching me and taking me out of my comfort zone? This is not to say I didn’t question my pedagogy when I was a classroom teacher – many days I went home baffled about what I could have done differently. But my instructional coach role puts me in a greater place of uncertainty – am I truly meeting the needs of our staff? Am I providing adequate support? Will I ever be as good a coach as …?
It may take a while for our mayor to see himself as ‘the mayor’. After two years, I am just starting to feel comfortable in my role as Instructional Coach. And I have so much left to learn, as both a teacher and a coach. But it is who I am, even if it doesn’t feel like it on some days.
And it is who you are, too, Mayor. You led a productive, efficient meeting and we will have a wonderful Memorial Day parade and program. Looking forward to many years of planning with you!