Do you ever get stupid as soon as you see the clipboard carrying or laptop toting principal enter your room? I always have, and I thought I always would. Nobody ever called me on it until a few weeks ago when I was told that after 19 years I shouldn’t be afraid–that I should be able to relax and keep focus on students.
Perhaps every administrator thought I was a tense teacher all the time. Perhaps they didn’t notice, thought I was unprepared, or thought I was having yet another bad day. Honestly, things don’t always go as planned, but I tweak, adjust, and figure it out–usually without tension and always with humor, passion, and energy.
Unless, of course, the clipboard toting administrator enters the room. Then, my typical M-O was to freak out and freeze up. Recently I wrote about this, Evaluaphobia following a visit from my new evaluator who called me on shifting my focus from the kids to him and called me on my inability to relax with him in the room. Also, he affirmed my experience, expertise, and knowledge and told me I had no reason to be afraid. A few days after I wrote that blog post naming my fear, I experienced my first fearless visit from a clipboard toting evaluator, and that is what I celebrate today.
- I celebrate being nearly fearless being evaluated for the first time ever.
- I celebrate an evaluator getting to see who I truly am in the classroom. That felt good–even if I am weird, quirky, goofy, and a little spastic.
- I celebrate that day in my room, feeling comfortable enough to respond with ease to failing technology and to all the students in need of support never once considering what my evaluator was thinking (well, except when I jokingly picked on a kid for needing tech support from a 47-year-old–was wondering how he would view my sarcastic humor).
- I celebrate maintaining focus on the most important people in the classroom–the students.
- I celebrate being called on my fear and being challenged to move past it.
- I celebrate maintaining my teacher identity in spite of the DREADED clipboard.
My hope is that this is a lasting change and that I can celebrate overcoming this fear no matter who enters my room. I especially hope that HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED (LOL, he reads my blog) will not instill the usual fear the next time he enters my room. I would love to be able to keep my focus on kids and for him to see who I truly am as a teacher instead of seeing the teacher who nervously fidgets, kicks clutter, and hyper-focuses on his presence. Even with the game face he projects and the constructive criticism he always gives, I’m sure he’d rather see the real me than the fumbling and bumbling me. And, of course, I’d hate for anyone to begin to believe that the stumbling and fumbling and bumbling teacher is truly who I am…
Today, though, I celebrate what I hope is a paradigm shift for me as I have named my fear and am moving in the right direction to overcome my fear. And so my plan is to quit placing blame on the clipboard toting evaluators. No more placing blame–my fear has been named–my fear will be tamed.
And that is worthy of celebration Saturday.