Saturday, February 24, 2018

One Last Hurdle

25 months ago, I applied for my educational leadership program.
21 months ago, I started classes for my Master's degree.
14 months ago, I applied to be a summer learning team lead (basically a summer learning principal).
13 months ago, I began my summer learning job in a position of actual leadership.
8 months ago, kids started in summer learning, and I got a taste of what being a principal is really like!
2 months ago, I finished my last class and officially graduated with a degree in Educational Leadership.
6 days ago, I completed my final hurdle to getting my Principal's License - passing the PRAXIS test!

As I finished the test, I progressed to the screen that said something like:
Do you want to submit your answers or cancel your scores?

My heart was pounding, my breathing shallow, and I started wondering: 
Was I good enough? Did I have what it takes? Was I crazy to even be trying this? What if I mess it all up? What made me think this was a good idea? 

At every point along this journey, I have had moments of struggling with those same questions, this familiar cycle of self-doubt. What's more, I know that I am not the only one who asks these questions - I believe we all do, children and adults alike. Why is it so easy for us to be hard on ourselves?

With a deep breath, I made my choice, and pressed Submit. Thinking that my mental torture was over, my anxiety was heightened when I came to another screen:
You have chosen to submit your scores. Are you sure?

In every journey, there are times of standing up and stepping out in faith. Sometimes these moments are big and momentous, but at other times, they consist of simply putting one foot in front of the other. Whether big or small, these moments take courage. And sometimes, the courage it takes is only known to the one who is in the moment. It may not look like much to the outside world, but that does not mean that it feels easy on the inside.

As soon as I clicked Yes, submit my scores, my unofficial score popped up - well into the passing range. I smiled through my still shaking hand and pounding heart and thought:
And I considered, even if only ever so briefly, not submitting my scores! Why do I worry so much?

Are our students going through these internal battles? Which moment are they at when they come into our rooms - the one there they are thinking, "Am I good enough?" The moment of decision, when they have to take a leap of faith? The moment of victory? How can we, as teachers, meet them where they are at and reassure their doubts, encourage their risk-taking, and celebrate their wins? Of course, there are many ways to think about where our students are at - academically, socially, and in life - but this experience added a new layer to my thinking about how to help my students take the next step.

After all, the best teachers are always learning, right?

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