I had a coaching meeting today with a teaching intern. Learning to teach is incredibly complex and often a very bumpy journey.
As we were talking, I came up with an analogy to help her manage the incredible amounts of cognitive dissonance she is experiencing right now. Remember the raft from my first blog post, we’re going to revisit it again.
This time I described my eldest daughter – when she was much younger, she hated the feeling of not being able to touch the ground when she was in the water. She was fine, as long as she knew she could reach her toes down and feel the bottom. Otherwise – no thank you. She desperately wanted to go out to the raft. But to do so meant that she would have to be in water too deep to touch the bottom. But oh, to jump off that raft and make a glorious splash.
She had a life jacket, she had someone with her, but she was just not ok with her legs floating with no bottom to touch. It made me a little crazy at first, then I realized that I just had to let her do it when she felt ready. I would be there to support her, I would make sure she had a life jacket, but she had to decide to pick up her feet and move forward.
Doing things that create cognitive dissonance in our lives require the choice of picking our feet up off of the ground. Sometimes it takes a little while. The tricky thing about learning to teach is that it isn’t possible to know everything you need to know ahead of time, it just isn’t. So you put on a life jacket (mentor teachers, field instructor, faculty, other teachers) you take a deep breath, and you pick your feet up off the ground. And it is so so so worth it because when you get out to the raft, there is a classroom of students. And it is exhilarating. It is HARD work, but you will never be sorry you picked up your feet.