We went boating on the lake with my family over the weekend. My oldest daughter was eager to swim once we dropped anchor, yet was initially hesitant to jump. While she loves to swim, actually taking that plunge to jump off the end of the boat was new and somewhat scary. She was presented with two options: 1) Take the "safe" approach and use the ladder, which would lead to the water or 2) Take a "risk" and jump off the end, which would provide a new experience to enjoy and still end in the water equally well. We didn't push, but ultimately left it to her to make the decision. After a brief moment, I watched her take a deep breath and jump. Do you know what happened next? She looked up at us, smiled, and continued to jump in over and over again. Had she not taken that "risk" and allowed herself to be vulnerable, she would have never experienced something new that she actually ended up enjoying.
As an instructional coach, I am continuously reflecting upon my coaching work and the work being done to impact student learning. Often times, I find myself thinking about the ladder vs. the jump, theoretically speaking. I know all options will result in action being taken toward a chosen goal for the benefit of student learning, yet some options may be "safer" than others. While I acknowledge that risk looks different for us all, it becomes more about being willing to be vulnerable....with me...with students...with colleagues. How do I continue to meet my colleagues where they are with risk-taking, yet gently nudge toward becoming more vulnerable for the benefit of our students (and themselves as learners)? How do I continue to model my own vulnerability as an instructional coach?
I have been busy growing more ideas that will require vulnerability and risk-taking this year, yet I cannot wait to see what happens next. Much like my daughter showed me, "sometimes you just have to jump in both feet first."
Let's dare to jump together.