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Follow My Journey: Under Pressure

Published On: February 13th, 2024 | Categories: Latest News |

Cambridge University defines the word pressure, in its simplest of terms, as the force you produce when you press on something. Of course, Cambridge provides several other uses for the word, and some are more appropriate than this one for speaking about the pressures of training to be a teacher leader. This definition, however, is perfect for describing my thoughts right now. I am being pressed with a significant amount of mental and physical force. In other words, I’m under a lot of pressure.

The good news is that I understand the purpose of the pressure, and I am embracing it on most days anyway. I avoided pressure-filled opportunities for years because pressure can be scary and uncomfortable. I was satisfied with being a bench warmer. It felt like a safe place to be. Then, one day, someone I cared about told me they were surprised I had applied to be on a special literacy committee for the district because “it didn’t seem like something I would do.” I realized then that I had placed myself on that bench, and it had begun to define me. I had become so comfortable on that bench that I was stagnant, and others would never expect me to want a chance to play in the game again. 

Although it stung a little then, I am so thankful for my friend calling it as she saw it. It was a wake-up call to get in the game, so I did, and I never looked back. If I said that I don’t have days when I feel overwhelmed and defeated, I would be lying. I had one of those days this week. 

I had just returned home from LitCon, where I learned so much, spent time with excellent Reading Recovery teachers, and even met Peter Johnston (one of my absolute favorites). It was time to jump back into all there is to do at school and for training, along with several additional demands. My mind was reeling with all I needed to remember, plan for, and accomplish. Suddenly overcome with fear, I worried that I was not going to be able to do it all and I was going to let a lot of people down. I was feeling the pressure again, and a part of me was missing the warmth of that bench.

After some deep breaths and encouragement from those who love me, I embraced the pressure. I know that I can’t control the demands of life, especially this training year, but I can control my response to it. I don’t have to be overcome by stress. I can embrace the pressure because I understand its purpose. Forming a diamond takes around 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and 825,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. I imagine it will take something similar to form me into a Reading Recovery teacher leader, but here I am. Put me in, coach!

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