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Just Keep Swimming or Create Real Change?

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

Last night, I was participating in one of my very favorite Twitter chats: #PersonalizedPD (Tuesdays, 8pm CST). Question seven was regarding what we’ve done to try to bring personalized PD to our district, and this was my post:

After laying in bed and thinking about the chat, I started to get a little irritated with myself that I used #JustKeepSwimming, because to me that phrase implies that I’m fighting to stay afloat, and  just staying afloat in my job has never been one of my goals, although admittedly some days I absolutely feel like that is all I’m doing.

What I really want to do is cannonball into the water. Some teachers will think it’s funny and enjoy the ruckus, while others will grimace and mumble about the splashing, but all will move forward on the waves. And when others see me cannonball, they just might get out of the water and try to cannonball themselves, and then we can all be moved from their waves as well. I don’t want to float, or wade, or tread water or just keep swimming or any other type of water analogy that implies I’m not moving forward.

Part of the challenge in being an instructional coach is that we are expected to provide the professional development, but don’t always have access or authority to make the changes that we want to see or we believe to be best practice. We can implement new learning and personalization into our own PD, but there are times that our PD is still managed top-down, and we have very little say in how that looks outside of our own sessions and planning. To continue to focus only on my own PD would be the equivalent of allowing myself to keep swimming, or maintaining the status quo. To create a lasting change, because I believe THAT strongly in personalized professional development, is what I really want to do.  It’s either go big or go home for me, and I feel it’s about time that I figure out how to encourage and create meaningful change, because while we all learn from failure, ending with failure is not an option.



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