What does maternity leave teach you about teaching and learning?
After 11 weeks at home with a baby I adore, but that was difficult to take care of, I am reflecting on the process. Looking at my thoughts, words and actions during this time, I am reminded of the importance of honoring the work you accomplish.
I’ve always been a coach at heart. I coached softball as a late teen and young adult and now as a literacy coach, I work with teachers. It is my nature to always facilitate improvement, in myself and others.
But, I found myself during maternity leave being frustrated with everything that I wasn’t doing “successful” enough…not getting my little one to take the bottle, not being able to calm her during long periods of crying, not getting everything done I wanted to get done while on maternity leave. Honestly speaking, I rarely honored the work I was accomplishing whether it be experimenting with bottles, maintaining my commitment to nurse her, or drinking enough water (yes, we even need to celebrate something as simple as hydrating ourselves).
There were times I got extremely frustrated, angry, and so very tried. Luckily, my husband was there to remind me of the small things we were accomplishing with her. I allowed my natural inner coaching voice to be silenced at times. (Imagine that, I am human!) 🙂
This made me think: I hope we always honor the “small” things we get accomplished, the work we do everyday that becomes so natural for teachers. Let us always remember that, yes, we want to improve, but we are without a doubt bringing so much value in the work we are currently doing. I hope the teachers I work with and the students they work with celebrate their strengths and know that even on the days they are worn out, stressed and maybe not as positive as they normally are, they are doing great things. They are changing lives.