I was talking recently with two friends of mine; both are mothers of teenagers, and both are experiencing the joys and challenges of raising adolescent children. One said that her daughter had recently uttered the words she had never wanted to hear. She had actually screamed, “I hate you, mom!” Of course it was said in the heat of the moment. Of course everyone knew she really didn’t mean it, but it was hurtful. My other friend turned around and said, “If your kids aren’t angry with you once in a while, then you are probably not doing your job as a parent.” This struck me as being true. Of course part of being a good parent is to say no and deal with the fallout. Being a good parent means sometimes having to be the bad guy, the unpopular person in the room. We know that children learn from having limits set and enforced at times. We know that sometimes we have to push our kids into areas that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable. We know that sometimes a bit of unpleasantness at the moment will lead to something worthwhile and much better in the long run.
Is this true with coaching as well? Is it true that if you don’t meet with some resistance from teachers and administrators, then you are probably not doing your job as a literacy coach? I’ve met with a bit of resistance over the last few weeks. I know it’s the end of the school year and people are tired. I know that maybe this isn’t the best time to introduce new ideas. I also know that I want to give teachers, administrators, and especially students, everything I have until the last bus pulls out of the driveway on the last day of school. It’s hard to hear that teachers aren’t happy about initiatives I’ve suggested. It’s hurtful. But maybe, just maybe, being a coach involves (even requires) some resistance. Maybe resistance is just part of the learning process. Maybe (hopefully) we will move through this patch of unpleasantness toward something that is going to be much better in the long run.