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Finding My Voice in a New Role

Being out of a school environment is bizarre.

For the last 18 years, I have, in one way or another, reported to school buildings daily to work with students, teachers or leadership colleagues.

Living that life has provided material to reflect on in a number of ways. I could write about what was to come in terms of preparation or reflect on a lesson (good or bad) right after it happened or share mistakes and successes to help others participate and learn with me.

My days are largely unstructured despite having three online calendars that I can access from any electronic device I own and a paper planner that I keep with me at all times.

The alarm clock still rings at 4:15 because my husband trains clients at 6. I still get on the bicycle trainer and work out when he leaves. This exercise time allows me the flexibility to catch up on podcasts, listen to audiobooks and/or reflect on the day to come. A lot of that time is spent going over my to-do lists in my head.

I'd love to say that those things don't keep me up at night anymore, but they do. As a consultant, who now works with many teams, specifically in my area of expertise, I owe it to those teachers to give them what they need as we stretch each other's thinking around self-assessment and student ownership of learning.

Since this is my passion, I'm eager to provide and adjust to each team I work with as they have unique needs like the kids I used to work with. Adults are different, however, in that there are layers that need to be peeled back in order to really do the work. We hide behind our bravado at times or what we think is right and don't always welcome new ideas.

Students are curious and as adults, we need to be as well.

So as I'm figuring out my new path, whether it is working on the being a developmental editor for Mimi and Todd press which is a new and exciting role to play, or providing feedback as we are collectively unpacking standards and developing a task for kids as a team, I need to keep being a learner and asking questions.

Although some would call me an expert in assessment, I'm always learning. Each encounter in this new role is teaching me things about the content and myself. I will always work on growing my patience and lowering my frustration levels as well as learning to manage teams more efficiently.

My very first consulting time was with a high school team of English teachers. Although this general group of folks is one I identify as, learning the dynamic and understanding their particular needs was a stretch. It's challenging to be an outsider who comes in to help. It is not my job to rescue but to enhance and I am honored for the opportunity to do so.

With each team I work with, I develop my coaching skills more. I will continue to work on managing time and reigning in conversations to get the work done. We need to stay focused and my job is to ensure that everyone is engaged in the work together.

What advice would you give to a new consultant based on your years of either doing the work or working with them? Please share

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