The hardest part...
And the hardest part
Was letting go, not taking part
Was the hardest part
And the strangest thing
Was waiting for that bell to ring
It was the strangest start
I could feel it go down
Bittersweet, I could taste in my mouth
Silver lining the cloud
Oh and I
I wish that I could work it out
Coldplay released this song (the hardest part) on the X&Y album and the lyrics always struck me as poignant. I felt that they reflected of my desire to change my position within the classroom and the difficulties that I experienced in shifting from the spotlight and into the wings. If, as William Shakespeare wrote, all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players, then in my teaching I didn't fully understand when to enter and when to exit or that there were many roles for me to play. I had always believed that I wanted to teach and teaching for me was standing in the at the centre of learning and directing it like a conductor controls an orchestra. However, the more I read and the more I did, the more my lessons look like a jazz ensemble (i.e. an apparent jumble of sounds that looks effortless , sounds great and yet takes years of practice and a huge amount of practice).
The legendary golfer Gary Player once said, "The more I practice, the luckier I get" and this was certainly the case for me. However it was hard. Letting go of centre stage and allowing the pupils to control the pace of their learning was hard. I did feel that I was waiting for the school bell to ring as I watched them work. Yet my work, although done on the periphery, was now even more important. I was the script writer planning for the actors to get involved. I designed the stage and arrange for the props. I adapted when something went wrong and I prompted when the students forgot their lines. I managed the learning environment but I didn't coach the learner. I planned meticulously and I timed by interventions and developed the ability to question not answer. Finally, as Gary Player said I practiced and my lessons (somehow) got better and the learning got deeper and the pupils got more involved.
Change takes time and yes it can be like a rest. But in the long term it is hard and it takes practice and it is hard...however, it is worth it.