The first pangs of discomfort came as a result of sitting. The old me - teacher/mom/summer school director - rarely had time to sit. Sometimes my feet would hurt, so I'd take a few minutes to sit down with a kid or on the playground, but mostly, I stood.
The new me - director of professional development - sat a lot this week. It was an uncomfortable shift. I don't know if every week will require as much sitting, but it was the change in sitting habits that I think was the most noticeable and the most uncomfortable.
There are other changes that I am finding uncomfortable. My office is really quiet. Again, the teacher/mom/summer school director me is unused to this level of calm. I think more about big ideas and less about what will we do in the now to make our learning productive and meaningful. I have a lot to learn. Sure, teacher/mom/summer school director was always learning, but this level of learning feels extreme - so much information, so quickly, with little room for error. Uncomfortable.
If you think about the things that can cause us to be uncomfortable, they are generally mild - an itchy sweater or a room that is the wrong temperature. In these situations, we just put on a different sweater or adjust the thermostat. Other uncomfortable things reap pretty good benefits - yoga comes to mind. Those poses are not at all comfortable and yet we feel so great after doing them.
Even so, it is funny to have to live my own advice. I tell my own kids (and I used to tell my students) all the time "change feels weird. It's uncomfortable. You're going to be ok."
As teacher/mom/summer school director, I felt a certain level of competence in what I did each day. If I wasn't terribly prepared, it was often no big deal because I was competent enough to wing it. I knew my tools and how to utilize them to maximize results. As director of professional development, my tools are new and unfamiliar. Some of my old tools work, but not in the same ways. It feels really uncomfortable.
Yesterday, I had a call from another director of professional development who was also a former middle school teacher. Unsolicited, he offered me some advice. "You will always miss the kids," he said. (How did he know that I had just been thinking about them?) "But what you will find is that you will still have an impact, only in a really different way. You will help teachers connect and feel ready, which will ultimately help the kids. You will learn to appreciate them more, perhaps, because working with adults can sometimes be more challenging, but you will grow to love what you do and feel really good at it."
The teacher/mom/summer school director was so proud of this colleague for offering wisdom and support to a learner. And the director of professional development felt a little less uncomfortable.