By Natalie Irons, Associate Director, Instructional Coaching, UCLA Center X
Has 2022 been off to a “wild” start for you? The rains, the wind, the Omicron surge, the shortages of staff in systems, business closures, lack of needed supplies, the list probably goes on and on…And yet, here we are.
Two years after the first cases of Covid were identified and so, so much loss and sickness, you and I are here. And like me, maybe you’ve been hanging by a thread some days, wondering how to find the strength to keep going. Maybe you’ve listened to Glennon Doyle say “We can do hard things.” Or, maybe you’ve stayed with the movement toward racial healing, and read Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us and her reminder that the early unprecedented interconnectedness that had us making masks and checking in on our neighbors has also brought us from the Center for Policing Equity a study stating, “Covid 19 is telling us, in the starkest possible terms, that the burdens of the most vulnerable – and racism specifically – pose a collective threat” (McGhee, 278).
So, what does this mean for the coaching work we do everyday to support our colleagues, teachers, administrators, and students? For me it means, I notice and pay attention harder than I ever have. I make sure I am conscious of my communication styles, beliefs and mental models of thinking. I then listen for who is speaking and has “voice” and who does not. I listen for the story below the surface and who is telling that story. I keep noticing, and I wonder.
And then I might begin to frame my responses based on this inquiry:
- What has happened?
- What are the things like this that have happened before? What might be the patterns?
- What are some of the driving forces for these repeated patterns?
- What in the thinking keeps this situation persisting?
These questions might provide us with the template to take our days of “Covid fatigue” and concretely work toward some meaning and possible action. While these are only my “ruminations” as a dear friend and colleague highlighted for me, I hope they might provide you some rumination of your own as you continue to navigate through these times.