The default conditions of work in education, whether you’re a teacher or a coach or an administrator, is that it’s overwhelming. There is, and always will be, too much to do. This isn’t a problem faced only by novices.
The difference between experts and novices isn’t that experts find a way to do it all — it's that experts find a way to focus their attention on what matters most. They selectively obsess on 1-2 areas of their work at a time, and they ruthlessly satisfice huge swaths of their job. They are creative and expansive in their 1-2 areas of exploration and growth, and disciplined and focused in the myriad tasks that they have to do in order to function in their roles.
Because of this, their expertise grows at a much faster rate than their peers, and their sanity is more consistently stable as well. This sanity and growth yields further clarity, insight, creativity, and ruthlessness, and so as time goes on they get surer about what they can satisfice (or skip) and surer about what to go big on.
That sounds like a clean and beautiful picture, but of course the day-to-day is much muddier and difficult. I am constantly going through mild crises of belief, cyclically having my head exploded, frequently heading home with the frustrating feeling of having not completed the list.
But in these tough circumstances, I bring my mind back to what matters most and what the work fundamentally is: advancing the long-term student flourishing of people by guiding them into ever-deepening levels of mastery.
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