Powerful Allies by Angela Hayes

I had the opportunity to meet with a friend of a friend and share ideas on the building of community.  I met a very dynamic individual whose mind is constantly activated.  In this reflection Angela wrote, she captures the importance of community that I and #TXHSFBCHAT hope to bring to our network.  Thank you for this, Angela. – Chris Fisher

Inevitably we get focused on the mini-universe of our work situations:  our classroom, our practice space, the meetings, the office where the planning happens, the drives to and from work where more planning happens, the gyms, the buses, the fields.  Every inch of our physical and mental space is inhabited by the dancers we direct. We frequently get lost in that universe of our own making. And more times than we ever admit, it becomes overwhelming.  We need bridges to less-taxing environs; we need a path that leads us to folks who understand our trials and tribulations. We’d benefit from a travel buddy to show us a map every so often.

Look no further than your own campus, you’ve got help if you want it. They are plodding along carrying school-colors backpacks full of many of your same concerns.  If you are willing to confess, more than once you’ve looked at the sponsor, director or coach of another group on campus and you’ve compared their work-load to your own.  And if full-disclosure was a thing, you might admit that you thought they had it easier than you. But I doubt any of you wallowed in that thought-quagmire for long, you know there exists more similarities than differences. We’re all on the same trajectory and we’re all transporting the same precious cargo:  our students’ best interests.

I sat down this week with a brilliant mind, housed in the body of a high school football coach.  His name is Chris and he has created a world where like-minded, results-oriented, eager professionals can share ideas about aspects of coaching: safe and best practices, innovative teaching, leading by example, and most importantly, positively influencing young people. He’s using a social media bridge to connect coaches, gathering them in a twitter space once a week to discuss hot topics, share ideas, offer one another advice.   As I chatted away and listened intently, I realized that #txhsfbchat and Danceable Thoughts are crossing over similar rivers, on our own bridges, towards the same goal. We both want to assist the adults in our industries as they enhance the experiences of the students who wander into our worlds: his is football, mine is dance. When you are on a quest, there’s nothing better than recognizing a powerful ally.

Here’s a recommendation, look across your campus and find your powerful allies.  Find out what the alma mater is of that coach. Laugh with that director who brings a musical score to the faculty meetings.  Find out how many bus rides that debate coach is planning on taking this school year. Ask the FFA teacher how many animals are currently being raised by the current kiddos.  Your conversations will be connections that potentially will keep you tethered when you feel like you’re losing your grip.

Nobody understands a coach like a fellow coach.  Nobody understands working with teenagers like those of us who have taken on that awesome task as way more than a job, we are the ones who see it as a mission.  #PowerfulAllies exist: you can look to the world-wide web of social media or scan that horizon outside your dance space. They are out there and willing to help.  You just have to decide to take the first step to cross that bridge. Once you start walking you will recognize there’s help for you every step of the way.

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