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Writing Coaches of Montana has a lot to say about how great our communities are. 

Growth Mindset, January 2023: Coming Full Circle

As I walked up to Washington Middle School I was filled with a feeling of nostalgia looking at the signature tan and brown brick building. Confidence filled me as I approached the office where I had been signed in and out countless times. I tried the door and found it locked. That's when I remembered the office had been relocated during one of the many remodels that had taken place since I had attended about ten years ago. It was now an entirely new section built right next to the outer building, where music classes like band and orchestra were held when I attended years prior. No longer a student, I am here now ready to start a new adventure. 

After signing in at the front office I met the other coaches and our coordinator Cassie: we chatted and enjoyed coffee as we waited until we were to meet with the students. I was busy taking in the new building and seeing all the new changes to the school. Wherever I looked there was something that had changed: the office had been moved, and the lunchroom had been moved into this new section as well. 

Cassie led us to the classroom where we would be having our coaching session and so in a big line we started making our way through the hallways where I had roamed years prior. We passed by the door that I had tried to enter earlier. A wave of nostalgia flowed over me as we passed each room; that was the old choir room, that was my seventh-grade English teacher's room, and that was my eighth-grade history teacher's class. It seemed like yesterday I had attended those classes, and from that thought, some doubts began to form in my head. Was I ready to be coaching middle school students, had I not been a student in these halls less than a decade ago? 

After being led to our rooms and getting settled in, I looked around at the teacher's room taking in the posters of the alphabet and various grammatical rules. Looking around I spotted the teacher who was sitting at her desk getting ready to leave her room for us to use for tutoring. I recognized her immediately. 

“I know you,” she said, with a smile forming on her face. 

This was the room of my seventh-grade English and social studies teacher. We talked about me being a coach and how excited she was to see a former studentt-turned-coach. I told her about my goals of being an English teacher and she gave me some much needed advice and affirmation. We talked until students started to show up ready to meet with their writing coaches. Before she left, she gave me a smile and a wave and some of my worries melted away; I was ready to be a coach. Cassie divided students and introduced each of them to their coach. My first coaching session had begun, and I asked my first question as a writing coach. 

“What do you like about your paper?” 

A few weeks later I attended a coaching session at Sentinel High School, which was the highschool I graduated from in 2017. I was excited as I locked my car and began the short walk to the main office of the school. Any doubts about my efficacy as a coach had been dispelled during my first few sessions at Washington Middle School. I was ready to take on another coaching session as the last sessions left me feeling extremely positive and hopeful. Truly, I had come full circle, I was now a writing coach. That thought swirled around in my head as I made my way into the schools to start my next coaching adventure. 

-Donovan J Rowe