Pulled apart

For the last few weeks I have been pushed to reflect, reflect, reflect…make my learning visible…share my learning.  So here is the nitty gritty of being a teacher and the things I am pondering right now.  I wanted to reflect a little on the Professional Day last Friday.

Earlier this year I wrote about trying to find focus.  This past Friday I did something a little different for pro-d.  Usually I go to a conference and learn new things.  This one I stayed at my own school.

My intention was to work on fine tuning my Daily 5 Pensive, write some blog posts about Daily 5 (which everyone has been bugging me to do), put together some resources for the teachers on staff who have been wanting to get started with Kidblog, work on my Weebly class webpage so that my teaching partner can access and post blog posts about our class, spend some time on my Innovative Learning Designs grant project and get together with my wonderful Principal and nail down some details for our Identity Day.  A lot, I know.  Too much.

Besides meeting with Carrie, I had planned to spend the whole day quietly at my desk working and maybe check in with a few colleagues over lunch.  Over the course of a week, my dream Pro-d changed completely.  You see, I have gotten into a bad habit of saying yes more than I say no.  The problem is that I am constantly putting my work last and what ends up happening is I spend those precious hours from when my kids go to bed until when I finally crash, working on my own work.  I am slowly running myself into the ground.

I am finding that being connected is a difficult balance.  Right now I am finding this new way of teaching and learning making life harder, not easier-but the problem is that it is so much better than what I was doing before so I just can’t give it up.  My own learning curve has been steep, and when I see colleagues with that excitement wanting to change and try new things, I can’t say no.  I feel partly responsible for this wonderful innovation tsunami that is building on our staff because of the Pro-D I pushed for in the summer, and with that privilege comes the responsibility  to support others.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy helping.  Its like teaching my own students -when they get that “aha” moment, there is nothing better in the world.  I want to support colleagues, but am being pulled apart, “Diana, can you help me…” “Diana, I was wondering if you could show me…”  I want to help, so I do.  And then little pieces of my day just disappear.

So, meanwhile…the things that I want to do, ILD project, collaborating with my teaching partner and grade three team are drifting along, getting the little pieces of me that are left.  My friends wait patiently for me to come back to them.

Last week I participated in the Leadership 2.0 series with Chris Smeaton (@cdsmeation) presenting and there was some really honest conversation about finding balance.  Then main thing that stuck with me are the words, “balance has to be your balance” and “ultimately if you’re happy and the people you love are happy”.  Am I happy?   Are the people around me happy?  Where is that balance?

I need to find a new way of doing things.  Very soon I have an amazing young woman coming to do her 2-week practicum with me and I need to be mentally and emotionally available to support and encourage her.  Something has to change, and quickly…I just don’t know what.


Pulled apart — 10 Comments

  1. Hang in there, Diana! Everyone in our profession struggles with this at some time or another, and it comes from our passion for educating and supporting others. You are wise to realize that you need to make a change for your own health and wellness. Realize too that modeling balance for those who look up to you is just as important as showing them how to do all those other things too, especially to your student teachers! Take good care of yourself!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Annette 🙂 I closed my door and locked it after school yesterday…and got an hour of work done at my desk! (After I actually found my desk…) It’s nice to get caught up a little!

  2. I enjoyed your post as you ponder how to do it all and how to find that right balance for you. I know you are excited for all your new learning. Take a breathe. I know you find your way. You will find the balance that is right for you and your young family. It probably feels pretty overwhelming at times but you will sort through it. Sounds like you already know your priorities. I hope you will be able to keep blogging because I enjoy reading them. All the best. Sheila

    • Thank you Sheila :). I will keep blogging, it’s great to solidify thinking and keep a record to refer to (in addition to the conversation and feedback, which is really neat!). I am blown away at the work you are doing at your school! You are a trailblazer and I know that can be tough sometimes. I love reading your work too 🙂

  3. I certainly understand where you are coming from. My own learning curve is so steep, and there are so many things I want to be doing differently, and well. I am also a teacher-leader, and am engaged professionally in a variety of ways. You describe so well how hard this is that it almost brought me to tears. By June last year, I was on the ground. I wish I had the answer. In any case, I appreciate so much that you have taken the time to relate your experience.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I completely understand the feeling of exhaustion in June, like you are at the end of a marathon and your legs just don’t work anymore. I think teachers are notorious for taking on too much, it’s because we care so deeply about what we do and because teaching is such a reflection of who we are. I hope to find more balance so that I can be the best teacher for my students-because as a friend of mine always says, “What’s best for kids?”

  4. This is a great post, Diana. It is a post I could have written myself – many times. It is a tough balance – learning new things, trying new ways of teaching and then sharing with others. I feel your pain. It is both exhilarating and exhausting, if that makes any sense at all.

    Please know that we are here to help. You do not feel like you have to take things on, if you are not able. You need to learn to say “No”. I know that is not easy, but you also have to look after yourself first.

    Please let me know how I can help.


    • Tia, thanks for your positive comment 🙂 I will be saying “no” a little more often in the next while. It has been good to reflect on my priorities-which is ILD, my student teacher and my own class. And Zumba, of course!

  5. I feel that in this day and age people have move through life so quickly, we have become ‘okay’ with being just ‘okay’

    One of the hardest things is having to center down to who you are and what you need as an individual to be happy – which often comes with saying ‘no’

    Something one of my mentors said to me when I was going through a similar situation in my final year of university… and suffering an emotional break down after deciding to take on the world was…
    “Do what is best for you, saying ‘no’ to someone won’t kill them… you are not the end all be all to peoples problems”… this was a challenge to grasp, but it the fact is… there are SO many resources people can tap in to… you are just ONE of their options..
    The less you help yourself… the less you can be there for other people.

    I know you will find the balance Diana, and just know that all the support you have given people will be there for you when and if you need it 🙂

    Sunshine 🙂

    • Sarah, you are my sunshine! Thank you for your insight. You are wise beyond your years and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with you this year. I think I will put your words on a notecard behind my desk to help “keep the balance” 🙂

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