Tech, Teaching and Me

Trying to turn off my brain by writing it down

Find Your Balance

As I read, Tim Holt’s“Don’t Tell Me You Don’t Have Time” and the wonderful conversation that was inspired  by Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and Suzie Nestico, I was inspired. First,Tim, thank you for the post and thank you Suzie and Sheryl for your replies. It obviously struck a nerve in many. And, I believe that a lively discussion generally leaves all involved better for it. So many times we surround ourselves with people who think just as we do, agree with us, pat us on our backs and tell us we are right! As wonderful as that is, it doesn’t allow us to grow, adjust, edit our thinking. We need to see the other side, or sides, of any discussion. We need to have naysayers, and people who play “devils advocate” to enhance our concepts and ideas.

We are all busy. You probably share small talk with a fellow coworker everyday and don’t realize they are struggling, maybe even breaking down from enormous stress and pressure that comes from their finances, their children, their parents, their house remodeling,or their health. Every day I work with teachers who amaze me as they tell me their daughter/son lost their job and had to move back in with them and oh by the way, they now have a spouse and a 6 month old baby; the stress of a elderly parent recently diagnosed with cancer and the impact of surgery and chemotherapy sessions; teachers who are traveling from college to college as the May 1st deadline looms for their child and they watch their child deal with the stress of that decision, and the toll it takes on them as well; teachers who have an 18 month old and a 2 month old and they get up every morning, pack bags, bottles, breast pumped milk and are at work before 7:30am, after dropping babies off at day care. This list could continue. My point is, we may know of their struggles. We may not know of their struggles.For every story a co-worker shares with you, another co-worker silently deals with a stressful situation they can’t even discuss. Even if they share those struggles with you, they aren’t sharing the reality of the situation and how it affects them every day.What they tell you, what you see is really the tip of the iceberg of their feelings, their stress, and the impact of this event of their life. This is all in addition to grocery shopping, laundry, bill paying, exercising and some quality time with your spouse and children. And, I haven’t even mentioned our (more than) full time job yet. I understand this is life and all the messiness that comes with it. But, it can be so easy to forget that the person standing next to you, may be feeling overwhelmed, feeling beyond stressed, or feeling lost.

I LOVE my job. I love working with teachers. I love working with students. I enjoy bringing new tools, new concepts, new thoughts to people and sharing my passion for the learning process. I enjoy reading new blog posts, participating in online classes, being an active part of the Twitter community. I inhale my lunch over my computer keyboard as I type away my opinion during an #edchat Tuesday at noon. I want to do it all, learn it all, read it all. But, I can’t. When I try to do it all, something in my life tends to be neglected. My fabulous husband picks up the slack when the neglected piece is my home. He will vacuum the house more than his fair share of the time. He will do all of the laundry. Sometimes the neglected piece of the puzzle is me. And, my health, my energy level will begin to fade. I know the balance needs to be shifted when that happens. 

We all have 24 hours in a day. Some people amaze me with what they can accomplish in the same 24 hours I have available to me. An old family friend use to amaze me with all he did. I would wonder if he slept at night, or used those 8 hours to do house projects. I can’t think of any way he got so much done. He got it done, though, because it was important to him.

For me, that’s the bottom line. If it is important to you, you will do it. I have written about that topic before. Yet, the “aha moment” I got from Tim Holt’s post and subsequent comments was at different times in our lives, different times in our school year and even different times in our day, what is important to you changes. And, here’s the kicker….that’s okay. Sometimes we have to take the time to concentrate on ourselves, our family, our home, our children, or our health. Sometimes we use the time we have and plunge deeper into our work. The trick is to find the balance. When you start resenting, or regretting the time you spent on any of these things, you are probably out of balance. Find and adjust your balance. Only you know when those scales are even. 

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Willingness is Key

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.” -Mary Catherine Bateson

Over the last few weeks, there seems to be one word consistently repeating itself when I speak to others about learning, living and growing as a person and an educator. The word is willing. For me, this is the key to success. Am I willing to try? Am I willing to fail? Am I willing to learn? Am I willing to work with others? Am I willing to try something new? If we as educators aren’t willing to learn, to try, and in general, be WILLING, how can we as a group bring out the best in our students?

I, personally do not like being wrong. And, I have been told on occasion I may have some control issues. I think these statements could be said of most  teachers and educators I know and work with everyday. These are strengths and these qualities are weaknesses. Everyday I see these characteristics used in positive ways and in negative ways. I know I must be willing to try new things. I must be willing to be uncomfortable and wrong. I must be willing to take advice from those around me who have many things to teach me. I must be willing to learn. I must be willing to cooperate. I must be willing to share my successes with others. I must be willing to adjust when something isn’t working. I must be willing to change. If I am unwilling, then I am standing still. If you are standing still, rooted in place, unwilling to learn, to try, to fail, to change, unwilling to move, you will eventually be left behind by those around you who are willing to learn, to change and to grow.

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