Monday, February 20, 2017

Word 2017

Once again time has gotten away from me, though that is not the only thing that has kept me from writing. There wasn't much positive to share. I was teaching or thinking about teaching pretty much day and night, and until three weeks ago I was banging my head against a wall on every front.

Then three weeks ago there was a major shift. From the first day in the room in November I kept detailed records of behavior issues in my classroom. I knew where the problems were and I knew what needed to be done. Early on I had conversations with administration, and I continued to advocate for my students. Finally three weeks ago a move was made, and it has made all the difference. I now have a class I can work with.

Once I had a handle on behavior management, I could tackle curriculum and assessment. That will continue to be a process but at least I know how to find the information I need. I might not ever "catch up" this year, but I will meet deadlines. More importantly I am getting to know the kids and what best serves their learning needs.

Then there was the issue of my personal goal-setting. I was completely confused about what I was supposed to document and what forms I was supposed to use. Finally last weekend I determined that I had two separate tasks conflated and that there was no way to complete the task until I figured that out. Hours later I had completed the longest and most detailed goal document of the two, but something wasn't sitting right with me. After all my research and conversations I had with two teachers on my hall I had a crazy question: did I have to do this particular goal setting? Tuesday night I emailed the person in charge of certification and Wednesday I had my answer: a resounding NO, I did not have to do that paperwork because while I am new to the district I am not a "new" teacher! Phew! I regretted the hours spent but I was grateful that I was finally able to straighten things out.

When I look back at the last three months it makes sense that I have been exhausted. The demands have been many. It has felt like there was no relief in sight.

Then there the form of shift and insight and support from unlikely places.

Along the way there has been wisdom shared, from my osteopath and my massage therapist, to take care of myself and to believe that I'm in the right place for the right reasons, to give myself a break, and to breathe. That was reinforced with the words of Mark Nepo. For January 31 he writes, "Yet when we feel the reflex to hold on, that is usually the moment we need to let go. When we feel the urgency to speed up, that is typically the instant we need to slow down."  We do that when we breathe. He goes on to say that while change is overwhelming, it happens one breath at a time.

Some days it has felt like the only thing I can do successfully is keep breathing, for if I give myself a chance to get to the next moment something will break open and light will creep in.

Because the journey continues, my word for 2017 is breathe.