Dear Educator Mom,
First, know that you will feel that you never do enough, but you are enough.
I write to you, my fellow moms, as my to-do list to make Monday amazing is long. I realize I only have a limited amount of time before bed beckons and I will not even come close to accomplishing it all. I know many nights are the same for other moms. Unfortunately, we don’t talk about the pressure to do it all and the guilt that accompanies it. Instead, you see the social media persona of other educator moms. We see the clean house, smiling children expertly styled, and the Pinterest worthy classrooms. What we don’t see is the guilt of making tough choices, the dirty messy house, or the lessons that go up in flames after spending hours planning.
Moms, I have no silver bullet to solve this, but I want you to realize you are not alone. It is time we create a tribe of fellow teachers who get the challenges of doing both well and support each other in achieving the ultimate goal, helping children turn into amazing adults that change the world for the better.
Just like state standards, there is too much to accomplish. Pick your hills to die on (We don’t have to have the same ones). One of my hills is home cooked meals most nights of the week as well as hot breakfasts. Another hill is to take the time to connect teachers with the resource or person they need to accomplish their task. Once these things are accomplished, then everything else is gravy. Also own your hills and don’t try to match others. I’ve accepted that my house is even close to magazine worthy and I have no guilt about it.
So my fellow moms, as you go to bed tonight. Ask yourself: “Did you help the children in your life get closer to be an amazing adult?” If the answer is yes, then let the guilt go and do it again tomorrow. If not, let the guilt go and try again tomorrow.
Another Exhausted Educator Mom
Note: This blog was inspired by my sister who said the guilt of balancing teaching and being a mom weighs heavily on some her former students.
As my faithful readers know, I have begun a journey of exercise this year. I have blogged about a ton this year. I have enjoyed it and have learned so much about myself as a learner. Then August hit. I have been to the gym 3 time this month. Please don’t assume that I took to running outside or I was injured. Instead, I have fallen back into my old habit of not exercising. This is not to say that I did not plan to workout. My gym clothes have been laid out in the evening for the morning. The alarm was set. I just hit snooze and justified my way out of getting up. I am sure if you asked why. I could give you a laundry list of excuses, but in reality, it was hard, I was tired and it is easier to go back to the old pattern of being sedentary.
I share this with you because often in our teaching we adopt an important practice and we do it for a long time. Then something happens and we flip back to the old way of doing it. How often do we get inspired and start down the road of changing our practice, then we turn around and head back?
Well, dear readers, I am going to get back on track. I will spend the time going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I need to keep my WHY in front and center. I have chosen to exercise to get and stay healthy for my family. I will also keep the personal benefits on a post-it note on my phone so I will not have to move it to hit snooze.
As you are on this journey of change, understand that there will be setbacks but how you respond is key. Focus on your Why and the benefits that come from the change.
As many of readers know, I welcome inspiration anywhere. This week’s inspiration came from the Sunday’s homily. The Deacon said, “It is hard being a prophet in ancient Israel.” He went on to described the challenges that Jeremiah faced as he was preaching to the Israelites.
The past day I pondered this line. It really could be adapted to say, “It is hard to be an innovator in schools today.” Both Jeremiah and the innovative educator has to challenge the status quo and ask people to change their practice. Both also took a hard look at the current system and questioned it. Jeremiah was put in a cistern by a group of princes and he sunk into the mud. These visionary educators are often isolated in their school and feel that they are sinking. Jeremiah was rescued by one man who saw the vision that Jeremiah had. Luckily, educators now have the power of a PLN who can support them when faced with the challenges of being an educator.
My action item from this reflection is that I need to support the visionaries in my school district and in my PLN. It is my responsibility lower the bucket down just Ebed-melech, the court official did for Jeremiah. I will reach virtually and face to face in order to encourage others.
During this summer, I was at a work day with a group of teachers and one said, “When I get home, I need to put up another batch of jam.” We started talking and she was doing what I always dreamed I would. She grows and forages for a large percentage of her family’s food. She also raises her own chickens for eggs and bakes bread daily. She talked about the need to preserve something every day during the summer so her family would have food during the winter. I said to her that I wanted to be her when I grew up. She then went on to say she has to do this. The teacher explained that her family had particular health needs that required this lifestyle. As I think about this interaction today, I realize I will not grow up and be her. I do not feel a sense of urgency. There is not a pressing reason to change my lifestyle.
Why does this story matter to you? We always have that teacher we talk to that is trying something we always wanted to do. We just haven’t. Why? The list of reasons could go on, but reasons seem to disappear when we feel that it is urgent that we adopt this educational practice. It is easy to be good and it is hard to move to great. The sense of urgency may not be there.
How can create your own sense of urgency? Talk more to that teacher. Find out the results his experimentation. Ask more questions and read more. Use this information to create your own Why. Once you have your Why, create your own Why Now and start talking about it.
My dear readers I challenge you this school year not to just dream but to do. Create your own Why Now and move from good to great.