Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It's Been A While

Are you singing that song in your head now? If you are, I'm sorry for the ear worm. If it's any consolation, I've given it to myself as well, so I'm singing right along with you.

It certainly has been a while since I've been here. Being a connected teacher was extremely important to me, but I've learned over the past year and a half that it was also one of the ways that I was escaping all of the difficulties in my "real" life. While I was really hoping to find a better balance between life, teaching, and my online presence, what I found was that I just couldn't do all three for a while. Unfortunately, that meant my online presence was the one that I could afford to let slip.

So what's happened since I've been gone? Well, a lot. But in keeping with my attempts at being the bigger person, let's just say that I have definitely gone ahead and upgraded, and others have, in some people's eyes, downgraded. I continue to wish him well and hope that he finds great success. But as time continues to march on, I drift more and more away from that old life and the ties that bound me to its unhappiness.

Professionally, life has been challenging as well. I found this really great meme the other day online:

Everything certainly look and feels the same, but I have definitely changed. I am no longer the one who needs to be responsible for making other people happy, and I am no longer the one who goes along with things just because it's what I'm "supposed" to do or because it'll make my test scores look good for my evaluations. I'm doing what's right by myself and what's right by my kids. I've already been "unfriended" (and I am definitely not just talking about Facebook!), but I'm okay with that. Those seem to have been the toxic people in my life, and not having to deal with them all the time has helped me be more positive and true to myself.

But I do find myself being more and more frustrated. I'm frustrated with the testing. I'm frustrated with my kids being a number, or a set of numbers, rather than a child. I'm frustrated with teaching to the test and not teaching kids to learn or be creative. I'm frustrated people who I used to see as trusted coworkers now seeming to be in it for themselves rather than being a part of a team. I'm frustrated that so much seems to be "out of my hands" and there's "nothing I can do about it," And I'm frustrated with administrators who shift on a whim and talk out of both sides of their mouth. All of this frustration has had me looking around thinking, "What else can I do?" "How can I teach kids, but not really be a teacher?"

So as I sit here pondering the "what should I do with my life question" for the umpteenth day in a row, I heard a ding on my school messager. It was a message from a coworker for whom I have the utmost respect. Her words were so kind and so humbling. And as I sat reading what she wrote and answering her, I received an email from a student. He is now teaching 4th grade in another local district, and he just wanted to thank me for all that I did for him. It's amazing how sometimes, in our greatest times of need, just the right people pop up to share just the words we needs to hear. I guess tonight was that night for me.

Maybe, just maybe, I am in the right place. I am doing the right thing.

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