Saturday, March 29, 2014
Saturday Sayings: Self-Imposed Hard Parts
It's been a year of unavoidable hard parts. I'm surely not the only one who can say that. It's difficult to be a teacher without facing hard parts that are completely out of one's control. Here are a few examples inspired by Regie Routman's list.
My district and principal do not restrict my movements, but I know many out there do, placing requirements on their teachers that make it difficult to be a professional who's free to make choices about their classroom. Required testing is completely unavoidable, and I feel for the 3rd through 6th grade teachers in my school who are faced with the challenges of the new testing beast that accompanies the CCSS. New curriculum mandates come and go but can turn a teacher's life topsy-turvey. Overall, I'm fairly pleased with the CCSS, but it's obviously messed with a fair amount of teachers out there. Here's the one I currently know the most about: challenging students. One doesn't teach for 20 years and not know the difficulties students can bring to the classroom. I've experienced this unavoidable hard part on a whole new level this year though. Then there's the myriad of ways we impose hard parts on ourselves, making the unavoidable parts even more challenging to deal with.
Come January of this year, I had to start doing something nice for myself. I gave myself two goals: leave school as soon you can on Fridays and don't let yourself have too much homework over the weekends. Thankfully I've been able to accomplish both and as a result, breathe a little more deeply. I also made the choice to simplify my most recent writing unit celebration. The project I had originally planned takes an extraordinary amount of teacher time to pull off. It was a pleasure to do last year. This year it would have been a chore.
The trick is to get rid of the self-imposed hard parts. We all have our own list that's tailored to what we've become accustomed to. Routman provides some good examples. During an already difficult season of the unavoidable, some of those things can go. If you're in one of those seasons, find ways to simplify. I'm ready for the school year to be less stressful and more fun, and I understand that I'm partly responsible for making that happen.