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.  


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16 comments:

  1. This is a gift to me this morning...having one of those years, with one of those weeks...but it is Saturday...and I found this...immense thanks.

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    1. You're very welcome. Thank you for letting me know this was a gift.

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  2. I tend to let go of the extras when I have a large class. Everything is more time consuming and stressful, so I give myself permission to simply things for my own sanity.
    Connie Anderson
    www.welcometofirstgraderoom5.blogspot.com

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    1. Connie, you're very smart. No doubt Regie would agree with me.

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  3. Wow, I could have used this post last year ... and the year before. I think I'll forward it to a colleague who can certainly use it this year. As always, thanks for the insight.

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    1. Lee, I'm thankful to hear this isn't one of those years for you. Bless your friend though. I hope this helps.

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  4. I am glad that you have found ways to obtain your Friday/ weekend goals so that this year can be more manageable. Isn't it funny how teachers feel they must give themselves permission to let go of the self-imposed hard parts? We just naturally want to do it all, every year, even when sometimes that just isn't possible. Our hearts have a hard time sometimes not doing it "all'.
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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    1. Lori, yep it's difficult to say "no" to all the things on our lists. There are some things not worth holding onto though.

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  5. I couldn't agree more. Makes me want to go back and reread Regie. I love how you always bring me back to someplace I was before but with new eyes. I am the Queen of simplification, but it isn't easy any more. Thank you for this.

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    1. Kimberley, I like to keep things simple too. Regie is so good at reminding me about such things.

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  6. Needed to read this today after the week I had. Massive staff changes, low staff morale and trying to do too much...something has to change. Thank you for the reminder that I should look at simplifying some of that.

    Kelli

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    1. Kelli, I'm sorry. I hope that you're able to find some peace and joy as you simplify some things.

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  7. Love this perspective! It is so easy to let the political stuff get you down and forget how much joy teaching brings.

    Tara
    The Math Maniac

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    1. Tara, you're right. It's easy to forget.

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  8. "Self imposed hard parts" - ain't that the truth! I'm getting better at setting some boundaries, but if I'm not careful, school can take over everything! Thanks for the reminder to set those limits. Sara

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    1. Sara, yes it certainly can. Boundaries are a must. :)

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