Summertime Peace . . . year ‘round?

I’ve taken a wee break from just about . . . everything! The school year finally came to its official close, (I survived!) and now I’ve just been filling the “happiness bucket” that got emptied out over the past nine months. I’ve done some gardening, read a bunch of books that have nothing to do with work, and just puttered around doing little things that have needed doing for a while. I’ve been running every day and generally getting my health and wellness back on track. Clearly, not running around like a crazy person opens up a lot of positive things in my life! So how do I find the balance between the summertime peace and the school year whirlwind? Hmm. Great question.

There’s currently quite an emphasis on the need for wellness, mindfulness, calm, and balance in our lives – both in the education world and in society in general – and just about every arena – both professional and personal – has something to throw into the mix for us to consider. There are literally hundreds of books, articles, and gurus out there sharing their thoughts on how to achieve all of this in our busy, modern lives. The thing is . . . it all seems like so much work to make it happen that it completely stresses me out thinking about it! Don’t get me wrong – I completely agree that these things are essential for good health and a good life. I’m just not sure how to merge all of these things into something that is doable, sustainable, and accomplishes the goal – more peace and balance, less stress and cattywompus.

So how to start? (I SHOULD be able to figure this out, right??)

I gathered facts, made a schedule on a daily and monthly basis, filled in my set things, and then looked at what time and days I had left. Damn little, actually. No wonder I’ve been feeling stressed – I really DON’T have enough time in a day / week to fit it all in! Ironically, seeing that in black and white actually made me feel better. LOL!

But after a moment of validation and a little chuckle, the sobering reality was I had more stuff to do than time to do it. Still at square one – not helpful. So now what? Well, solve the obvious problem first: eliminate some “stuff” so maybe I can fit it all in. Easier said than done. What if I really can’t /shouldn’t / don’t wanna eliminate it? (See – this is why I love Math! No matter how much of a tantrum I pitch, 2 + 2 = 4. Period. If something doesn’t add up, you screwed up. Nothing to discuss.) Likewise, my solution is pretty stark: eliminate some stuff or change when / how I do it. Wait – WHAT?!

NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Not CHANGE!!! Where will it end???

Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but you all can relate to the feeling, right? As old as I am, I can still get that two-year-old mentality of “I want what want when I want it!!” Unfortunately, that’s just not the way the puzzle is going to get solved.

And there’s the point – is doing it MY way more important to me than doing it the way it needs to be done to GET IT DONE?

Wow. That realization was like a lightning strike to my brain. Huge flash, thundering shock wave of truth, and then complete silence as it sunk in.

Maybe my “inner peace” and “balance” problem was less about all the stuff and time constraints and more about me being in control vs. going with the flow. Damn. I hate it when I’M the problem in my problem.

But it got me thinking about how this relates to so many of the issues I see at school. It really is the crux of the matter more often than we may like to admit. And by “going with the flow” I don’t mean just going along with things, but rather that there is a natural way or “flow” for how things fit together to make it all work. The problem is, it’s usually never the way we really want it to go.  There’s that control issue again.

We get so locked into one way of thinking or doing that we find it almost psychologically painful to go with the flow of the situation and go against our own self-chosen flow. But if we truly want to solve the problem and bring ourselves more peace, balance, and getting things accomplished, we HAVE to be willing to disrupt that arbitrary, self-induced illusion of peace and move on to the real thing. And that might mean getting out of our own way. (Oh boy – I feel personal growth coming on!)

So with that in mind, my new goal (as I get ready to head back to work again) is to try to bring that real “Summertime Peace” to work this year. And I’m going to try to do that by getting less stressed about HOW I want it done and focus more on going with the flow to GET IT DONE.

And ok – maybe still eliminate some stuff. 😉

TLC Sprint #1

I’m a runner and a running coach, in addition to being an instructional coach, so my posts are usually peppered with my running references. For my non-running friends, sprints and speed work help to build different muscle responses to make us better runners. So it is with these sprints. The resource is quick to check out and hopefully gives you something useful you might be able to apply to your own work to make it even better. I’ve got two sprints for you today.

The first comes from Ms. Houser’s blog “Ms. Houser”, Instructional Coach and Teacherpreneuer. As we start preparing to line up at the starting line of another school year, it’s a great time to consider how we’re sharpening our saw to stay at the top of our game. She’s got a great idea – hope you check it out!
http://www.mshouser.com/teaching-tips/how-sharp-is-your-saw

The second sprint comes from P21 Partnership for 21st Century Learning (p21.org) on blended learning. Great discussion in general about how the quality of our questions is really what provides the rigorous, deep learning we’re looking for in our students. My take away – it still takes a great HUMAN teacher to ask the right questions that help our students get to the next level of understanding. Teachers matter! The author reminds us of some good teaching and coaching points – worth the read!
http://www.p21.org/news-events/p21blog/1826-blended-learning-it-is-the-questions-that-matter?utm_content=26824384&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

If you’re having new thoughts from reading these, please share in the comments below!

Thanks for sprinting with me!