How do I heal after a school year that’s caused me to question an awful lot about what it is that I do? That’s where I started out on June 1st, the Monday after school lets out. Well, let’s see:
1) Get grades turned in.
2) Do some professional development.
3) Throw away a lot of stuff.
4) Attend your church’s annual conference.
Wait, wait, wait…..the first three all make sense. It’s causing that break from one year to another, finishing it up and moving forward, what is #4?
Well, I attended the United Methodist Annual Conference, a grand gathering of clergy and laity members to do the work of the Church. It’s frustrating work, joyful work, and sometimes mind numbing work, but in the end, regardless of where we are as people, the finished product pushes the church forward.
Why does this make a difference?
Because being with a group of people who’s sole (or soul) purpose is to worship and praise God, you can’t go wrong there. I sat by a grumpy pastor who didn’t see the value in much of what was going on, however, the laity (regular church member) from his congregation gave him grief the ENTIRE time we were there. Both had to be in the 70s and it just struck me that they were having a ball.
Why can’t I do that?
And that’s when I feel my own healing began. Not the “God laid his hands on me” kind of healing (that’s a whole different “conflicted teacher” post), but just in a manner of I started letting go of a lot of the emotional baggage I’d gained during the year. This class did many great things, awesome, wow I can’t believe you did that (in a good way) things. I needed to be redirected to remember that. Going to the conference, seeing the pure joy on many faces reminded me that teaching can be that way as well, a place where 8 hours seems like 8 minutes and where you can go weeks without doing the same thing twice. I love my job, I love my students, and I love those over achieving crazy people I work with. THAT’s what I need to keep hold of.
I’m hoping to let go of more as the summer goes on, but if you are an educator, you know: you take all this to heart and it’s hard to clean that gunk out.
It’s a process, a slow one, but I feel better in who I am and what I’m doing.
Right now, that’s all that matters.
June 16, 2015 at 8:50 am
Love the post…..that’s what Beulahland does for me!
July 11, 2015 at 10:43 am
Just felt good, that’s all I can say! 🙂
June 29, 2015 at 1:33 pm
In addition to everything you said, there is the value of simply getting into a different environment. I run a group of technology companies, one of which makes games that teach math. I also occasionally teach graduate courses in statistics and engineering. Getting out of the office and meeting with students who are being exposed to concepts in statistics and programming for the first time forces me to realize, yes, what we are doing is important but there is a whole world of people who are doing equally important things. So, yes, I may not have designed the perfect assignment to teach factor analysis, but I did a very credible job with the time and resources I had. I may not have created a game that is perfect, but it has not major bugs, is fun to play and kids learn. My point is, when we get away from seeing whatever we are doing as the center of the universe, we forgive ourselves for doing only a good job instead of a perfect one.
July 11, 2015 at 10:42 am
>My point is, when we get away from seeing whatever we are doing as the center of the universe, we forgive ourselves for doing only a good job instead of a perfect one.<
I just wanted to thank you for this thoughtful comment! I would agree with you whole heartedly, stepping back, good things did happen this year. Learning was done, and hopefully they will continue to push forward as they enter middle school. Me, after a month away, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle my next challenge: 8th graders! 🙂