Friday, August 30, 2013

Teachers are People too

It is usually easy for me to separate my personal and professional lives. Once I walk into the school building or start my online quest for professional development I am immersed and I don't have time to think of any personal matters.

But the past month has reminded me that sometimes life demands extra of you. My Dad passed away suddenly on August 6th; the day I had returned from a fantastic week's vacation with my fiance. It was probably one of the best weeks of my life followed by one of the worst.

I was in the middle of interviewing, yet again, for an administrative position, frustrating after a summer full of "near misses". I did manage to attend a final interview in the few days between  his death and the funeral. Bad idea. I definitely was not on my game. How could I be really ?  My whole family structure had been thrown on its ear.

 Needless to say I did not get that position.

My son left for college two days later. Were any of us really ready for that ?.. probably not.

As I work so hard to try to help my mom and siblings adjust and handle this new reality, and try to support my son's litany of complaints from afar, and try to get my daughter focused on her senior year and college, and try to get my home of the past 20 years ready for sale his fall, I am realizing that I do have some limitations.

Will I be 100% attentive to the 150 students I am about to welcome in a few days? Yes, of course I will. Will I make time for this blog I really wanted to focus on ? Maybe not as much as I hoped. I still will review all of my incoming resources, it is sort of the way I relax and unwind. I will still tweet out good ideas I see (mostly so I can easily find them again when I want to use them).

The big plan for me said .. "No new administrative position for you this fall. " .. I get that things work out for a reason. And I am happy to continue to do the job I've loved for the past 24 years..

I went to the funeral today of a lovely mom in my school community. Two beautiful children in grades 7 and 9. I saw all of the friends and family hurting and suddenly changed. It reminded me (let's say hammered home the point that was already being made to me) that when we greet our students this fall we don't really know what their summer has been like or what is on the plate for them or their family.

I've done work with a colleague Steven Korner, on Emotional Attunement. I do try to connect on an emotional level with students. We all need to feel comfortable and safe to be productive in our learning and work environment.

So please excuse my potential spotty blog posts while I try to take some time to get all of my family and personal stuff back to comfortable and safe mode. And please take extra time this fall to consider that maybe your students and families have extra demands in their lives and won't necessarily promptly bring all the supplies you require or respond to all of your communications right away.

Best wishes for a thoughtful fall :)