This will be my last blog.
For a bit, anyway.
And honestly, I have really debated writing it because of how it might be perceived- and you know, perception is reality as I have often said here.
Some will see this as griping- it is not, but it will be critical.
Some will see it as giving up- it is not, it is kicking off a calculated moment of quiet, private reflection.
Some will think I share too much personal struggle- I do not think we educators are honest enough about those tough times.
The truth is, I feel a bit like the bird who crashes into your window. For the last few years, I have seen my goals- clearly- and flown for them full speed. Then crashed into the unseen barrier that keeps those goals just out of reach.
I have had a goal of creating, empowering and exercising student voice and action. Here, I have had success with the students in my classes, students in my LEADS program, and with my debate students. They have found, exercised, and acted on their voice beautifully. The glass window has been that we adults do not often pay that much attention to them. I tell my students their voice matters, but the adult world seems to go, "That's nice, that's cute. But wait until you're older, then you'll really understand." It feels to my students that for every adult who listens, there are a lot more that hear, but do not listen. I struggle because I feel I am lying to my students when they come back to me and say "I tried to talk to this adult in power, and they shut me down. I thought my voice mattered."
So I seek leadership to put myself in a position to be a leader that listens, only to hit that old glass wall. I'm told more experience is needed; or you have only been teaching 6 or 7 years, it will come. And my favorite- keep doing what you are doing. But is that not what we call insanity- to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? So, my human defense mechanisms of arrogance and entitlement have begun to kick in. And these two qualities are NOT becoming of a leader that listens to others. I blame it on the glass wall head injury.
I struggle with the weight we teachers carry. In my 7 years in public education, this is the first year that the thought of looking elsewhere has gained any traction. The amount of weight I am carrying as a classroom teacher of 4 preps a semester, sponsor of one club, coach of a debate team, member of the SEL team, District Director for LEADS, frequent blogger- oh and husband and father- has become burdensome.
But I cannot leave the profession I love. For all the crap, there is my students. And I love them. These last few days as the year winds up has reminded me they are my purpose. I built LEADS for them. I create engaging lessons for them. I get up at 4 am on a Saturday and return at 11 pm for them. I seek to be an administrator for them. And next year, one of those 'them' will be my own daughter.
This wrinkle- my own daughter being on my campus and potentially one of my students or club members or debate team members- has been an eye opener. Each student I look at is representative of my own daughters. I want their teachers to fight for them, to be the best for them- so I need to be the best for your children.
To do that, I need to stop for a bit. I need to find my path again. I need to re-evaluate if the best way to the goal is to keep running into the window until it does crack (or I do)- or if maybe there is an open door on the other side of the building.
But I need to do that privately. I will miss blogging- it helps me think. But right now, my vision is muddied, and my eyes are tired.
I look forward to speaking with you again someday- with more clarity and renewed vision. Until then- I leave you with this Theodore Roosevelt quote: