The other day I took a walk at home. My neighbor saw me and said, “Haven’t seen you much lately.” Without thinking I answered, “I haven’t seen myself much lately either.” A moment later, standing on a pier looking over the Chesapeake Bay, I realized what I had said. I haven’t seen myself much lately? Did that mean something on a deep subconscious level?
I have been busy. I came to high school teaching at the age of 45, after several other careers. I jumped in with both feet – committees, projects, graduate classes, conferences. I have looked for every opportunity and welcomed it. I have worked really hard and I have learned a great deal. I have been busy, and it’s been good.
But I wonder if there comes a time when too much professional involvement is just too much. So let me ask my colleagues – you – how do you temper your enthusiasm with realistic limitation?
To keep it in perspective, let me share this with you. It’s Senior Prom Week, and I am one of the Senior Class Advisors. I’m worrying about prom favors, and guest registration, and decorations, and music play lists. I have a long list of “to-do’s” and people to contact. I have learned one really important thing from this involvement. If another teacher or staff member offers to help, say, “Yes thank you!” That’s a lesson I can use if I do ever become an administrator. Always say “yes” if you get an offer of help, and always say “thank you”.
I’ve also learned to prioritize. If you do what’s most important, everything else will fall into place. I bought my prom dress. It’s floor-length, black, and sparkly. I found black sandals yesterday - had to get new shoes because my “teacher flats” weren’t very glamorous.
So I’m done looking for myself. Every time I walk into a classroom I know who and where I am. Yes, with everything else, I am first of all responsible for teaching, and I know it. I’m here to guide learning, because it is about the children. Same for Prom, it’s about our seniors and celebrating their four years at Arundel High School. When I remember that, then I know where I am.
I am still looking for the perfect tiara for my dress, though ….