So I’m sitting in a staff meeting and it hits me … calmness.
The surprise bumps into me enough that I check my phone expecting to see a notification or email pop-up – but the buzz is in my head, not on my device.
No warning, no *ahem*, no ‘scuse me’.
So, I make space for it.
Still, with a little side eye, I wonder what the heck is it doing here. And funny it gets right up beside me, almost in my lap PDQ.
It feels … good, but foreign.
I lean into it a bit.
To not notice in the first place – that I am not at ease, relaxed, or chilled-out – can be attributed to my manic state over the past three months.
Three months of head down, stone grinding, growth mindset madness. No complaints. No excuses. Just that fact.
I joined a new school and new department this year. Net result = near vertical learning for me. Lot’s of compass bearings whacked. Social connections thinned. And still, expectations of self efficacy are through the roof. Cruel and ironic, but that’s how I had to roll.
14 years of teaching experiences did not prepare me for the space that would be generated between me and my comfort zone. And that going for something new, could distract me so completely.
My team is great. But despite that, the pressure to deliver is greater.
Geez, have I really been that stressed out? At some point did I pop out the other side of growth mindset assuming that heart palpitations, sleeplessness, and anxiousness was a standard dress code?
These feels, or non-feels I guess, came on as I started to think about volunteering for a committee. There is something about this new school that has me checking my six on the daily. But in a good way.
I am constantly seeing peeps that are energized and activated. Considerate and connected. Chatting and leading and creating. And its getting in my head.
As a habit, over the last 10 years, I have not actively pursued any extra committee work. Between learning to survive in EDU, do my job well, and then joining the dad-hood – my commitments to my family pushed pretty much all other professional growth to the fringes.
80 days into the semester, I finally feel like I can come up for air, and check out the view.
There’s gotta be something clinically significant about this. No time to break that one down though – not now, but maybe in another post.
My day is split between two portfolios.
In the morning I work with an ASD community class. In the afternoon, I support a grade 12 learning strategies class.
This broad context constantly reminds me of the beautiful and incredible complexity that comes with working in Special Education.
I have ups and downs, like most teachers.
I’m stressed. I’m anxious. I worry. I teach. I repeat.
Today I was reminded of the good stuff, the pulse quickening, heart softening, mind expanding good stuff that sometimes gets pushed out of view.
The gravity in my day is heavy. Too heavy. I question the physics. Most times though, I accept the day as it seems … a grind.
Today was a very good day.
When attendance is low, I have fretted about lost learning time and bemoaned the challenge of re-calibrating my long range plans. Today, instead, we the few sat and talked, and invited other hall wanderers into our space. We talked about post secondary hopes, and the trouble with dating outside of our culture, and what our plans were for the holidays. It was intimate. It was safe. It opened up ideas. It opened up people.
When I am disconnected from my students, I usually up my social game with exuberant hellos in the hallways or meeting and greeting at the front door of the school. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. Today I dressed up. I thought about how to communicate happiness and joy without the obligation or confrontation. And I wore my outfit from my house, through my commute, to a Walmart stop, into the school, and for the rest of the day. The students noticed. They smiled. They high fived. They connected with me.
When it feels like I am still a stranger in my new school, I’ll hide out in my office. I answer emails that aren’t a priority and plan lessons that may or may not get used. Today, I wandered the halls between periods, knocked on office space doors, and ate lunch with colleagues. I said yes to dancing on stage for students. I laughed. I smiled. I felt safe. I opened up.
In the future, I will return to this post.
It’s a great reminder of a very good day.