26 August 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days: #10

#10: Hurrying Up to Get Nowhere

One thing that I'm continually learning is that life is about balance. Even though our school has moved and is in transition, this is my second year working with the same students and I want to reflect that in my life.

Many of my colleagues are trying to ensure that they are not staying at school until 7 or 8 p.m. Since the majority of my work happens in the afternoons, I'm working to make sure that I don't let my short-term goals (creating a writing center, establishing a high-school leadership structure) overwhelm my long-term goals (applying to business school, writing, creating a space for my personal life).

What I've noticed about myself and my colleagues is our tendency to become consumed by our student's lives and problems. The truth is it's hard not to. when you're a teacher, you're not dealing with numbers and abstractions. You're dealing with actual people, in real time and 90% of them are dependent on you and susceptible to your every word and action. It's a heady feeling and the pay scale that's associated with the job doesn't remotely reflect its importance. But this consumption can't override your own life. For the past three years as I've struggled to establish myself in a new state and new work environments, I've let that balance slip. For me, it means working harder to ensure that it doesn't happen anymore but the reality is that one of the best ways to do that is to detach from my students a bit. Otherwise, I'm hurrying along and getting nowhere.

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