If you know me in real life, you know that I am completely devoted to my son. When his school isn’t communicating or his teachers seem ineffective and uninformed, it makes me crazy. Last year, was a great year. I would have done ANYTHING to have his second grade teacher move to third grade; unfortunately, despite the begging and bribes, she didn’t move.
First grade was a disaster and unfortunately, we are experiencing another year of torture now in third grade. I know it sounds dramatic, but it is the best way to describe the lack of communication, the lack of empathy, the lack of relationship, the lack of strategies, the lack of what I know good teachers do to help kids succeed and parents feel comfortable.
Unlike the great years, the challenging years move at a snail’s pace. We ask questions, with little answers We provide research, with little response or acknowledgment. We advocate, and talk to whoever might influence the key players; when all else fails, we hold our breath and mark the days off the calendar like prisoners in solitary confinement.
It is an eerie feeling to be part of the same institution that causes my son so much stress. It feels like a betrayal. It feels like my loyalty is shifting. Some days, this shift is so strong that I feel like I am walking through the day, wearing a teacher costume. The costume covers my heart, the heart of a parent. I begin to ask myself more often if I am caring, supporting and educating other people’s children at the expense of my own.
In addition to my career, I write in the evenings and the weekends. I am sending submissions and more opportunities are presenting themselves to me. I am putting myself out there in ways that I never have before in order to make things happen. Writing has given me a creative outlet, a voice, to share and it seems that some people want to hear it. I receive thank you emails from parents that are searching for answers; the appreciation is so strong, that it seems as though I have thrown them a life-preserver as they bobbed without direction in the open sea alone.
Instead of battling the teenagers at Starbucks this afternoon, I went to the empty neighborhood spot. I sat there waiting for my afternoon pick me up and I had an epiphany! No wonder I am frustrated, exhausted, confused and overwhelmed. I am trying really hard to do many jobs really well.
My teaching. My writing. My parenting. My research. My relationships.
All of these jobs require a significant amount of giving of myself. All of these jobs provide joy and satisfaction, but none of these jobs can be done with only partial attention.
How will I do it? Does it take better time management? Prioritizing? Do I need a more detailed “to do” lists or does something have to give?
Dear readers…I know that I am not alone so how do you do it?