Saturday, January 1, 2022

My "One Word" of 2022

I just love a fresh start. A new tube of toothpaste, fresh bottle of shampoo, dipping a clean knife into a smooth top of freshly opened peanut butter. All provide me with a strange sense of satisfaction. So it's no real surprise to anyone that I love New Year. I love the opportunity to start over, set new goals to achieve and make changes for the better. 

As a teacher, I technically get two "New Years" to celebrate. January and August. 

In January, the last few years, I have chosen a "one-word" to focus on my growth and goals. Words in the past have been "Consistency" and "Balance". Both good, solid words that can be applied in both my personal and professional life. 

This year I've had a hard time coming up with a word. It's not because I'm tired, burnt out, or just "don't care" it's more that I know what I'm wanting to improve on, but summing it all up in on word that's meaningful and powerful has been difficult. I just keep coming back to this one word. It's not fancy, powerful, or strong. But it just keeps popping up. 

Ready for the word. 

OK 

That's it. Two little letters that sum up my entire focus for the year. OK. 

I find myself constantly having to remind myself "It's ok." 

It's ok if I leave my desk cluttered at the end of the day in order to get home in time to see my son get off the bus from preschool.

It's ok that I don't volunteer for a committee, even if it's something I would enjoy.

It's ok if I don't have the essays graded in two days (or a week).

It's ok if I don't meticulously adjust an activity until it's perfect. 

It's ok if my lesson ended 10 minutes early and I let the kids just "chill" for the last bit of class. 

It's ok if I don't grade something and put it in as "participation" 

It's ok if I am not at school 30 minutes earlier than my contracted time.

It's ok if I don't email that parent back at 8:00 PM 

It's ok if I use exactly the same lesson plan that I used last semester, even if I know there are some places that need some tweaking. It's still going to be a kick-ass lesson. Because I'm a kick-ass teacher. 

It's ok for me to say that. 

It's ok. 

I'm trying to learn to take some of the pressure off of myself to be perfect. This is hard for me, not because I want to be perfect, but because the creation of new lessons, making small tweaks to improve the efficiency of an activity, and designing a new project are FUN for me. I love doing it. It fills my cup and gives me a "high" that I can't explain. 

But...on the other end of the "cup filling" creation is where I tend to find my stress. The piles of papers that need to be graded, the absent students who need instruction, the guilt for not providing timely feedback. You see...there's no real way for teachers to BOTH provide creative, engaging lessons AND provide timely effective feedback to help students grow. There's just not time to do both. 

So...in order to improve I need to be ok with things being OK for a little while. 

And 2022 seems like a good time. 

1 comment:

  1. A timely and important post. Best of luck to you Jill. Your words are exactly what educators need to hear.

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