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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Necessary or Unnecessary Stress?

I'm up in the middle of the night worried as I'm waiting to hear about the model I will teach in next year.

In February we shared our preferences for assignments with administration.

In May we were told our grade-level assignments.

Due to a decrease in classes at our grade level, we had to propose a new model in order to gain approval to continue to teach with a model similar to the successful model we are employing this year.

Now in late May, we are waiting to hear whether that will be approved or not.

I suppose I should be calm and wait peacefully, but it's always troubling to present a model in writing and get little feedback or response and to have to wait.

What makes the wait more challenging is the work load it is creating because I'm unable to do a lot of transition work that is due soon until I know of the approval or disproval. Plus, there's that feeling that the decision is out of your control or opinion yet you'll be doing the work that is decided, and you'll be judged by the outcome of that work with regard to the multiple test scores and evaluative tools in place.

If the plan is approved, I will be confident as we have a strong team with lots of good knowledge and experience that matches the plan. I changed grades this year, and the approval of the model will mean that I will be able to build upon this year's work to make an even stronger program.  If the model is not approved that means I'll have considerable prep to do over the summer and double the departments and leaders to work with next year which will mean less time to dig in and teach deep. Whatever happens, I'll do my best. I know that I'm not alone as teachers throughout the country face the worrisome wait each spring related to learning about the grade-level, students, and content they'll teach the following year.

It's important to have patience when you are waiting to hear about big decisions, but on the other hand, when the work load starts to mount because you are waiting, the stress begins to spill over into other areas of life. For example I had to miss a valuable professional event tonight, and a family event was affected too by the discomfort and added time of waiting.

I am a big fan of teacher voice and investment. I believe that decisions about teaching well should be inclusive demonstrating trust and support of educators who exhibit dedicated professional learning, investment in students, and considerable experience. Yet, I have not made the decision to lead so as a classroom teacher I must follow the decisions of leadership. Hence I wait.

The decision will come eventually. I will do my best to fulfill the model assigned.

I share this story as I am dedicated to tell the story of what it means to be a teacher from one teacher's point of view. It's a story of successful lessons and lessons challenged. The story of new ideas and tried-and-true practice. The story of worthy collaboration and anxious waiting. The stories of childhood delight and surprise as well. Teaching well is truly a journey of highs, lows, and lots of plateaus.

It's not good to be up this late when you have to teach school in the morning, but sometimes our worries and ideas wake us in these early hours. It's a quiet time to gain perspective and strengthen your resolve to teach children well.  Onward.