Monday, October 19, 2020

Rise Above the Mess

 Principal ponderings...

I recently read the We Are Teachers post titled, "Are Teachers OK? No, and Toxic Positivity Isn't Helping." You may have seen it floating around on social media last week. And there were many points that resonated with me. When the author talked about the phrase "it could be worse," it made me think of one of my favorite books growing up called...Could Be Worse. Yes, one of my Reading Rainbow favorites!

I totally get the idea of toxic positivity.  No one wants to hear that it will all be ok, things could be worse, let's only focus on the positive.  If you know me, then you know that I have tried to be realistic and honest during this pandemic mess.  I have agreed with parents...this is a terrible situation we are in.  I have shared with all of you...there is no good answer, this is hard, and the joy of teaching is getting harder and harder to find each day.  

You have heard from me that we all need to stop saying when we are available and start saying when we are unavailable.  It's ok to be unavailable, to not respond to emails late into the night or super early in the morning.  You already don't make the money you deserve, let's stop working 24/7 and bringing the hourly rate down for yourself more and more.  (At this point, are we actually in the negative with our pay with the hours worked?!). 

Yes, will I still try to share inspirational videos with you about how this job is a calling?  Yep.  But at the end of the actually is a job.  Do your students and families know you care about them even if you closed the laptop and went to bed early instead of commenting late into the night on Seesaw or Google Classroom.  Yep.  Do I wish I could take away the stress and the anxiety and the pressure that educators naturally put on themselves.  Yep.  Does the world know you love teaching even though you might not be able to be in your classroom right now?  I love the end line from the author of the post: "You can care about your kids and love teaching and still leave school when school ends."  

There is no award for working the longest school day.  There is no bonus being given out for fastest email response.  Who am I kidding...there is no bonus.  Period. Ever.  That's pretty much the opposite of positive thinking.  But it is realistic thinking.  I certainly don't mean to bring anyone down.  I feel like as a leader I am learning how to walk a very fine line.  How do I lead people through a pandemic?  How do I support everyone and appreciate all of you while also not sugar coating the situation?  How do I remain transparent about a fairly bleak picture of the school year while also trying to calm anxieties and reassure everyone that we will get through it?

I love my Sirius Radio and the other day I was listening to my 90s on 9.  Hootie and the Blowfish came on with the song "Hold My Hand."  The beginning lines of that song have been on repeat in my head...

"With a little love and some tenderness,

We'll walk above the water,

We'll rise above the mess.

With a little peace and some harmony,

We'll take the world together,

We'll take them by the hand.

'Cause I've got a hand for you..."

I will continue to offer you all love and support, along with a regular dose of reality.  I will continue to remind you about self care while also recognizing that none of us can meditate our way out of this current situation and not answering an email tonight really just means it will need to be answered tomorrow.  

I've got a hand for you, please reach out if you need to grab on.  Please keep sharing the text message memes that show how not fun any of this is.  And I promise to continue to answer you honestly in emails or over the phone when you call me in tears and say you don't think you can do this anymore.  I will give you real talk and not tell you it will get better.  You know that I will do what I can to lighten the load, to relieve the stress, to shield you, to reduce the work, to advocate for you.  

This year is a mess. But we will rise above the mess.  You might not feel that way or see it happening, but it will happen.

We will rise above the mess.

Currently reading:

I started reading the book Blended by Sharon Draper. This is the same author who wrote the amazing book Out of My Mind. This book is about a girl who is the daughter of a biracial couple who end up going through a divorce. The book is about how Isabella deals with divorce and racial identity.

I was excited to get two new books in the mail.  One was a recommendation from a principal friend in Illinois.  It's called Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators.  And it comes with a workbook that should be arriving in the mail this week.  Hoping to be able to share some nuggets from this book with all of you.

Another book that came in the mail is called 180 Days of Self Care for Busy Educators.  I am looking forward to working my way through this book and sharing self care tips with all of you.

Events this week:

Wednesday - Half day, STAR Math and ELA self-directed training, 2:00 Prodigy PD, October birthday books available in the lobby

Friday - Parent survey due for remote vs hybrid decision and transportation plans

Staff Check In:

Feel free to fill out this optional Monday morning staff check-in form.

Check it out: 
A video of Colby Sharp sharing some read aloud titles for upper elementary of you are looking for new read aloud options: 

1 comment:

  1. Toxic positivity is so insidious. People try to cheer others up with "it could be worse," but what that sounds and feels like is "you are overreacting, being selfish, and your feelings aren't valid." Thank you for being real.