Saturday, March 9, 2013

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

Three years ago I received some advice from Mr. Josh Cooper, as we sat down to lunch on my first day as principal.  The piece of advice that he ended our conversation on was, "Learn to say no."  I knew what Josh meant.  I knew what he meant because I had a hard time saying no.  As a classroom teacher I often "bit off more than I could chew".  

The committees I was on as a teacher were:
Assessment Team 
School Improvement Team 
Treasurer on local Educational Association 
Technology Steering Committee 
Hiring committee
National Accredidation Chair (NCA)
Coached and taught after school activities 
Also took classes in pursuit of my Masters Degree  

I was overloaded. I remember after doing this for years, I finally thought it is time to take things OFF my plate.  What I found is I took some things off my plate, and then others were added.  So is life, right?

It's kinda funny to think that I wanted to get things off my plate and then I became principal.  (somewhere my wife must be checking her watch and wondering when I may be coming home)

I look back on those days of feeling overloaded and then I compare them to today.  My list is now shorter (sorda), but the responsibilities have multiplied immensely.  Take March for example, here is just a sneak peek at my to do list:

iCreate letter
PTO meetings
5K organization
ASCD conference
MACUL conference
Balance budget
Review survey results
Read in most classes everyday!
Deal with Discipline
Complete Mid-Year evals

I could continue but you get the point.  I mentioned to Katie last week that I'm pretty sure I have bitten off more than I can chew in March.  Maybe it is because my final paper for my Grad class is due, maybe it is not being home as much as I want for my family, or maybe it is because I'm a bit nervous about my fitness level.  

Then I sat down Friday morning with two students, Matt and Jesse.  We listened to music, we talked, and Jesse talked about food!  I sat back, I smiled, and I realized, I love what I do!  I bite off more than I can chew because I know I can handle it.  The committees, the expectations, the responsibilities, I wouldn't change anything.  Well, maybe one thing I would change is writing long papers for my grad class, but that's the nature of the beast.

If you're anything like me you have times where you feel overwhelmed.  It could be a challenging classroom, something happening at home, after school responsibilities, or maybe you just bit off more than you could chew.  I figure you've got three choices.  1) take things off your plate/reduce responsibility 2) embrace life, lean on others for support, don't be afraid to ask for help 3) prioritize all of your "busyness".

My wife shares some of her work frustrations with me on occasion.  Some days she tells me that she doesn't want to discuss it because it will just get her upset.  Some days she simply wants me to listen, and other times she wants my advice.  Being a husband isn't easy : )  I think my wife is on to something, when you constantly vent about things that frustrate you it is hard to move forward and see the positives in life.  Venting is healthy if it has a purpose and allows you to move forward, but if it keeps you in a negative state of mind it is not healthy.

Friday was a good lesson for me.  Life can sometimes feel like it is zooming by.  Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning, it's important to take a deep breath, smile, and focus on the positives.  This week's big question, how do you handle stress?  When you listen to others vent do you join in on the misery or do you try to encourage, support and help?

Next Week At a Glance:

Happy Birthday on March 8th to Jen Reed
Happy Birthday on March 9th to Micki Archer
Monday, March 11th:  Conferences 4-7pm with spaghetti dinner
Monday, March 11th:  Book Fair begins
Tuesday, March 12th:  PTO meeting 7pm
Tuesday, March 12th:  Voting on classroom doors
Tuesday, March 12th:  Panther Pride lunch
Wednesday, March 13th:  Happy Birthday to Lisa Prichard
Wednesday, March 13th:  Assembly all grades in gym 8:45 (weekly reader assembly)
Wednesday, March 13th:  Conferences 4-7pm
Thursday, March 14th: Book Fair final day
Friday, March 15th:  PD day Western EdCamp
Saturday, March 16th:  Happy Birthday to Becky Holton

Articles Worth Reading:

You will be Googled shared by @gcouros

Fisher & Frey: Literacy for Life  shared by @donalynbooks

12 Relationship Truths We Often Forget shared by @marcandangel

11 Easy Ways To Un-complicate Your Life  shared by @marcandangel

Thinking Deeply with ALL Students  shared by @MPNEngaged

iPad iNformation:

Apps for Math  shared by @sjunkins

8 Great New Web Tools for Teachers  shared by @powell4thgrade

Videos Worth Your Time:

This is blowing up on YouTube!  Makes me crack up!  (3 min)

An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word. (4 min)

Connecting my Classroom (2 min)

This is so funny!  Ellen in the Hawaii Chair! (3 min)

1 comment:

  1. Yay! That Just Dance webmix for brain breaks is AH-MAZING! We are totally going to do "I Whip My Hair" on Monday! LOL! Great find!