Every year when school starts, I come to a fork in the road.
I've always chosen the path that gets me the results that I want: I work long days. Then I work long nights. Then I work long weekends. I spend all my time thinking about how to be better and come up with innovative ways to teach something new. I research. I worry about my students and their home lives. I plan. I prepare. I work hard. And I get the results that I want (my students excel) and I smile and tell the world that I love what I do.
But am I genuinely happy with that path? Focusing 100% of my time and energy on work?
This year, I'm determined to take the other path. The path that I've never chosen.
This path is not called The Slacker Path. It doesn't mean that I don't care. It just means that I'm going to take more time for myself. I will still work long days. I'll still plan and prepare. I'll still care for my new group of kids more than they'll ever know.
But I will not let work take up all my time anymore. I'm constantly exhausted.
I can't continue to run myself ragged every day.
So here are the goals I've set for myself this school year.
--Leave by 5:00 at least 3 days a week. (Unless it's a busy time like the first week of school or report card time.)
--Do 90% of my work at school so that I don't have to do it at home.
--Take time to read for pleasure (not all professional books!) each night.
--Realize that it's ok to go do things on school nights, as long as I get to bed at a decent time.
--Exercise or take Abby for walks after work a few times a week.
--Leave work at work.
That last one's a hard one for me. I spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 190 days with the same 25 students. It's incredibly hard not to dwell on the kid who constantly disrupted class all day...or the parent who yelled at me for flipping their child's card...or the big evaluation I've got coming up that will ultimately effect my pay for the next year. But what good is worrying about it going to do me when I'm at home?
I can still get good results if I choose this path. My students will still know exactly what they're supposed to know by the end of kindergarten. They'll be able to read, write paragraphs, add and subtract. Perhaps they'll get an even better education because I'll be more rested and relaxed mentally.
So that's my decision.
I'm at that fork in the road right now.
And I'm choosing the path I've never chosen.
I'll need help keeping things in perspective. (Ty)
I realize this post seems like a therapy session to myself...and in a way it kind of is.
But it's just one more way for me to hold myself accountable for what I've decided to do.
Here's to a great 2013-2014.