Friday, December 6, 2013

Year 4: Week 14 – Learning To Embrace What I Can't Unknow

Once upon a time I came to this school and my world was the students that I taught and now it’s much bigger.

I’m on committees that have revealed to me the inner workings and politics of this school. The careful balancing act of priorities and the allocation of funds and resources create a pressure and a stress that I cannot escape. Even if I wasn’t responsible for being parts of these discussions and making decisions related to these issue,s I wouldn’t forget what I knew.

In the same way that you can never go home again, I can never go back to the way that I knew my school my first year I came here.

If this sounds like that I’m mourning my current situation, it’s because I’m exhausted. This past week I’ve had three afternoon meetings, which required high a level of my participation which was far from passive. I come home after being at school for ten hours and I don’t feel like I have much left and that’s difficult.

At the same time I enjoy my job and I feel I have a responsibility to contribute to this school in this way. The issues we are discussing are challenging and don’t have easy answers, but that’s one reason they are so stimulating to tackle. When I first started taking on this role, I felt like I didn’t have the perspective or the knowledge to being an active member of these discussions. I don’t feel like I have a choice anymore. When I’m representing the thoughts of people I represent, remaining quiet is not a choice.

Knowing the inner workings of my school has made me a better teacher. I have a better understanding of my role in the school and I can frame what I teach to my students in relation to the larger community. In some ways, my broader perspective hasn’t changed my teaching but it has changed the way I think and reflect on my craft. Everything I do is connected to the community.

However, it all feels crazy sometimes and it’s a lot to balance. At this stage in my life with Ollie waiting for me at home, it’s hard to be working late but it’s not like the work I’m doing is a waste of time. I know that I’m doing good things and while it doesn’t completely make me miss being at home, at least I feel good knowing that this time away from him means something.

This deeper and wider perspective of the school makes me feel like I understand so much more than I used and while sometime this knowledge seems like it is too much to handle, deep inside, I know that I got this.

With more knowledge comes more responsibility. With more responsibility come stress and pressure. However, there also comes more opportunities to make positive changes and have a wider impact on the school community. As tired as I am right now, it feels good to know that in some small way I’m making a difference.

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