I Am Working…on Myself #sol19
August 6, 2019
As the calendar turns to August, I begin this dangerous mental T-chart entitled What I Have Accomplished in the last 6 weeks v. What I Meant to Do. Every year, that invisible yardstick of justification comes out and I judge myself lacking, resigning myself to the fact that I will always have way more To-DOs than Ta-DONES! I mean, really, what have I been doing???
This year I want to flip the narrative and not just for my own fragile ego. This year, I want to be the mentor and coach that I should be. Instead of looking at the half empty glass, I want to remember that the glass is at least half-full and at most, absolutely refillable. Whatever was accomplished between that elusive June 19th and that slippery date in August when I work way more than I don’t, is absolutely a win. So how will I measure this summer term?
I’ll measure it in dog moments and dog walks. At the beginning of the summer, our poor Lily lab-mix couldn’t walk at all without a very painful three-legged hop, now she can, albeit slowly, take a leisurely five minute walk down the street and back down our steep driveway.
I’ll measure it in book recommendations I can make in the fall and throughout the year. Forty-five books read this summer and many, many will make it into the hands of teachers and students very, very soon. Along with reading, I’ve considered techniques, assessments, analysis, and author craft moves to tuck into a toolkit or a conversation just at the right moment.
I’ll measure it in trips to Starbucks… where I met with a teacher over three lovely sessions of collaboration. We gave each other encouragement and good ideas. Accomplished some shared reading plans and a template. Read many short texts for students and thought hard about what it means to share materials, ideas, and differentiate.
I’ll measure it in quick shares through text, facebook, instagram, meet-ups and the occasional email when I saw an idea that would be a perfect fit for another educator I know or just had to talk it over with someone. Those quick hits kept connections going and made a soft nest for new ideas to hatch come fall.
I’ll also measure it in lobster rolls, ice cream cones, leisurely chats on our patio and others, Sunday morning movies, and weekends that spread out for family because all the chores can be done on a weekday.
I do have a large stack of professional texts that I had hoped to get read. Some of them I will read over the course of the next few weeks. Some will be stretched out over stolen minutes, carried in bags for weeks, dog-eared and written in, sometime during the next year.
What have I done this summer? I’ve grown… I’ve grown a little more tan. I’ve grown a little more relaxed. I’ve grown a little more patient and a little more long-sighted. I’ve grown slightly more organized and slightly smarter.
So I’ll put away my T-chart and my measuring stick and give myself a certificate for being my best self for the last six weeks. That best self and the memory of these sunny days will carry me far into the year. That’s quite an accomplishment.