What I learned during (fill-in-the-blank) fluenzapalooza

I get to go back to school today.  I am so excited I can’t sleep!  I have a ton of work to clear off my desk to get files ready for transfer to the high schools, I have more work that needs to be finished to get ready for the 8th grade TAKS testing that was rescheduled for next week, I have several students that I personally need to check progress on.  I need to start packing my personal things to bring home in anticipation of my move up the “food chain.”  

8 hours today with no kids or bell schedules will definitely not be enough time.  But I’ll make a huge dent in the pile.

I learned some important things during this unexpected break in the school year.

First, no matter how frustrating my job can be, I love working.  I love the stress, I love the exhaustion, I love making multiple decisions within a very short period of time.  I love working with people & I love working alone.

I. Love. Working.

But not at home.  When I walk in my front door, it’s time to unwind, not make decisions, and if I move, it’s very slowly.  Home is a place for the opposite of work.  

Anti-work.

I also learned that my eagerness to get back to work can be perceived as “boredom” by some people.  Bored?  No.  I don’t like doing housework or anything related to working around the house.  If Hub & I made enough money, we’d hire people to take care of the house & the yard.  I prefer to focus all of my energy into my job.  Several of my colleagues and many of my assistants think I’m crazy.

Am I really crazy for wanting to work outside the home? 

No.

Perhaps.

No, dang it!  I didn’t spend the last three years working on a graduate degree to help me move up the educational “food chain” so I could sit at home and scrub baseboards and shampoo carpets all day long.  I got word last week that I passed my principal’s exam and I am now in the process of getting my certification approved by the State so I can be hired as an administrator.  If this is “crazy,” then I’m one deliriously happy crazy woman!

I’ve learned that my priorities are not the same as most women that I work with.  And I’m okay with this.  My priorities might be different if I had children.  I don’t.  Although I would dearly love to be a mom.  I’m not.  And I have to be okay with this or I’ll go crazy lamenting my loss rather than praising my blessings.

I’ve also learned that try as I might, people’s opinions of me still matter.  The fact that word travelled through my department  this week that I was bored bothers me.  Hub even commented that he was surprised at how eager I’ve been to be back at school.  He said it’s almost “manish” how I identify with my job.  I accept his terminology with a ton of reluctance.  

But I don’t believe it’s accurate at all.

Is it “manish” to want to do a good job? 

Is it “manish” to care so much about my staff that I continually try to come up with ways to keep them motivated through the doldrums of the school year, to be accessible for any questions no matter how small or late in the day, or to cheer them on when they begin a pursuit of their own dreams up the food chain?

Is it “manish” to obsess about my students that have to depend on the schools for breakfast, lunch, and adult interaction because they don’t receive any of these at home for whatever the reason of their parents’ circumstances?

Are these the qualities exclusively granted to “men?”  Doubtful.  These qualities know no gender.  But if I had to choose, I’d say most are “motherly.”

I had a wonderful conversation with a very good friend several years ago about my love of being an educator.  She said, “Lisa, you don’t have any children of your own, but every student you ever encounter becomes your’s by proxy.  You take this responsibility seriously.  You are who the Psalmist was writing about when he referred to the ‘mother of the multitudes.'”  

“Mother of the multitudes.”  I like that.

And I’m not crazy.

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