As the end of the school year draws near, I’m ready to reflect on all I’ve learned … the good and the bad …
It’s been a journey of revelation and change, of laughter and a whole lot of tears. I’ve been composing this post in my head for the last few weeks. My colleagues from the greatest junior high school in Texas call these the “10 Things I Learned” reflections. I’ve moved to another district, it’s been a year of revelations & growth, and so I’m granting myself two additional reflections:
1. I admit it. I can be a diva. I expect a lot out of myself and those around me. I expect everything to be done correctly. This has been an area of intense frustration for me transferring into a job with zero training and the high expectation (by me and others) that I will be an expert in everything the moment I stepped into the position. There have been days/weeks/months where I wondered what in the world I got myself into. Moments where I questioned whether I wanted to even go to work that day. Days where I didn’t go to work because I just. couldn’t. It wasn’t until I was in Austin for CPI training a few short weeks ago that I finally stopped whining, crying, & complaining and started working to turn things around both in my mind and in reality and accept things for what they are: this job is like nothing I’ve ever done before. It’s a hard job and there are always going to be more things that need to be done than there are hours in a day (or days in the school year). Although the law never changes, the rules & procedures for implementation of the law sometimes change faster than the weather. It was in Austin that I finally accepted the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing when the school year began and I was going to have to spend the rest of the school year correcting mistakes I had made during the previous months. Speaking with someone ready to give me a quick kick in the pants back to reality didn’t hurt, either. It was in that moment of acceptance that I finally began to relax … and enjoy … the people I work with and the job I’m very blessed to have.
2. With my body beginning it’s journey through “the change,” I’ve been blessed with physical and physiological changes I wasn’t expecting to experience as a woman in her mid 40’s. Notorious for being a light sleeper, the few hours sleep I typically get each night are interrupted in new and surprising ways. There are mornings I drag myself out of bed in tears and am more tired than when I went to bed the night before. I never thought I’d be one of those women who doesn’t enjoy being my age. Perhaps, with a few more good nights’ sleep, I’ll start to enjoy my age again. I have to laugh at God’s timing, though. A new job, Hub out of work for over a year, other issues in my family, and “the change.” Couldn’t He let me deal with these one at a time instead of all at once? But really, is there ever a good time to deal with adversity? It is true: that which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.
3. More than learned, I realized I don’t remember things exactly they way they were. I took my former assistant to lunch last weekend and we spent the better part of the afternoon in a conversation much like the following: “I remember … ” “No Lisa, it wasn’t like that. Don’t you remember … ?” I, like most people, romanticize what was. I never knew I did that until last week.
4. It has been incredibly difficult, but I am learning how to be flexible. I began the school year driving myself nearly to the point of madness trying to adhere to a self-imposed schedule of campus visits. In my need for order, I am learning to function in a world where the only routine is the rising and the setting of the sun. How I negotiate my schedule is never the same from one day to the next. My colleagues will tell you it doesn’t matter how or when you get the task done, only that you finish it by the deadline.
5. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a problem-solver. Unbeknownst to me until recently, I’ve had some challenging cases to work on this year. I may not have known what I was doing, but I worked hard to find solutions. There came a point when I was in full “survival” mode early in the school year and all I could do was choose one student and ask myself how I was going to help him/her be successful that day.
6. I knew it was going to be hard work establishing my reputation in a new school district. I’ve learned that my willingness to work hard and maintain a positive attitude despite all the frustration I was feeling has earned the respect of my colleagues and my supervisors. I’m amazed and humbled by this.
7. I’ve learned that no matter how badly I think I have it, there are other people who have it so much worse. I’ve also learned that I take many things for granted and don’t thank the Lord enough for all my blessings.
8. I’ve learned that I am a really smart person. Intellectually and academically. I’ve also learned that when pressed into a stressful situation, I can problem-solve quickly while remaining relatively calm and clear-headed. Granted, I will fall apart once the crisis is over. But I usually have the good sense to wait until I’m either a) in a parked car or b) in a locked restroom stall.
9. I’ve learned that I sell myself short in a lot of areas. I don’t know why I’m so insecure, but I am. Like I said, I’m really smart and I do have good instincts.
10. With regard to my health, I’ve learned that owning up to my mistakes is a whole lot easier than playing the “blame game” or trying to be the victim. I chose several months ago to stop working out before getting ready for work and the evidence of that choice was revealed in my March lab results. My choice to extend my pity party and continue to not work out even after I received my lab results is not improving my health in any way, shape, or form. I’m hoping the energy I’m now putting into re-establishing my workout routine will pay off in the next several weeks when I head back to the doc for my follow up appointment.
11. I’ve had an opportunity to again testify that no matter how dark the season I’m going through, there is an end. Just when it seems like there is nothing more I can give, not another step I can take, it’s over. Finis. Amazing.
And finally …
12. It’s not so much that I’ve learned this, but that I’ve been reminded of this again and again these past several months: above all else, family is forever.
Moving my career out of its comfort zone has been hard and very rewarding. Will I do it again?
Only the good Lord knows.