A case for Facebook

Hub and I graduated from high school 30 and 29 years ago respectively.  Coincidentally, both our high schools are celebrating multi-year reunions this year.  His this weekend, mine late next month.  We went to a pre-reunion get-together with a few of his buds the other night. We had a good time although I kept asking myself, “Why are we hanging around with old people?” All kidding aside, weren’t we teenagers just yesterday?  When did the hands of time have their way with us?

The most interesting conversation starter of the evening was, “Hey I read on your Facebook …”  Yes, thank goodness for Facebook!  It’s living up to it’s goal of keeping everybody updated on what everybody else is doing.  Not to mention, talking about something posted helped to fill those always awkward gaps when we ran out of things to talk about.

So my question is this: if everybody has a Facebook page, why the need for reunions?  The purpose of reunions is to reconnect, catch up on what’s happened and share what’s happening.  We do this through Facebook.  Doesn’t this make reunions almost redundant?  Although, this IS San Antonio and folks around here never need an excuse to throw a party, so I might be losing my own argument.

I don’t have any plans to go to my high school reunion.  This nugget of information drives Mum & Da, not to mention the Spook, nuts.  For them, reunion attendance is a mandatory, no questions asked, experience.  Me?  Not so much.  I’m a fairly shy person when speaking to people face to face … even my own family.  Put a keyboard in front of me, however, and watch me come out of my shell.

I know there will be many former classmates that will miss me at my reunion next month.  I truthfully don’t know why that will be.  We “see” each other almost daily …

on Facebook.

CEO

It’s the first day of my summer vacation and what am I doing?  Planning for next year, of course!  Friends & family know I can’t sit still.  I’ve learned to take time and be reflective and am always looking to answer the following three questions:

  • What went right?
  • What went wrong?
  • What can I do to change what went wrong and make it right?

I was sharing one of my favorite team-building sites with a couple of colleagues yesterday and began to get very excited.  I can’t wait for the new school year to begin!  Yeah, yeah … I know … the old contract was mere minutes from wrapping up and I was already planning for the new one.  This is me.  Love me or leave me.

While I was sharing the one site, another site came to mind and then several books I’ve read and as I began to talk about a book I read in grad school that helped me kick off one of my best school years, I could feel the excitement building in my colleagues!

I owe my quest to be a CEO to Kathy Dodge Clay.  CEO stands for “Chief ENERGY Officer” (credit: Jon Gordon).  Dr. Dodge Clay was my Human Relations professor.  Let me tell you, I am the first to admit I didn’t expect to get as much out of her class as I have!

Human Relations was the one class I dreaded and the one I thought I’d get zero benefit from.  Oh, how wrong I was!

Dr. Dodge Clay began our first day with what I thought was mindless fluff … happy thoughts, “kumbaya” moments.  Standing in our big circle, I remember thinking it was going to be a loooong semester.

Of all my classes, my Human Relations class truly impacted me as an educator and as a leader.  I attribute my change in professional and life philosophy to the 18 weeks I spent in her class.  I now look for tools to motivate myself & other people.  If I find a gem, I pass it along.

Trust me when I say I spent the last two hours of my contract year sharing some incredible gems!  I explained to my colleagues how important it is to hop off the complain trainfeed the positive dog, and fill other people’s buckets.  I declared my commitment to be a continual CEO to my teachers and my colleagues.  Folks in the other department that share our floor were even tuning in.

Positive energy is contagious.  The challenge will be to keep everyone, me included, motivated during the next school year.  I’m up for it. 🙂

Although the work is hard, I’m going to have fun next year.  No doubt about it!

Empty Nester?

“You’re an empty nester so I didn’t think you’d mind me calling this late …”

And so began a phone conversation I had with one of my teachers last night.  Since it was past my bedtime, I had actually begun to drift off to sleep when my phone started ringing.  Please understand I don’t usually answer the phone after work hours unless I really need to speak to the person calling.  Since I really needed to speak to this teacher, I answered.

“Empty nester.”  What an odd term.  I never thought about Hub & me as being empty nesters as we never filled our nest with children in the first place.  The opposite of “to fill” is “to empty.”

Hmmm …

What bothers me is the assumption that because we have no children, it’s okay to call late at night.

And that, dear tatertots, is just wrong.

Here I Sit

Here I sit with my foot propped up on a pillow taking a break between ice packs.  The bruising has started and the foot looks, well, weird.  Swollen, green, purple.  Blech!

Who knew one table could cause so much drama?

Let me rephrase that: Who knew one top-heavy, cumbersome table would tip over on it’s own … and my foot would be in the way?

Certainly not me.

Imagine a Jenga tower falling over because there’s not enough support in the base and too much on top.  That about describes what happened yesterday afternoon when my colleague and I were packing up to leave campus for the evening.  A freak accident, I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The table would have fallen whether I was standing there or not.

My colleague and the assistants that were in the office during the “incident” were amazed at my calm and lack of tears.  As I told Mum this morning, I’m earning a huge reputation of being a “hard ass.”

My foot swelled fairly quickly; I asked for ice, the assistants called for the school nurse while I found a place to sit down and prop up my foot.  There were several gawkers and many gasps and “oh my goshes” as we waited for the nurse to arrive with an ice pack.

I knew what I needed to do … elevate, ice, fill out an accident report, head to the hospital.

I texted Hub.  Took a picture of my foot and texted that to him as well.  He called, concerned about me.  We talked.  I laughed, calmed him down by letting him know I was okay.  Really!  The gawkers looked on in shock, waiting for me to burst into tears.  It never happened … there.

I drove myself to the hospital, my colleague following behind me to make sure I arrived safely.  He handed me off to Hub, I told him to head home to his wife and grandbabies.  My ER stay involved hobbling between the registration, admitting, and x-ray areas.  Staff asked if I wanted a wheelchair.  I shrugged each offer off.  I mean, I’d walked to my car from the office and then from my car into the ER.  Puh-leeze!  Why would I need a wheelchair now?

The wait would have been unbearable if not for free WiFi.  I was able to get a little work done via e-mail and spent some time surfing the ‘net.

It wasn’t until the PA took my shoe off to examine my foot that the tears started flowing.  The shoe & ice had kept the swelling down.  Agonizing pain shot through my foot and up my leg.  Oh.  My.  Gosh!  She asked if I would like another ice pack.  As soon as she stopped touching my foot, the pain stopped.  Whew!  The RN came in to wrap my foot and more pain and more tears.  She kept apologizing … I told her to just. please. hurry.  Once she finished and wasn’t manipulating my foot anymore, the pain went away.  I haven’t had any pain since. Doctor’s orders are to stay home until Friday.  Stay off my foot, elevate it, ice it.  Use the crutches.  Don’t use the stairs.

I finally agreed to a ride in the wheelchair out to the waiting room to wait for Hub.  You see, I’m such a “hard ass” I sent my husband home, insisting I would be able to drive myself home once the day was done.

Dumb, I know.  What can I say … my ass isn’t the only thing that’s hard.

10 plus two

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.

Truth Time

Ahhhhh …

Truth time:  I promised myself at the beginning of the school year that if I made it to Spring Break that I’d be able to make it to the end of the school year.

This has been a very hard, very stressful school year.  Learning a new job always is.  Am I glad I moved into this position?  Yes & no.  Like I said, it’s been a very hard, very stressful school year.  Aside from the stresses, there have been some incredible high points:  I got to go to the ASCD national conference.  I received an iTouch.

Okay, while the iTouch is very cool, there’s a reason we have them:  we’re expected to use them as tools during our Learning Walks.  The question is, how many a week will we be expected to do?  I have seven campuses.  Will I be responsible for doing the same number of Learning Walks as the assistant principals?  Gosh, how will I be able to do that?

Anyway, I won’t dwell on that as we haven’t received that training yet … it’s coming, but we haven’t had it yet.

The students have 10 more weeks of school once we’re past Spring Break.  I won’t finish my contract year until June 22nd or so.  Truthfully don’t remember the exact last day of my contract.  And then we return on the 24th of July.  Not a whole lot of time off, but long enough I suppose.

This year has been a growing experience and despite my initial frustrations at the beginning of the school year, I’m glad I made the change.

The world’s greatest librarian was right:

It’s almost 18 months after I finished my Master’s.   I’m ready to start the application process for my doctorate.