Admittedly, it has been a while since you have heard from us. We addressed that in a podcast a couple of weeks ago, but suffice it to say life just got a little crazy. Now that we are back on track and working to make this the best we can make it, I am coming to a realization that I think really speaks to what we do as educators. You see, I am one of those people that wants to get all the certifications and learn all the things so I have more tools in my toolbox to help my students and colleagues. I am also (unfortunately) one of those people that may have a hard time saying no when I really should say no and deals with FOMO (fear of missing out) if I am not able to be present. When you add those things together, you end up with lots of overextending of myself and frustration when I am trying desperately to be in a space to learn something that is not really speaking to a need.
One of the things that I set as a professional goal this year was to gain more certifications that are really meant for P-12 educators in an effort to better prepare my students who are pre-service or new teachers with finding really good resources. I’ve done a few of them and have a few others in progress and, in general, the certifications really have helped me help my students. That is the good part of this. Now fast forward to the not so good part of this. I get invited to a TON of free webinars by these organizations and I have a hard time not doing them. This is leading to some over-extending of myself (or my bandwidth or capacity if David is talking). Today just happened to be one of those days. I signed up for a Professional Development that I was hopeful was going to give me some new strategies for an educational tool that I have been using for years. Instead, after 1.5 hours, I finally just clicked out of it because I was simply frustrating myself and getting a headache.
I’m not telling you this to negate the professional development, but more to point out something that I think is very important for us to do. I knew this particular pd was not going to give me what I was looking for within the first 15 minutes, but I stayed on for an hour and a half because it took me that long to give myself permission to move on from that task and do something else. I didn’t need the pd hours, and I wasn’t gaining any knowledge (other than different ways I could pay to upgrade a service that I currently use for free), but I still stayed because I had registered for the session and did not feel like I could just click out of the Zoom meeting. I finally came to the realization that yes, I had registered for it, but I did not pay for it and I was not gaining anything. In fact, I had turned the volume down and was already working on something else, but staying in the pd just in case they did something that I might find valuable.
Why do we wait so long to give ourselves permission to stop the things that aren’t working and move on to the other things? Is this something that is just a “me” thing? I really don’t think that is the case. In education, we are always on the lookout for that one nugget of knowledge that will help us open a door for a student. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in searching for that knowledge that we stretch ourselves too thin and make ourselves ineffective. How about we stop with that? How about we acknowledge that we do have the power to know that something isn’t going to contribute positively to our knowledge base or experiences and start “leaving the meeting” before we have wasted valuable time? I don’t know of any educator that is sitting around with nothing to do to fill the time. I try to challenge you when I write these posts, and this one is no different. I challenge you to just stop one thing in the next couple of weeks that is not positively contributing to your life. You have the permission. You are educated and able to discern when things are not helping. Use that knowledge to have the confidence to just leave.
Now, I do totally understand there are things that are required, and that is not what this post is about. I am also NOT telling you to walk out on some important meeting with your principal, chair, dean, etc. I am simply suggesting that we start getting rid of some of these things that we are doing with the best of intentions that are unnecessary or ineffective. We know some of our chaos is perfect, but let’s get rid of the chaos that isn’t.