Life is busy and in the Spring, the busy gets busier. Most days I am able to juggle it all, but this last Friday was not one of those days. It was a busy week and a crazy morning and all it took was one question from someone video recording my response to completely paralyze me. The question was “Why is education important?” A straight-forward question; one that I could talk for hours about. Yet, in that moment I was completely flustered and had no idea how to articulate my answer. I finally was able to blurt something out, and I still have no idea if what I said made any sense at all.
Then it happened…. As I proceeded to teach my next period class the flood gates opened. Yep, I started crying. And crying. And crying. I couldn’t stop. My students were concerned and trying to figure out what was wrong and to be completely honest, I had no idea. The video answer wasn’t a big deal. It certainly wasn’t the first time I blundered my way through an answer. It was just the last straw. It was the breaking point.
My student's responses were truly precious. They offered encouraging words, hugs, and the comfort food they were preparing for their Midwestern Regional Challenge. They said the sweetest things to help me feel better. Then one student said something that really impacted me. She said, “Mrs. Richmond, I love that you can cry in front of us. It shows you are real. That’s why we love you.” That statement will stay with me for a long time. I want to be real. My kids need to know that I have bad days too and hit my breaking point just like they do. If I am going to model taking risks, learning, and growing I need to be willing to model a good cry too.
The same day my friend, Tara Martin, posted an awesome blog post, Dear Highly Reflective One, that really resonated with me. As I read through the benefits and flaws of someone who is self-reflective, I realized that I could relate to each one:
Benefits of being self-reflective: Me...
Always learning ...I can’t get enough
Always tweaking your practice ...never stop
Seeking feedback to do/be better ...always looking for feedback!
Gives very real feedback to others ...very important to me!
Never reaching a plateau ...always reaching higher
Usually has a vivid imagination ...yep!
Big dreamer ...I dream in vivid color, always!
Viewed as Creative ...but, don’t always see it in myself
Everything is seen as a learning opportunity ...take on too many opportunities!
Flaws of being self-reflective:
Self-doubt ...um yes, so much!
Doesn’t get a lot of critical feedback, but craves it ...Always!
Over analyzes lack of feedback ...Constantly
Rarely celebrates success ...so hard for me!
Struggles to accept compliments ...so awkward!
As soon as project ends, on to something new ...mind never stops spinning
Feels there is always room for growth ...never stop fine-tuning
Must master the task, even if it about kills you ...and sometimes it almost does.
Making time to rest is not a priority ...sadly true.
When I read through these I realized my mind rarely rests. I am passionate about learning and growing and thankfully, I have a career doing what I love. However, here lies the problem. I wear out. I reach my limit. When that happens, I get flustered, I become paralyzed, and….I cry.
So as I reflect on this flustered Friday. Here are my take-aways….
I need to give myself grace.
I need to find time to rest.
I need to accept support and encouragement.
I need to continue being real.
I need to keep learning and growing.
I need to keep dreaming.
And….sometimes I just need a good cry!
*Shout out to Tara Martin for her honest and real writing. It gives me courage to be honest and real in mine.
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.