I looked at my last post and realized it's been two and a half months since I've written anything. It's no wonder that my "One Word" for the year is "Consistent", to include a goal of writing a post at least once a week.
A colleague of mine (who just happens to be the 2016 Texas State Teacher of the Year) and I were talking in the library this past week about the perks and perils of social media for educators. We both agreed that it is a wonderful thing that teachers can share ideas and get support as fast as a Tweet can be posted. We also agreed that the amount of information out there can be overwhelming and produce unnecessary pressure for teachers to be all and do all.
With every list of "Ten Ways to _______ in the Classroom" (fill in the blank with "Connect with Students," "Redecorate for Learning", and my favorite, "Prevent Burnout"), there is the suggestion that we should do more, be more. Don't we do enough? Aren't we "enough" as educators doing our jobs? Every time I succumb to the doubt and read another list, I feel further and further behind in my job, even as I receive kudos from my colleagues on my mid-year survey.
Don't get me wrong--I'm all about improving myself professionally, and always welcome the tips that will help me organize my library better, serve my learning community more efficiently, and keep up with new trends in children's literature and educational technology. But I am tired of feeling guilty for not having the cutest....whatever. Tired of feeling guilty for not going in on weekends and choosing to take care of my home, my family, and myself instead. Tired of comparing myself to other educators, and worrying about whether my lessons measure up to theirs.
So here are my professional resolutions for 2016:
- Celebrate my successful lessons in the library, knowing they may or may not work with the next group of students.
- Seek assistance when I need it, using only what fits and not feeling bad about ditching the rest. This includes being honest with myself about skills I need to grow (for me, program management), and not being afraid to share that with my colleagues.
- It's okay if I only implement one idea from a helpful professional development session--or if I decide to put it in the plans for next year. There is no sense throwing out perfectly good lessons that resonate with my students and produce positive results just because something new is out there.
- I will have lessons that bomb, and that's okay, too.
- I will check in on my Pinterest boards now and then, but I will not feel badly if my library isn't as cute or modern or ________ as a "pin". If they inspire me to action, then great. If not, then that idea can just simmer until another day.
- My focus is clear--my job is to promote literacy and provide educational support. Everything else is just icing on the cake, fluffy stuff, fun but not absolutely worth losing sleep/ health/ time with my family.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the "perfection" that seems to be perpetuated in posts and pins and lists about education? How do you handle the expectations and emotions that stem from social media?
(Image attribution: © Nevit Dilmen [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons)