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Days Like Those

Jen Robinson Education, Elementary, Life in the Classroom, Teacher Leadership

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Earlier in October, Bryce Brothers shared the blog, Days Like Today. As I read his story, I realized there are days I struggle with similar issues but on a slightly different level. I am pretty sure all educators, regardless of your role feel similar. So, if you will bear with me as I am honest with myself.

There are days, like a few weeks back and like last week. Days where I struggled to get out of my head when I ran, typically I run to bring an end to the day before and prepare for a new day. But on days like this, I struggle to move past thoughts from days gone by, the thoughts swirl in my head and cloud my perception. Days when making a salad for lunch requires far more cognitive capacity than I have to give. Days when I just want to crawl into the dog beds and lounge through the morning.

But I pull it together and drive on autopilot out of my garage, sometimes even turning back to make sure I closed the garage door. Rolling down the road, seemingly unconscious of my surroundings until I come upon the slow-moving vehicles on the two-lane highway that ends at the school parking lot. Sometimes on mornings like these as I hit the final stretch of backroad just before the last turn to school, I find myself counting the beer bottles strewn alongside the road as a try so hard to maintain 35 mph. I know completely insane, but true. Lately I have been more productive in my noticing,  watching for the hawk perched in one of the large trees nestled near an old, deserted farm house.

Typically, once I am at school and begin to interact with staff, teachers, scholars and parents, the struggles of the morning fade. I realize I am home. Seems odd at times how simple things shift your perspective. Like walking through classes and sitting in a lesson where scholars facilitate learning or jumping (literally) into a PE class running through the ninja course or talking to a scholar about their goals and what they need to do to succeed.

Or a few weeks back, a scholar who is now in 7th grade returned to visit. She stood in the office, right in front of the desk, took a deep breath in, raised her hands over her head and simply said, “Rainbows.” She twirled around smiling, saying, “I just needed to come back and all I have to say is Rainbows.” Then just like that she slipped away, out the front doors and off to her classes.

It’s the little things that happen every day that reset my thinking and makes me realize how lucky I am to get to do this every day. How privileged I am to work at an amazing school, with teachers, staff, scholars and families who care about each other. What do you do on days when it takes every ounce of energy just to get moving?

 

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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  • http://www.leadfromINtheclassroom.com/ Jess Ledbetter

    Great post. Education really is about the stamina it takes to move forward through the roughest days. I think one of the hardest parts about being an educator is that there are no last minute “sick days” when we can wake up feeling crummy and just decide to stay home. Educators know the horrible consequences for our students, fellow teachers, and school team when we are short staffed without a sub. On the days I wake up feeling crummy, I miss the freedom to call in sick for a sanity day so much. Perhaps the trick is seeing these days ahead and getting a sub lined up before we reach the bottom. But administrators don’t even have that type of luxury! You really are the heroes that hold it all together! Thanks for the work you do and your openness to share the challenges!

  • Mike Vargas

    I really loved this post, because I feel like this a lot as of late. I ask myself can I keep at this pace for another 27 years till the state says I can retire… I ask myself can I keep going at this pace this week? But at the end of the day, when I come home, I find that the stories I share with my wife are usually the ones about what a cool thing happened today. A player gets a scholarship, a students gets accepted to somewhere, or even just a simple nice note received from a kid in need. Then I am like ok .. I can keep going… :>

  • Treva Jenkins

    Enjoyed this post!! Like you, it’s when I think about my scholars and how much they mean to me and the incredible staff that I am blessed to work with each day that helps me overcome feelings of defeat and despair. I am not fully “alive” (mentally and physically) in the morning until I meet my first scholar in the courtyard. That’s what drives me each day. Thank you for sharing.

  • Treva Jenkins

    Enjoyed this post!! Like you, it’s when I think about my scholars and how much they mean to me and all of their quirkiness and of course the incredible staff that I am blessed to work with each day….all of these things help me overcome feelings of defeat and despair. I am not fully “alive” (mentally and physically) in the mornings until I meet my first scholar in the courtyard. That’s what drives me each day. Thank you for sharing. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/23fad21efd5bff5464f7770131e2b9049dbb95868709c480714c0d46005be6e7.jpg