“…you are teaching yourselves how you will live and work. Early habits take up residence and are difficult to evict later on.” Jim Burke
I spent a chunk of this weekend getting inspired by the different approaches my favorite edubloggers are taking with back-to-school posts. The start of every year is filled with such incredible excitement and anticipation. There are goals to set and plans to shape and personal needs to attend to. We’re getting ready for our work with kids and our work with teachers and contemplating the best ways to engage everyone in thoughtful conversation. It’s a busy time of year, and it will only get busier once area school doors open tomorrow!
Seeking balance is my greatest priority right now, and Jim Burke’s latest post really spoke to me for that reason. He reminded me that I am responsible for teaching myself how I will not merely work…but live. I appreciate his assertion that I can and should approach this purposefully. This returns me to previous thoughts about creating a vision for the work that we will do and as Giselle Martin Kniep reminded me this summer, the legacy that we will create. It’s not enough to simply leap into service at any level and kill ourselves to get bigger and bigger jobs done faster and faster because we are driven by fear or some wreckless compulsion to compete. I learned long ago that this doesn’t sustain the learning and growth of teachers or students. It doesn’t sustain ME either.
Establishing a clear vision of the work that I will do and how I will pursue it is as motivating as it is clarifying. It also provides an anchor for me……something to return to and measure my actions against every time I contemplate adding something more to my plate (or someone else’s). Jim Burke reminds us that it’s important to have a vision for the lives we want to live. Our work exists within that larger life, after all. Unless we do that, it’s easy to begin making everything an equal priority, and it isn’t. Some things deserve more of our attention than others, and some steps are better taken first or last rather than at the same time. Jim’s right–this is great insight for young teachers who are just beginning to set those priorities and establish life-long habits. It’s a great reminder for all of us as we begin this new year, too.