Some days I love love love what I do.
Some days I don’t know what on Earth there is to love about what I do…Ok, maybe I take that back, because there are always the hugs that I get from my big and little kids and those make you love love love what you do (even if it’s only for the duration of the hug).
I’ve been having a lot of those what am I doing, this is far from a sane, emotionally-healthy profession, but more like a wild and crazy ride towards mania career days recently.
Some days you get no work done, but spend every waking minute listening to parents tell you what they want and need for “their” children with total disregard for what “you” offer, advocate and deliver. Didn’t you do your due diligence? How can you seriously not know about the programme “you” enrolled your child in? Like seriously?! And yes, we shared that bit of our information already in the class or in the WhatsApp chat.
Some days you stop at nothing to remind teachers of our mandate: FUNdamental and yes of course, FUN experiences for our children (not our parents, but remember to communicate with them, and do your professional development, write your plans; ask me and the team questions and rock it like rockstars). How often can I possibly send reminders of the same tasks? Something must be wrong with their brains.
Some days you get bombarded by what happens at home or in some cases, doesn’t happen at home. Oh Lord. That’s always harder than the biting, fighting, spitting, scratching, hitting, being mean, saying very unkind and even naughty things. Then in between that you’re still making sure skills in reading, writing, thinking, creativity, numeracy and the whole string of academic and non-academic areas are not just developed but heightened.
There have been tears, expressions of frustrations, exhaustion, uncertainty and numerous big and bold question signs in the last few months making this undoubtedly my toughest school year EVER.
And FYI I’ve been teaching since I was 16. And yes, I had one of the toughest old school with new ideas bosses from the UK who I secretly and now subconsciously emulate and I survived, learned from and grew under her and from her leadership. Parents who know me from Hillel, know who my idol is?😉
What the craziness has felt like is probably best described as a deep desire to disconnect, reconnect and then start all over again. After all when I started my company I wanted to only do after school programmes; then came a bilingual preschool (actually 2), followed by expansion to PreK then K then now primary programmes and yes after school stuff still and activities and events and what seems like everything else for children up to age 18 years. But then, who has to time to start over; and what would that mean anyway? There’s no time for that.
I have business mentors, I have mentors in education and yes I even have a workout group who pushes me to meet these challenges by testing my physical and no doubt mental limits with these rides, runs and swims. So my support system rocks and I am grateful but it still doesn’t close the void you feel when parents need to meet with you and bring their friends to share their “concerns,” when teachers “feel sick” and don’t come to work, when children want to tell you something really really important and you have to address everything as it comes to you.
Towards the end of April, I stumbled across an online course for school leaders. I’ve seen it advertised many times before but didn’t think it was for me really. But I know I needed something to help me change the way things were unravelling but more importantly how I felt about all these things. Gosh I desperately wanted to see the beauty in the breakdown.
And that I did. It took a few weeks and as I learnt new things I put them to the test. I acted on everything. And I tuned out the attitude, drama and frequent chaos around me and zoomed in on this course. OMG I felt renewed, I felt empowered. Maybe the excitement I was feeling and sharing with my crew had a domino effect on my emotions. Whatever it was, I felt like my magic was returning to me. As if this wasn’t enough, I saw a Professional Learning Institute advertised in Texas that I had been thinking about attending and again I bit the bullet. A double whammy! And what an amazingly fulfilling experience I had!
This was exactly what I was searching for: a trip alone, to refocus and to think of nothing else other than Fundaciones (and of course food and a little more food).
Emotional intelligence, intentional & instructional leadership, inclusive environments, critical thinking and creativity, educational marketing, employee relations & transitioning from high quality early childhood to meaningful primary programmes were some of my areas of focus. The connections with new and old colleagues were priceless and to say I learnt a lot is an understatement.
Laden with books, materials and contacts I’m back home and have finished hiring the entire team for one location and still have more to hire for the others. Although we’ve fleshed out our plan for the 2018 – 2019 school year my days are still long and there still seems to be a lot of things happening to demand my attention simultaneously. But, I tell you something, my magic is certainly back: ideas are flowing, the energy is there and I don’t feel any remorse about the way things have played out. I think everything happens for a reason and I am grateful to have purged.
No longer searching for the thrill of it, but in awe (again) of what’s in front of me.