I finally feel inspired to write today, though it isn’t that I haven’t felt the desire; it is just that I seem to be on a continual racetrack, not just a normal race for speed or distance, but an actual hurdle race with continual hurdles popping up at unexpected times just when I think I can settle into a nice, steady walking pace. I am counting my steps each day but my pedometer has no setting for the endless hurdles that cause me to miss steps as I leap to avoid knocking down a hurdle or end up splayed on the ground. I have long legs and a stubborn will, so it would seem that I could leap effortlessly, but the spacing of the hurdles thwarts my stamina.
The latest hurdles seem to involve bureaucracies and the many workers in them who have no idea of either how to help or the correct answer to any question not included in the prepared script they are given to read from. What ever happened to personal attention, workers who really understood their job, and those good-hearted souls who really had a desire to help people? When did automatic, prepared answers take the place of people willing to help, investigate, ask someone else or take it upon themselves to take a task to completion? Now the person on the other end of the phone will only provide a first name and employee identification, the same person never answers the phone twice and no one is really held accountable.
My job as a teacher operates in another universe it seems, for I am given the responsibility of caring for and educating twenty-four 5-year-olds for a ten-month school year, six hours everyday, teaching them all that is required by and spelled out in the State and District Standards. If these students do not learn, I am held accountable. Did I teach them? Yes, but it is also my responsibility to make sure they actually learn and retain the information, get extra help if needed,communicate with parents to strengthen the connection between home and school, consider their self-esteem, and enjoy the learning process so much that they become “life-long learners.” I am accountable for all of this and everyone knows where to find me. They know my first and last name and where I spend each day and I have a principal who directly supervises me and assures the clients/customers (the parent and students) that I will do my job and they can count on results and the most important thing is, I really care about my job and I want to do the best job I can. I want to expect the same from others.
If I focus on the road ahead and watch for the hurdles, it is easier to see them coming, but there are other things in life besides staring down at the long road in front of you and if I take pause to look around and notice what others are facing, forgetting about my own hurdles for a while, when they pop up, I am surprised again. That is the challenge: handling the surprises and it is also the exhaustion. I was told yesterday to look at life a different way and to say “yes and” instead of “if only.” The “yes and” is a way to stay in the moment and move forward, accepting the present but preparing for upcoming hurdles.
I have long legs and a stubborn will.