buzz

(day 18)

I have 2 meetings today. Well, I’m still in this phase of my career where basically anything that’s not teaching, and involves other adults, is a meeting to me. I’m out all afternoon going over the next reading unit with the other teachers in the district. Then after work is our usual Monday staff meeting for an hour to prepare for the big standardized test thing we’re doing right after next week’s Spring Break.

 

See, both of these meetings have topics that I understand are important. Like, for real. Most meetings do. Many meetings do. Some of the meetings we have to go to have important reasons behind them and a portion of those are even conducted as such. I’m getting there. I remember in my first year I was horrendous at remembering meetings or being present for them mentally. Or even back to my first, first year where I was a long term sub basically at all of my appointments and had to go to meetings for things like the next year, which I was already notified I wouldn’t be a part of. I’m sorry, but, lame.

 

I think coming out of school and into the field there was just so much I’d recently ingested academically and so many new shiny lights and sharp sticks blinding and prodding at me as I waded into the scary waters of a new career. I walked from student teaching to a year of subbing and into three long term assignments followed by finally getting my classroom, the one I’m in now. Preceding that was many years of stay at home dadding. And coaching multiple teams over multiple years. Lots of run ins with parents. Hours of different kid-attitudes and problems logged, catalogued, and dealt with. I walked into this room knowing I could plan for and command it. In here, with my plans and my kids I have never been nervous or otherwise not confident. In the performative part. You know, teaching.

 

I bring up how people say they hate bees all the time and it not being the case. Very rarely do they actually hate bees. They are scared of bees and they want to lace that sentiment with as much stank as they can so they absentmindedly say they hate all the bees. Me not being exactly pumped about many of the facets of this job that are not actually teaching is me hating bees. I know this. I’m smarter than my students. The people in these meetings? Not so much.

 

Teaching is more than just the teaching. I know that. The meetings and professional development and extra reading and intervention check ins and seminars and data review and workshops and collab time and contract whatever and problem solving and union jibber jabber and curriculum planning. All of it. Important. I know. And not separate from, but a major part of, teaching: the job. I know. I do.

 

I say things like “I don’t really care about data, I know a bunch of teachers go gray thinking about it, but my philosophy is that if you have proof that I’m doing poorly I don’t deserve a job and should be replaced. I believe in what I do and until I’m told otherwise, that’s what I’m doing.” I say that and I mean that in the dopiest, most childish way. Like, I’ve said it probably 5 times just this year. Hating bees. I mean, most of it is really true, but it also smacks of me putting down all the teachers who live and die for their data and I really don’t need to be doing that, nor is it my intent at all.

 

Those educators who yield the wisdom to parse data in ways that help them become better are wizards. Those are the bee keepers with the fencing-type meshy hats and bee beards. They befriend the scary and make it dance for them. They crush meetings and hold court at PD. They’re more evolved than I am. They are better than me and much smarter. I know this. Another thing I often say and believe is that any teacher who has done this for 5 minutes more than I have is 5 minutes better than I am. I vampire sponge off of these veterans I am lucky enough to be amongst daily. I just need to admit that while I am no longer simply flailing my arms and legs and bobbing my head up just enough to break the water’s surface and gasp for *almost* enough air to make it through the next submergence, I am currently just treading water using a rudimentary doggie paddle left behind long ago by these graceful free swimmers who deftly dart through our landscaped waves with aerodynamics I can’t even comprehend, leaving behind them the calmest of wakes that barely even exist.

 

I don’t know that I’ll ever like meetings, or any other part of the job, as much as I do being in a classroom, just me and my kids. I love that part. With all my heart. So I guess it’s an unfair competition anyways. Every year I add to my toolbox. My utility belt. I got better at remembering and preparing for meetings a couple years ago. I still need work but I’m miles better than I was. Data may be like a year 5 thing. Maybe 6. I know I just need to respect what intimidates me and it won’t sting me. I am working on it.  

5 thoughts on “buzz

  1. one of the best (and worst) parts of being a teacher is that we are naturally reflective. This usually translates to being hard on ourselves. The bee analogy is well thought out- but as it regards to you, I think you’re more bee-friendly than you give yourself credit for. You are an excellent teacher & your willingness to look at the whole child rather than just the numbers they produce is a mark of that excellence. Good luck at your meetings!

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  2. A huge part of my time as a student teacher focuses on being reflective and inquiring into my own practices. A lot of hard work, and I like to think it might possibly pay off one day.

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  3. Love the analogy. I’m with you on the data and the meetings. Just put me with kids. That’s my sweet spot as a teacher, where I reap the honey.

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