Needing Balance: We All Have Those Weeks

Thank you Avril Carpenter. I needed this.

We all have those weeks. You know, the weeks where nothing goes right? This week was mine.

This week was the 5th week of school (I teach at a school in Charlotte, North Carolina with a continuous-learning-calendar) and it was a rough one. The school week started off like any other. Teachers were told that we would begin DE Testing – a form of standardized testing – midweek. OK, no biggie. [Side note: I hate standardized testing, but it is a necessary evil (from what I’m told).]

In previous years during DE testing, the school day would be on “pause” in the morning, Tests would take place in each classroom around the school, and once students finished with their Reading or Math tests, the whole school would “unpause” and pick back up with the rest of the day. Well, this year, we tested students in their Reading and Math class blocks. Sounds like a great idea…except it made life extremely harder for the teachers. I won’t go into all the details, but many hours of instruction were unnecessarily missed this week due to testing.

In addition to that, one of my four block classes (that class) decided to start acting up beyond belief this week. They have been a bubbling volcano on the verge of erupting the past couple of weeks of school, and they finally reached their boiling point-of-no-return on Tuesday. [They are one of those groups who are more concerned with tearing each other down than building each other up, not to mention they don’t give one iota of concern about math.] That class, I have determined, is this year’s project.  I need to find a way to turn their attitudes around. However, this week wasn’t going to be the week to do that because I had bigger fish to fry…that’s right, the DE test.

On top of the DE test and that class of kiddos, I received some bad news from a project team that I am working on, had several students’ parents to call to inform them of their students’ failing math grades, had additional unplanned meetings throughout the week, and a half-marathon to train for.

Needless to say, I came home (on several occasions) this week frustrated and tired. I wanted to forget this week was evening happening and just go to bed. I probably should have done that or at least pound out some frustration on the treadmill. Instead, I made dinner, tried to stay awake to get some quality time in with my husband (because I feel guilty if I don’t) and, as a result, got into a heated mini-debate with my husband which left me even more upset and irritated. I went to bed so upset that I was still fuming when I got up the next morning. I began to blame my anger on everything – the ridiculous DE test, that contemptible class, poor scheduling, all of the time-consuming meetings, my husband – instead of looking at myself from the outside.

I stopped to think. Why had I let all these things get to me? Why was I letting it pile on now? And then I thought, what can I do to prevent this from happening again in the future

I quickly figured it out. (Jump down to This Week’s Take-Aways)

I don’t keep a journal or a diary, but I love to blog. Instead of waiting until the weekend, maybe I should have blogged about some of this stuff as it was happening. Maybe I should have skipped a few Twitter chats; or instead of watching TV with my husband, I should have read that book I was dying to finish, or I should have gone to bed so I didn’t start any arguments. Now, looking back, I realize that it is OK to take time for yourself when you need it most. Time alone in order to reflect, calm down, blog it out, etc…it isn’t selfish when you realize that taking care of yourself, in the end, will take care of your relationships with others.

I try to give my all to those who matter most to me all the time. And while I don’t see myself changing in that regard, I need to figure out a way to keep a healthy balance, especially when the tough gets going and the going gets tough. Lately, I have noticed many of my Twitter PLC commenting on a “healthy balance” as they approach the new school year. Keeping work, family and self-health in check is important, and I realized that first-hand this week.

This Week’s Take-Aways

1. Breathe. Not just to keep living, but to enjoy living. If I have learned anything from the year of yoga classes that I have taken, it is that deep breaths keep us focused on the present, which is what living should all be about.

2.  It is OK to say “No.” I have been taught this lesson multiple times in my life. Still haven’t learned it. Saying “no” to someone isn’t a bad thing, it is a necessary thing.

3. “What you allow is what will continue.”  This quote was tweeted by @Inspire_Us this week and I immediately retweeted it, thinking of that class.

4. “Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.”  Another quote tweeted by @Inspire_Us this week that I really needed to get through this week. Every new day brings a new battle, and if you fight every one to the death, you won’t be left standing to win the war.

5. If you marry the right guy, he will support you through the thick and thin. I’m so lucky to have found my husband and I try to express this as much as possible. This was one of the hardest weeks I’ve had in awhile, and he never once complained about my irritability, short-temper, or inability to stay awake past 7 pm. Instead, he baked me banana meringue pudding. Now that is true love.

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