My father pointed out to me today, that this will be blog number 200. First, I was pretty impressed that he remembered that, and second, I was kind of surprised that I got to 200 somehow. On the other hand, my older sister would say she wasn't surprised at all --- I'm always talking.
I was working on my homework for my class tonight, and believe it or not -- we have to write a blog. True story. Each week, I have to write a blog or two for my class. "Are you familiar with blogging websites?" my professor asked the class the first day. Um, yeah. Pretty much.
As you know, I was pretty nervous about working on my Master's degree, and truth be told, I still am, but at least this one tiny piece of it is familiar. I can create a blog. This much I can do. I always feel better when there is something familiar.
Early in my teaching career, I spent a couple of summers working for a very small company that created a categorizational system for school libraries. They would send me to schools to input their system, which is how I ended up spending a summer in Dallas. The whole time I was there I couldn't get oriented. I was always turned around or felt disoriented, and I realized that I had learn to navigate by the mountains. Dallas offered me no such stable landmark. The endless flatness of it threw me completely off-balance, and I relied heavily on my Texas friends to get me places.
The world of teaching has been that way for me too; endless changes that leave me slightly off-kilter. I have taught every single grade between 2nd and 12th. I spent seven years teaching second grade, and then taught a 3rd/4th combo, a 4th/5th combo, and then 4th grade for a couple of years. I then went on to teach 6th grade math, and 7th/8th grade English. I then spent another seven years teaching freshman English, as well as sections of drama and speech and debate, and one section of junior English. I never knew what was coming next, except that I was up to it. "Whatever you need." I told my principal each year. The first year of change had been overwhelmingly challenging at times, but it also gave me a fresh and new approach to teaching; it forced me to hone my craft. Every year after that it got easier and easier -- well, not easier really, but the challenge felt less threatening.
The public school system might be in for some pretty interesting days, and who knows how everything will play out. Shifts in leadership means changes for those of us on the front lines, and change is never comfortable. It can be disorienting and confusing, but it can also force you to strengthen skills that have been atrophying from lack of use.
It is funny. I used to fight change tooth and nail. I'd dig in my heels and try to stop the ocean waves from rolling to the shore. It used to keep my up at night, "But what is going to happen?" I would ask the Husband, startling him from peaceful sleep. "And how can you be asleep right now?"
"Whatever happens isn't happening right now." He has told me a million times. "And right now, I'm sleepy. So I'm going to sleep." He is pretty practical that way. And it is true. I can't really do anything about the things I can't do anything about. There are so many, many, many things that are beyond my control, and the hard truth is that all the things that I think are in my control, aren't really either.
I don't mean to imply that I am not an active participant in my life. I mean, you know me, I've got opinions on EVERYTHING and am a big fan of ACTION. I will fight for the things that I know are true and right, and especially when the well-being, support and benefit of kids are involved. Yet, I also accept that sometimes things go differently than I would expect. Anxiety, stress and constant turmoil over this fact, does me no good. I am trying, not as successfully as I would like, to be a surfer, who rides atop the waves of change with grace. Sometimes, I am successful and sometimes I wipe out. Either the sun is going to rise tomorrow. It always does.