Walking a Tightrope: What is Balance?

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This morning I engaged in a conversation about balance. (Full disclosure I was chatting about education on twitter at 5:30 AM so it may create some perspective.) Many educators struggle with the concept of work/life balance. While I reject the notion entirely that work/life balance exists, I got an amusing visual sitting half-awake early this morning: a tightrope walker wobbling back and fourth.

Work/Life balance is a foolish concept. Life balance is where I would prefer to focus the idea. If you love what you do, you will pursue it passionately and it will be an integral part of who you are and what you do. But, that does not mean that you will not find the balance in your own life.

Instead I like to think of that balance like a tightrope walker. Sometimes you are leaning a lot more to one side than the other, but you will always tilt back in the other direction. Ultimately your only real job is to keep moving and to stay on the rope. If you feel yourself sliding too far in one direction, tilt back toward the middle. Whatever you do, just stay on the rope. Don’t judge yourself by how far you are leaning in either direction, instead, celebrate the fact that you are still on the rope!

Commitment to Relfection

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It is time to remind myself of something I have said to other aspiring bloggers, “If you really want to get something out of it, you need to make a commitment.” When I released myself from the commitment to recommit myself to other work, I honestly did not utilize my blog as I should have been. It stopped being a reflection on my experiences and learning and started being a random, as I felt “inspired” shelter for disjointed thoughts.

Ultimately, (yes this is going to be very short because I wrote a longer piece already tonight and my child refuses sleeping) I need to find a realistic commitment. I plan on starting a new 365 starting January 1. I will not write in both my blogs (www.creatingsuperheroes.wordpress.com ) each day, but I will be writing in one of them. I need to get back to that level of commitment that will allow me to get something more valuable from blogging than the satisfaction of cataloging some random educational thought.

Until then I will be trying to write at least once daily, but I will not start the new race until the new year! I look forward to sharing a new journey with you all soon!

The End of One Chapter

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Tomorrow morning I will travel an hour Northwest to Rowan University to meet up with my advisor and cohort members to finalize the details of my Masters of School Administration. I have been doing this program for the past 28 months straight, but quite honestly, it feels like my entire life. When the program started I remember writing my first paper in a hospital room, quietly typing next to my resting wife, and our beautiful sleeping baby girl. For her entire life, I have been both a teacher, and a student.

The idea that this chapter is ending is so foreign that I have trouble wrapping my head around what it will really mean for me. The truth is, other than a little more time to read and write what I want, it changes very little. Instead, I like to think about how I have changed during this time.

I have grown so much as an educator, and a leader. I have seen both great things happen in my school, and some incredibly shocking, saddening things as well. I have made friends that are joining me as the next generation of leaders, and, I have found great mentors to help guide my journey from here.

Ultimately this is just a small chapter in a rather large book. But, as it has been with this blog, I have continued to grow, change, and learn more over time. I look forward to sharing more from my journey with you all, and I greatly appreciate those of you who take the time to read through my reflections, comment, or discuss them with me. Thank you!

Parents- You Belong Here

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I cannot stop thinking about the brief conversation I had with my friend, (parent and army guy) Art La Flamme, and the conversations that followed with some other friends about Parents being at EdCampNJ. There were two (non-educator) parents at EdCampNJ out of 400 people. Gwen Pescatore, is an EdCamp veteran and I was thrilled to get to meet her and talk for a short while. The other was Art. Art, unlike Gwen, is not an active PTA member and leader in his kids’ schools. Art just believes in the importance of education and found himself in twitter chats with teachers thanks to a teacher his daughter had in 3rd Grade (Doug Robertson @theweirdteacher).

Here is why I was so excited to have Art at EdCamp. First- Art is awesome. He is witty and intelligent, but also has tremendous leadership skills as a veteran. More importantly, we as educators need him and more people like him.

We need people to say, YES, THIS IS IMPORTANT! So important that not only do I recognize that you give up a Saturday to learn more about your craft, but that I as a parent will give up my time to come as well. Full disclosure, Art came to EdCampNJ because he knew a lot of people there. But, he also went to EdCampPDX on a trip to Portland. We need parents to come to places like EdCamp, twitter chats, and other places where educators get together and share. We need Parents to come and ground us. To say, “what does this mean for our kids?” Sometimes we get so excited and carried away with great, cool ideas that we lose sight of how and why we are doing it. That is not to say that the ideas are bad, only that convincing a skeptical parent that gives you trust in sharing their child is a much more thought-provoking exercise.

Parents, you belong as real partners in education because lets face it, at the end of the day, we are only borrowing your kids. They are YOUR kids. If we care enough to spend a Saturday talking about what we can do to improve their education, some of you should care that much as well. Your input is important. We need to hear it!