Sunday, April 14, 2013
Sisyphus was "condemned to an eternity at hard labor. And frustrating labor at that. For his assignment was to roll a great boulder to the top of a hill. Only every time Sisyphus, by the greatest of exertion and toil, attained the summit, the darn thing rolled back down again." You can read the whole tale here: http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/e
Sometimes I think that this is my fate. Somewhere along the line, I did something terrible and this is my punishment. I know though, that really, it's all in my head and that I'm the only one who can control any of this.
Work has been...work. I'm pleased with my kids' progress for the most part, and though my hours are still long, I feel, for the most part, that the time is well spent.
My relationship with my colleagues is suffering though. Earlier this year, one counseled another (newer teacher) to "Not become" me....meaning taking my work so seriously that there isn't room for anything else. Last week during a team meeting, we were talking about how we need to get on the same page about what data we are tracking and how we are tracking it, how we assess and how often. I noted that there are lots of things our new grading and data tracking system can do to help us with that. Others noted that not everyone is using the system correctly, if at all, and that we need to build in some accountability there for next year. We tossed around the idea of working this summer to design PD around these needs, and someone I really respect said that unlike the majority, I have no life, and I don't get that others don't DO the things I do because they don't WANT to--it's not important to them...and I simply can't relate.
And she didn't lie.
I can't relate. I get irritated when the colleagues with kids (and a couple of those without) come in late, don't follow through, take extra time off, don't show up to our students' events, don't do their part to make things run smoothly. I am one of four who don't have kids... So no, I can't relate. I see the things we are asked to do like before and after school meetings, data discussions and tracking, chaperoning of events, plan time meetings with one another, school-wide events, summertime planning for the next year...all of that is just part of our job. When someone doesn't do that stuff because "they have kids, and shouldn't have to do those things," they are essentially opting OUT of their job in my view. I get annoyed when they choose not to participate and then complain when "they aren't being consulted or included." I can't consult or include you if you don't show up to the discussion!!
Here's an example. Friday night our grade level put on a performance, once in the afternoon for the school and anyone else who wanted to come, and then again that evening. Instead of watching the performance and supporting our kids, one colleague holed up in her classroom. I'd heard that she wasn't planning to come to the evening performance, and she finally mentioned it to me as she flew out the door shortly after dismissal. That night, the remaining two of us had to field questions about why she wasn't there, and give her apologies. I am annoyed because she's known since FEBRUARY when this performance was. She chose to take a weekend trip to the mountains instead....planned three days before. She was never intending to come though--others had mentioned it weeks ago.
It looked bad to our parents, our board, our community as a whole, that one of the three of us wasn't there to support our students. But more importantly, her KIDS were upset by it. They were sad their teacher wasn't there. They were vocal about it. I had to answer questions like "How come you always come to these events, but she never does?" It broke my heart and I didn't know how to respond in a way that didn't paint her in a bad light....so I skirted the question and minimized why *I* choose to come.
When my respected colleague said that I have no life, she's right there too. I got to work and I come home. I don't go out of town unless it's school related--where would I get the money? I rarely participate in local events anymore because I feel that there isn't time and there are more important things to do. Brad and I rarely get out, even though he lives less than a mile from me because the demands on him with his business don't allow it--he's trying to stay afloat with 3 shops, one of which can be very good once it gets going. We talk online, and both of us are working... Could we do this in the same house? Sure we could...but so far it hasn't happened--there are a ton of other issues/factors in the way to allow it. So I wait. I posted about waiting a while back...I spent a lot of time waiting. I'm afraid to get involved in anything for fear that I will miss something...but really, I'm missing everything.
I watched a short video the other day, when we had a snow day and I spent 90% of it working to get caught up on the things I'd brought home, about a "new and improved" way to look at weight loss. The first thing the girl said was that often, we are so focused on tracking food and fitness, that there isn't any room for the important things...fun and enjoying life. We think we're "taking care of ourselves." In reality though, we are just setting ourselves up for failure again--when we do fail, even going so far as to eat a whole bag of something we know is bad for us, it's a deal breaker and we see that yet again, we have failed ourselves...and it just goes to hell from there.
I read blogs here, and while there are some who seem to enjoy this process--working out, tracking food, competing against themselves to continually see improvement, there are many of us who stumble and fall, and eat a bag of dove chocolates before we get up again.
And that is where I am right now. I'm the girl in the corner, surrounded by candy wrappers and an empty bag, wondering what I am going to do next...in any part of my life. I'm sad. I'm frustrated. I'm angry. Do I go the route of Sisyphus and start rolling the rock back up the hill? Or do I try something different. What does different look like? I'm not sure.