Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Priority Check

Today has been sort of up and down for me in terms of things that happened at work with some of my favorite students. In short they were disappointed and refused to cover after school events for the yearbook. Now, I don't think I've asked for too much in terms of their time commitment to the class and the publication. However, I'm on a deadline. THE deadline. All I needed was for them to split up the sporting events we had this week and take photos.

But no. They thought the meeting was about signing up for shifts for Spring photos, an opportunity to miss their regular classes. Many of them walked out saying "I'm not doing that" when they found out the sign up sheet was for soccer, softball, baseball, track...you get the idea.

And it annoyed me; I won't lie. I was disappointed in a group that had worked so hard in the earlier part of the year. On the bright side, I had some members of my staff sign up for some of the events and I was able to go ahead and recruit kids who are on next year's staff to start working. Thank goodness I had a backup plan.

What I'm getting to is this: as a teacher, I find myself in a position where my class, club, yearbook, etc. is an option and not a priority. Right now there are a lot of things going on after school: sports, clubs, extra band rehearsals, etc. I'm tired of hearing "can I go to.." or "I need to see" or "I can't; I have..." instead of "yes, I'll reschedule" or "yes, I can spare 10 minutes" or "yes, it (that other thing, whatever it is) can wait."

I want to be a priority. I want my class to be a priority. I want the work I assign to be a priority, but it seems that it's the first thing to get blown off...
until it's time to look at grades, that is.

I used to feel that way in my personal life, too. This whole "well if no one else can go, we'll ask her" thing was pure torment before I was married. Afterward, I did a bit of revaluation, built new relationships and all is well. I learned a lot about myself at that time: if you aren't willing to make yourself a priority, why should anyone else? My husband makes me his priority. My family makes me a priority. I make myself a priority by taking care of my self both physically and mentally...at least most of the time ;)

So in short I'm kind of ranting because I want to be important (outside of my head, that is), and I want to feel like what I'm doing day in and day out matters just as much as what the teacher across the hall does or what the coaches do. Is that really too much to ask?

There's a saying that I hear fairly often, and have used when giving advice:
Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option
And I think that statement is spot on for what I'm thinking about today. I don't want to be most important or the best; I just want to matter. And this is not about my ego; it's about the work I put in to engage my students, to assign things they will enjoy and learn from as a result. It's nothing personal; I know.

I just want people to check their priorities.


Stephanie McCabe said...

I really think all of us are too blasted tired to think straight. Or we can blame all this on "SUPERMOON"!

Whatever the reason, though, I'm with you one hundred percent. And I think you eloquently captured your frustrations with out-of-order priorities. I know you'll get in-sync with the kiddos and turn in a fantabulous yearbook. (I have to say again that Yearbook should be an all-year class. It shouldn't be a one-person operation!)

Lindsey Lea said...

Thanks!! You always have the right pick-me-up at hand :)