Tuesday, September 4, 2018

What is most important?

I am participating in the
Tuesday Slice of Life with Two Writing Teachers.
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day.
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

My beloved colleague Connie came up to me and said, "I'm going to tell you something that is going to make you mad, and, here's the thing, you can be mad for a minute and then you are going to get over it and we are just going to get it done." I looked at her surprised, wide-eyed, perplexed - and then asked cautiously - "Well, what is it?"

Connie quickly told me what the problem was, and the necessary solution. I'm not sharing what the problem or situation was, because, honestly, it doesn't matter. Teaching days can be filled with problems like this. Suffice to say, it was annoying, and small, not a big deal.

Her preceding words echoed in my head: "...you can be mad for a minute and then you are going to get over it and we are just going to get it done."

I stared at her a moment and then I burst out laughing, amused by Connie's clear-eyed insight about me. I said "Well, let's skip my 'getting mad' part and just get down to it." We laughed together as we worked. And, yes, we got it done.

I want to celebrate Connie's approach with me.

She held a mirror up for me to see myself - and she did so in a caring and amusing way. She made me laugh about my own foibles. She was showing empathy and understanding for my expected frustration with her news, while simultaneously urging me to not get bogged down by my annoyance and, instead, stay focused on the larger goal and complete the task.

It was more important to get past my frustration and anger and to just shine in our work. 

I wonder how long I will carry this wisdom: don't let my anger keep me from doing what matters. Or, maybe I should state it this way: save my anger for that which matters. I know anger is a powerful tool for change...I don't need to squander it on the small stuff.

Stay focused.
Don't get bogged down by what doesn't matter.
Don't get distracted.
Keep on with my purpose.
Be joyful.

Thank you, Connie. Such powerful insight for me at the outset of a new school year!


  1. Seems as though I must learn this lesson often, too. Focusing on who matters helps me get over my anger about things I can't control.

    BTW, hope you had a fabulous summer.

    1. Love that - 'focusing on who matters'...so true! Great to hear from you! Yes, great summer - and hope the same for you!

  2. I love your colleague's approach. My supervisor is like this. She knows me well and she'll just say it like it is. I'm glad you were able to laugh together and get the job done.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful supervisor! Thanks for commenting!

  4. We had a PD day today and part of our work focused on creating relationships of trust among the adults at school and the good effects it will have for students. Your story is a great example.

    1. This is so important - trusting the adults you teach with...it's also great when you simply enjoy being around them!