Swirl

There’s a place on a river where the water swirls around and around as if it were caught on something. Sometimes it’s near rocks or boulders; sometimes it’s along the bank. Eons ago when I would go fishing, I often tried to cast there, or near it, because in my mind, the fish would try to be somewhere that seemed (and might be a bit) uncomfortable so that they would have a lesser chance of being eaten. I imagined that they stayed in that swirl to be continually moving without ever actually moving, comfortable yet uncomfortable at the same time.

Spring break is in its waning hours (I’m aware that it’s barely noon, thank you…) and I find myself in that swirl on the river again. Going from one task to another, twelve tabs open, with no definitive goal except to not get eaten by the tasks in the tabs that I realize now I should have been working on over the last 8 days instead of all the things on Sunday. I have had something that resembles breakfast, and am on my second cup of tea (excellent Christmas gifts, tbh). I’ve started a load of laundry and made some progress on house blessing, though even Flylady would call it half-assed.

“Have some tea, Fool!”

This time in the school year is when educators are said to have “feet in different worlds” while they reflect on this school year, working to make it to the finish through state testing and end-of-year events, and plan to improve all the things for next year. It’s not a linear time at all. We swirl from one task to the next, circling around until we find something to settle upon for a few minutes until the next interruption. This was brought up in a group I’m in–that idea of productivity as an administrator. I think we cast our lines, over and over again to hook the thing that might help us make a dent in the ever-growing to-do list.

“If I can just get one thing finished today…”

It’s neverending, the things that we are caught by, each being important on some level to someone. Our own agendas and to-do list being set aside over and over for a task or project that needs doing.

Spring Break was a time to reset, get to calmer waters for a while. While I did reset a little bit, I found myself back in the swirl often, wondering what I ought to be doing, what I missed, what I should be on top of that I’ve forgotten… Circling back amongst everything from buying toilet paper (a quarter of a roll is not going to last until payday) to sobbing through episodes of Netflix drama suggested by a friend who said I need a good cry (I do) to dog park trips and other excuses to be anywhere but home because there are plenty of things that need doing there…

A friend noted a while ago that she doesn’t have a good in-between switch for breaks like this. She’s either on and multitasking all the things or off completely, and embracing the idea of actual “rest” is difficult. I struggle with the same thing, though the guilt around “off” is greater with me.

I wonder if this is just a gifted trait or an administrator trait leftover from classroom teacher life when downtime was difficult because ideas came from tiny, unexpected places or if it’s a mixture of both, bringing multipotentiality into the swirl.

What would I like my work life to be like is a loaded question and one that crops up every year at this time–feet in two worlds, you see.

I’d like for my work life to be calm but not boring. I don’t like embracing frantic and last minute rush is not my jam. I’d like to be challenged intellectually with things to figure out, but not challenged for control of things that I know damn well are best practice and professional. I’d like flexibility in my work (place, schedule) but still have a routine and be able to support others in their own growth. I’d like to be respected for the knowledge I have gained yet not held to an impossible standard when I can’t fix everything before it went to hell. I’d like to be with others who are continually growing, willing to learn and change. I’d like to be in a role that lets me play with ideas, try new things, but with honest, reflective feedback and not less-than-helpful criticism because my trying something new made someone else uncomfortable.

I would like to be with people who get it…who understand at their core that gifted is who we are, not what we produce, yet strive to honor the need for both accountability and professionalism, embracing creativity and reflection, collaboration, personal responsibility, and willingness to see other perspectives. I want to help create a “think tank” that is willing to try and fail, learn from mistakes, all while keeping what is best for kids at the crux of it everything.

I would like to create and be part of somewhere I don’t have to hide in the swirl for fear of being consumed by the judgment of others, trapping me beneath the water.

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