This year to date has been time challenging for several reasons. Not only am I continuing in my coordination role to facilitate improved classroom practice across the school, I have taken on the leadership of the Unit for students with disabilities, accepted a teaching opportunity at Flinders University in semester 1 and teach in the classroom 14 lessons a week. This has placed pressure on my time, sleep practices and mental health! No regrets though, quite the opposite. I have in a short period of time learnt a great deal about my skills to manage my time, set priorities and further understood how hard it is for me to step back, release control and let others shine.
I truly believe that the things we value most, we need to prioritise, whether that be at work or at home. I have previously written about how “Action Expresses Priorities”. When I make a commitment, I’m good at sticking to it. At times this can mean I stick to things that really I should let go. I read books to the end because I feel a sense of guilt if I don’t complete it (unfortunately a “friend” gifted me a copy of Eat Pray Love and I dragged myself through until the end – agony) I’ve never walked out on a movie, or left at breaks in seminars when others are leaving by the droves.
I make commitments, I say them out loud to myself and I stick to it, even the little things. I made a commitment to write a comment on 7 student blogs per week via #comment4kids because I know that 1 or 2 sentences from me can have an impact, encouraging students to write more. Confession – sometimes I find myself on a Sunday night finding 7 blogs in a hurry, but it really only takes me 15-20 mins and I think that it a valuable use of that time.
I prioritise my exercise because I know it makes a difference. I work full-time and have two amazing kids. Going to the gym or a run at night is difficult because it is dinner and homework and getting ready for the next day, but I know I have to include it, so I get up at 530am every weekday and head off to the gym for an hour.
At work, I am able to prioritise actions by asking “why” and “how” …. a lot! I ask this of myself and I ask this from my colleagues. We can easily get swept up in a new idea, a new technology, a new activity, or revert to old habits and comfortable strategies, but I always ask:
“why” should we do this?
“how” will it improve experiences and understanding for our students?
If we can justify that it is worthwhile, then we need to make it happen.
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
So for me, setting priorities has never really been a difficulty. It is when it comes to letting something else go so it is not just an “add on” that I find the greatest difficulty.
My problem is, I want to be involved in EVERYTHING, I want to know what is going on, where it is going on and how I can be involved. I know this means at times I spread myself so thin that I cannot possibly do all these things to the standard I expect of myself thus it leaves me working an unreasonable time outside of school. What I am learning gradually is to let go and allow others to develop and lead around me. It stills leaves me feeling anxious when I hand something over, but I know that the greatest outcome of my leadership should be that I am no longer relied upon.
“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
― Ann Landers