It’s Gonna Be Alright

Photo by nrd

Remember what it felt like to finally have your own place?

Moving in was exhausting. But it was yours. And it felt good.

I used to love late-night bowls of cereal.

My way.

You open the fridge.

Get the milk.

And leave the door open.

Yup, you left the door open while you poured your bowl of cereal and found a spoon. You eventually closed the door. But it was open much longer than before. And it was okay. Because it was your place. Your electricity. Your bill.

You left the box of cereal on the counter. Didn’t even bother to put it away, let alone close the top back up to keep it fresh. When you finished eating, you put the empty bowl in the sink. And left it there. You didn’t rinse it and you didn’t put it in the dishwasher.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I’m not really sure why this memory decided to appear last week. But it did. And so I believed there was some reason. Something in it. I mean, what does this have to do with education? And why now?

And then it hit me.

Teaching.

Having your own classroom. Is a lot like having your own place.

For the longest time, you were in someone else’s place. And you had to abide by their rules. Do things the way they wanted them done.

But now?

It’s yours.

Your students. Your classroom. Your responsibility.

You are the one calling the shots. Yes, there are certain procedures and guidelines that you must follow. But for the most part. Once you close that door. It’s just you and your students.

Your.

It’s not easy, but then again, you never really expected it to be. You work hard and you’re tired at the end of each day. Each week. Each year.

That part doesn’t bother you. It’s not what keeps you up at night. Not what makes you think about leaving the profession. Trying something different. Maybe a profession that didn’t cause you to worry so damn much. To always wonder, what if?

After a while, these worries add up, accumulate to the point that they begin to take over. And what used to be your passion has suddenly become your job. You read books, watch videos and hear speakers talk about passion and you want to feel the same way. But you don’t.

And you wonder why. What happened?

You began to worry about leaving the refrigerator door open. Not closing up the cereal box. And leaving your bowl in the sink.

But don’t you remember?

It was alright.

Keeping the door open didn’t run up your electric bill. In fact, you realized it was easier to get around your kitchen in the dark with the door open. You always went back and closed it.

Not closing the box of cereal and leaving it on the counter didn’t change a thing. Some nights you put it away and some nights you didn’t. Either way, the cereal still tasted the same and it never went bad.

And placing your bowl in the sink instead of rinsing it and putting it in the dishwater, never really mattered. You always got to it.

It’s time we remember what it was like back when we first got our own place. We didn’t worry as much. We worked hard. But little sh&# didn’t bother us as much. So, why does it bother us, consume us so much now?

I think it’s because we have forgotten what it felt like to eat that bowl of cereal in our own place. There was nothing like it. It was fun, it was peaceful and it was delicious. We did it all the time. Until one day we didn’t.

It’s time to return to the way things used to be.

To worry, less.

We must remember.

The bowl always got cleaned.

The cereal was put away.

And the electric bill was never a problem.

So go ahead.

Leave the refrigerator door open.

It’s gonna be alright.

2 Comments »

  1. Jon,
    I needed to hear this today. In a big way! I just had my Annual Evaluation. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t even good. How does an experienced teacher who earned National Board Certification and a Doctorate in Education grapple with being rated unfairly? It’s a tough line to walk between providing data to support an informed evaluation, and appearing defensive. I love teaching kids! I found the best job in the world when I walked into the gifted classroom! I’m trying to remember that feeling, doing things my way, not sweating the small stuff… I’m going to try my best not to let it get me down, to keep that awesome “I got this” feeling inside. It’s hard though, really hard! Trying to remember who I really work for– the kids, and I’m getting it right with them!

    Thanks for the encouragement, the positive messages, and for putting the real stuff out there!

    • Karen I can’t tell you how much your comment meant to me. It actually inspired me and helped me solidify what my next project will be about. Please feel free to reach out via voxer or email.

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