Monday Musings: You Can’t Do It All – Prioritize

Since I have been home from work, I have taken two naps.  It is really hard to take one long nap when you have two seven-year-olds running around your house.  It is almost the halfway point in the school year for my newest role in education.  I’ll get the number one question I have been asked out of the way.  Do you like your job? Yes, I love it, and I have no plans to interview this summer.  That doesn’t mean I won’t update my resume.  I read over it each month, but I have no intentions of completing any job applications.

The second question I have been asked is, “How is it going?” Truthfully, it has been time-consuming.  Luckily, I worked in Wayne Township for five years, four years ago. I know the Wayne way.  Teaching students K-6 short lessons is easy.  I have a big space, but I own it. Students know I’m not the one for foolishness.  The hard part is accepting a job when one of the previous people in my role passed away from cancer.  This media specialist was last at my school two school years ago.  Students loved her, and they miss her.  Some even talk to me about her.  I didn’t know her.  I just listen and try to support them the best I can.  When I walk around my space and look at the books, I can see a bit of who she was.  The person that replaced her last year, in my opinion, did not know what she was doing.  This is why my job has been time-consuming.

I have spent almost every day trying to fix her mistakes, such as the same book being labeled in multiple ways.  I looked up one book in the system, and it was labeled four different ways.  This means finding all of those books, changing the information in the system, and changing the labels on those books. The person relabeled books that were already labeled correctly by the media specialist who passed away.  She stuck incorrect labels over the correct labels.  I’ve also been fixing that.  It’s a good day when I can peel off the incorrect label without ripping the correct one.  The worse is the books that have the same barcode.  Students will scan a book and see another book appear on the screen.  I could go on, but I think you get the point.  My priority has been to fix these egregious errors.  I have also been evaluating each shelf for diversity and working with my principal to make sure I’m not too hasty in weeding out books I feel are antiquated, culturally insensitive, or boring for the diverse population my school serves.

So, when I heard we were going to do an equity scavenger hunt to see if we had culturally responsive environments, I got stressed.  When I accepted this job, I laid out of a vision of every problem I wanted to fix and how I would transform the space.  Getting decorations on the wall for diversity was not at the top of my list due to the other issues.  A diverse poster doesn’t mean anything without a diverse curriculum, and I know I am implementing diverse curriculum. I wanted to be intentional about decorating and have those elements well-thought out not slapped on the wall minutes before my colleagues walked around to check off boxes on a rubric. Honestly, if anyone gave me a three or a four, they were just being nice.  I don’t deserve any.

I hate to be seen not at the top of my game.  I have been teaching for over a decade, and I have learned that we can’t overwork ourselves over every little aspect of this job.  I know once I get it all together, it is going to be the bomb.  I know that I know how to appropriately set up a culturally responsive space.  I have helped teachers do that for the last three school years including help rip to shreds classroom libraries in majority-minority schools that screamed whiteness.  In my feedback to my colleagues today after school during the equity scavenger hunt, I did what I do.  I was direct, to the point, and signed my name.  I hope people did the same and left me some tangible ideas I could implement into my plan for the media center.

We get so stressed out in school over every little area.  It is okay to not be at the top of your game at every single moment, as long as you have a plan to fix and address the area you are subpar in at the moment.

Now, I’m off to bed…maybe Twitter…then bed. Ha! Good night!

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