Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Making Friends with Change

Change. Not my favorite word. But it’s a word I had to tackle at the end of this school year, and we aren’t done wrestling yet. My friend and colleague of 27 years retired, my awesome principal took a job elsewhere, we have a new superintendent coming in, and as usual, I had to say goodbye to my students of 10 months. That’s a lot... isn’t it?

Though I crave the freedom of summer: turning off the alarm, traveling, and taking trips to the bathroom whenever I want, my mind still wanders to fall. How will I survive without my steadfast teaching soul mate? What if we get a principal like the soup Nazi on Seinfeld? (“No dress down days for you!”) Will the new superintendent do what’s best for our school system?

Change is about acceptance. No matter how much I worry or complain, nothing will go back to the way it was. Another school year will come and I’ll welcome it with open arms. Yikes! Right now my arms are crossed which means I have a ton of work to do. But maybe change isn’t just about acceptance. Maybe it’s about rejuvenating so you can have the strength to accept the changes. Since acceptance isn’t coming easily for me, I’m going to start with rejuvenation.

First, I’m going to spend as much time as possible in pajamas. Even if I’m doing laundry, paying bills, or cleaning the house, I’m having multiple dress down days at home! (Hey, my next principal might not give us any.)

Next, I’m going to read a book I’ve been saving - THE CREATIVITY PROJECT, edited by Colby Sharp.
It’s about originality, imagination, and sparks of all kinds. It’s written by the authors and illustrators we celebrate in our classrooms. I’m certain it will freshen my mind and inspire dozens of ideas for the 2018-2019 school year.

While I’m reading, I’m going to drink fun drinks like this one.
I’m going to sip slowly, maybe even take an hour per drink to make up for the rushed lunches I normally have. I’m going to go on long walks and use that time to reflect on the luck I’ve had in my teaching career. I’ve been surrounded by kind, hard-working people, and I’ve been lead by some of the best principals. I’m pretty sure I’ve laughed every day. Kids will do that for you.

Finally, I’ll start working on acceptance. The shifts are coming and darn it, I WILL shift too. I WILL open my mind to the thought that maybe luck will continue its presence at school. I WILL brainstorm ways to make my classroom an easy adjustment for my next group of students who will also be facing change. I WILL try my best. I WILL try my best. I MIGHT spike my fun drinks.

Change and I aren’t friends yet. We may never be. But I’m armed with comfy pjs, a book, and a drink. I can do this. I think.

Ann Marie Stephens
Twitter: AMStephens_

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