Saturday, December 8, 2007

Irons in the Fire

I was asked a couple of days ago if I needed another iron. "What?" I responded, completely confused. "Do you need another iron in your fire?" the person clarified.

"Oh" realizing what was meant, "I do...what do you need me to do?" I asked with all seriousness and genuine concern.

Except...that wasn't what was meant. "No. I'm not asking you to do something for me, I'm asking if you think you need another iron in your fire b/c you have so many already."

Hmmm. The conversation ended and I left. Completely feeling like crap.

I spend every moment I have at work...with my colleagues, with my students, with my friends....trying to be a positive example and trying to get them to "push" themselves to be better at what they do and to do greater things. I never tell a student...you can't do this. I never tell a student...you have too many things going on. I never tell a teacher...you can't further your education and continue to be a good teacher and wife/husband/mother/father. I never tell a friend...you spend way too much time at church. I never tell a mom...you've got way too many freaking kids.

I simply do not believe in the philosophy that if you are involved in a lot, you cannot be great at everything you are involved in. I think some personalities thrive on this and I am most definitely one of them. I get my energy, my soul food, and my love for living life by being involved...and coincidentally...I am a human BEING.

Why is it that some in society insist that because I choose to take on responsibilities to help teachers be better teachers, and that I make myself available to my students and former students to tutor, advise, recommend, and assist them with whatever I can, and that I seek ways in my job to make myself a better teacher OUTSIDE of my 8-3 work day, and that I find ways on the weekends to visit friends and family and catch up on their lives that I have too many irons in my fire?

My apologies. I don't chase around teenagers picking them up from basketball practice and dance lessons. I don't do laundry for my animals. I don't make dinner for my husband. I don't plan weekly schedules for five other people. I am me. This is what I do. I grade papers and make lengthy comments. I get text messages asking about homework. I get to school to see students waiting at the door for help. I take time from one class to help one student needing an answer "right then." I conference with my students. I have conversations with them individually about their writing and their research. I talk to teachers. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I know when they come to my room totally spent, I want to have a great lesson plan they can take, a good book to read, or a cup of coffee to drink. I welcome phone calls and e-mails.

I could not function as a human being if I were not BEING the servant I was called to be every moment of my life.

2 comments:

Janet said...

Amen! Amen! Amen!

Why is it that society expects people to conform to the standards and expectations of the norm? I haven't had to deal with those comments in a while, but I *have* dealt with them...many times.

My frustration lies in the conformity of thinking that people have to be married with children in order to have a "complete" life! Do I want that one day? Sure. But I also realize the world needs people like me...people who are single, who love and are passionate about taking the time to work with and nurture numerous kids as the enter college, who need help with banking questions, or who want help understanding this or that. Maybe if we had more people who didn't have their own kids to take from place to place and husbands/wives to nurture, maybe more people would be more outwardly focused and take the time to help those around them.

...and maybe they'd realize that our irons are just fine. The extra iron we *don't* need is the one where we have to deal with comments that are discouraging and conformist.

Lindsey said...

You listen. You care. You try to attend "survivor" dinners when possible. : ) You go above and beyond. And those things do in fact make you, YOU. And we wouldn't have it any other way. : )