Why I'm okay with being mediocre this year

Three years ago I spent some of my free time creeping on teacher acquaintances CV's on the inter-webs drooling over their publications, their awards, their conference presentations...many of these were teachers under the age of 30. In addition to feeling like a stalker, I felt unaccomplished. I wanted an impressive resume like these folks. So I read, researched, wrote proposals, presented at conferences, drafted articles (that have never been sent), and networked like crazy in hopes of someday making it big in education...whatever the hell that means. The truth is, I really love that nerdy stuff, so it was easy to immerse myself.  But my ultimate goal was to have a kick-ass resume, to be the best teacher western Nebraska had ever seen. I about killed myself striving for this; I quickly reached that burn-out phase by my last year in Ogallala and hoped a change of venue would give me a pick-me-up. Turns out, it made things worse. Last April I resigned from my post in Gretna and vowed to take a year off to give myself time to breathe. Yet, I find myself in a classroom again. This year is different, though. Instead of striving for perfection, I'm skating by on mediocrity...or that's what it feels like anyway.

With a four year old, I don't have time to lesson plan, grade, reflect, research, call every parent, keep my house clean, run, eat well, etc. etc. Life is so much busier now...I simply can't do all that I did three years ago. I think the real reason I wanted a year off while we acclimated to parenthood is that I was afraid of not being "the best." I have always been a motivated little booger especially with things I love, so settling for less than the best is a difficult concept for me to grasp. But I'm learning to realize that the adjective "best" is relative. While I may not be the best teacher this year, I'm working hard to be the best mom for our new son, the kind of mom he needs right now; I'm striving to be the best wife for my husband--a supportive and consistent partner who has a firm foundation on Christ. These roles are my priority now; they take time away from my job, but I'm learning to be okay with that. I'll still continue to work hard every day to do what's best for my students and give them the best education I can but not at the expense of my family. So if that feels like mediocrity in the classroom, I'll just eat candy to cope :)

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