Sometimes I need to work to work it through…

Yesterday I posted about the tensionbetween school and family.  I’d like to find the one teacher who doesn’t feel that.

So,I took time to work it out through good, old-fashioned work!  I headed out to my fruit trees to harvest the rest of our lemons.

I’m a thinker…deep thinker.  The long, sharp thorns I had to navigate to cut off dead limbs and bright fruits brought reflection.  The branches holding so much fruit were weighed down…some looked to be black and dying; struggling just to live. 

It was kind of sad.  I realized I neglected this tree by just focusing on the growing and not the cutting back.  We did talk about pruning this spring, but my husband wanted to see just how much fruit the tree would yield and felt any cuts would take away from any gains.

I’m not sure how smart we were.  Yes…there is some beautiful fruit we have and can harvest.  However, inside the tree the limbs were dark, thin and the fruit was smaller.  They seemed to being trying, fighting to reach the Sun – blocked by foliage – by too much ‘stuff’.

I got a strong sense, as I set to work, that my tree was much worse off that when the season started.  And so I started to prune away!

Not quickly…so thoughtfully that my son asked me what I was doing.  “Well, I am approaching this like a Ninja (everything sounds much smarter to a 4th grade boy when you add ‘Ninja’ – try it).  I am taking my time to avoid the thorns and keep my strengths.  I also want to cut away as much dead weight to let the sun shine on the fruit that is left.”

Of course, this all made me think.
Sometimes to make fruitful gains,

one needs to cut back.

How much dead weight was I carrying right now.  How much extra ‘stuff’ was I doing in class that might be linked to publisher materials, old habits, tradition that was causing me to sag.  Maybe I was harvesting some beautiful, bright students…but were there others that the ‘stuff’ was causing to struggle rather than strive.

This year I have noticed many of my parents struggle under the weight of family and school expectations.  I have already been wondering how to help with that. 

How much weight do I struggle under with my family…expectations, guilt, working to get them more ‘stuff’!

I really think ‘simple’ is key.  

In addition, my husband and I sat down last night to look at the effects of the new tax laws.  We will bring home hundreds less each month starting Friday.  When we went through the budget, I noticed the one area he kept avoiding, and what was making me very anxious, was classroom and my ‘fun’ (aka give to children when they ask) expenses.  I really didn’t have ‘social’ expenses or regular expenses that went just to me.  

Still, I would need to change.

In addition to pruning the ‘stuff’ I do in my class, I will have to cut back on what I spend…the incentives, ink, copies I make at Office Depot (who give educators amazing discounts THANK YOU!)  We already are limited in school for copies, no more team printers, team resources.   Ugh… I am feeling pretty dire.  Still I know there are many teachers just like me out there, so there must be a positive.

In addition to pruning the ‘stuff’ for school, I will have to cut back on what I do and spend at home.  

Right now I’m not sure what to think about all of this. 

So this post will have no answers…however, my lemon tree is only a 1/4 done.  So you never know what good work will help me work out. 🙂


2 thoughts on “Sometimes I need to work to work it through…”

  1. I love this article! It’s so true. I am about to start teaching in my own classroom (I graduated last month). I am so excited, I find myself sitting at my desk, getting work done at any chance I’ve got. My partner is forever asking me, ‘When are we going for a walk? Why can’t yo come watch half an hour of television with me? Let’s have a cuppa together.’ And I can’t seem to pull myself away from my desk.
    I need to detach for an hour!

    1. You do! Pencil in time so you stay aware of how much your classroom seems to need. Your family is your biggest source of encouragement when teaching gets overwhelming – and it will. But there are so many more days that are truly a joy!

      I look forward to reading about your first year.

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