Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Am I Enough?

I write this blog post today from a place of humility and angst.

Around this time of year, most educators begin to question, "is this really right for me?"

It's not just the mandates and testing.

This week, it has hit me, hard.  The stress.  The urgency.  The importance.

It felt like the crest of a wave was going to come down upon me, swallow me up, and rip me out to sea.  The uncertainty of whether or not, "I'm enough," for this important role effecting hundreds of families in our community is weighing on me. The fear that if I say it out loud that it means I'm a failure to myself and my tribe. However, I can't stop obsessing over these three words...

I question, am I strong enough to fight the battle of poverty, racism, and cultural insensitivity that I see out in the world?  Can I somehow shield my students from the outside so that they feel safe, loved, and respected inside the walls of our building?  Am I capable of breaking down percieved stereotypes of disengaged parents, when I know from experience those parents aren't avoiding the school- they are working hard to ensure there is food on the table.  My familes value school, they just all can't be class moms and volunteer every day in the PTA, but they love their children just as hard and still want the very best for them.  Our families deserve each adult to give their all every day and sometimes we have to admit that we are drained.

I question, can I persevere through the struggles of medical leaves, untimely resignations, and trauma in the lives of my staff, let alone my students?  Can I make our students feel loved in those moments when they percieve they have been abandoned and left behind because they are "too tough" to handle?  How do I show them how special they are to even be a part of my life and how much I believe that they truly are the most incredibly resilient, brave, and strong children I have ever met?  How do I keep things consistent and moving forward when there are so many who leave us behind?

How do I help my teachers understand that while we are incredibly accountable and give feedback for improvement, that they are my idols and I value their heart and commitment to always doing what's best for kids. How do I show them a mirror so they can see the warrior I encounter every single day in them as they walk through the office,  determined to get through to each child.   It's hard to do this when we have students split into their classes each day as a last minute solution to a much deeper problem that I just don't have the ability to solve.

Am I patient enough to make every person's concerns feel valued.. while I have urgent situations that are eating me up inside that require my undivided attention and have me on the verge of tears because there is literally no way to make all stakeholders happy?

How do I hold it together as I hear stories of abuse, tragedy, homelessness, and trauma that some of my students go home to.  How do I help a substitute understand that the child she just yelled at might be ten years old, but he's responsible for keeping his mom and sister safe at home and has more adult responsibilities than any child should, and acts out for attention because he's just really crying out for help and love?

Can I jump through the hoops that require my extra time and attention in order to do what's best for my kids?  Will I be willing to continue fighting the fight and risking my reputation and relationship with those I respect that sometimes make situations more complicated and frustrating than they should be.  I can see why so many get tired and become complacent.  It's easy to do what's always been done and blame it on the system or the kids.  It's hard to breakthrough and make real change.

Can I personally break one more promise to my own children and family without them beginning to resent my passion for my school?    I'm looking out for the hundreds of kiddos that also need every ounce of strength and love I have in my body, and sometimes just need someone to sit with them as their rides show up over an hour late with no apology or explanation.  It's not the kids fault and it's hard to recognize.

Then I realize... I have to be enough.

We don't do this for the glory or the recognition, we do this for the kiddos.

Each and every student deserves the opportunity to succeed and excel.  If we don't do it, who will?

Who will ensure our students have exposure to robotics, computer engineering, virtual reality, gardening, and technology so they have the same opportunities for success?

We have to be enough and give ourselves a break.

I'm not perfect, but I love my school with every single beat of my heart and while I'll never stop wondering if, "I'm enough," there is one thing for certain, I'm all in every single day.


  1. You just put into words the exact feelings I've had. It's a blinding thirst to make things better each day for them all. It's a tall order. Some days it just doesn't happen. But oh, the days that you see real learning, real empathy, real kindness? It's magic.
    Keep leading. You're making magic!

  2. Absolutely! We push through. The rollercoaster sometimes increases in intensity this time of the year, but the payoff of seeing the changes internalize in our kiddos makes it all worth it!

  3. What an amazingly written entry. YOU are wonderful; YOU are absolutely all in. We are ALL lucky to have you in our county. Each smile and positive affirmation does more than you can imagine. Thank you; not only for your truth, but for all that you do Day IN and Day OUT... Allie