Weeds. They slowly creep up on you. You don’t plan for them to get out of control. It just happens. That’s what I found when I finally looked at the old sandbox area and flowerbeds. It’s not like there weren’t signs. I just chose to ignore them. If only I had taken care of these along the way, there wouldn’t be so much to do now.
So….this got me thinking about what weeds are lurking in my teaching garden that left unattended, can cause a lot of grief and work later on. Let me tell you, there are a few weeds in my teaching garden. Once I began pulling these weeds, I needed to make a plan to keep these weeds out of my garden for good.
Weeds in My Teaching Garden
Procrastination, Negativity, Drama, Disorganization, Overeagerness
Procrastination-I say that I work best under pressure or with a deadline. There’s some truth to this. However, truth is I put things off and then stress over it. This is especially true with grading big projects. If I hunkered down, created the rubrics, and planned it out completely then I would be less stressed at the end. So, this year I will work on just confronting the tasks I don’t want to do right then. It will pay off in the long run with a calmer me and more time for my family.
Negativity-This is one of those weeds that seem to crop up over night. It’s a sneaky one. I snuff it out at one location, only to have it come back. It comes when you least expect it. You just get tired of doing so many things at once, taking on one more task, that you just reach your limit and find yourself complaining constantly. This is one that actually can be prevented, or at least managed. Give yourself five minutes to vent about what’s bugging you. Then, make a plan to change or address the problem. If it’s something that really is out of your control, or not in your power to fix, then as they sing in Frozen, Let it Go! Yes, we need to vent and get it out of our system, but it if you vent too long, that particular weed will strangle all the good in your garden.
Drama-I’m not talking student drama. I’m talking teacher drama. I tend to get sucked into drama that rarely has anything to do with me. It starts out harmless enough. A friend needs to vent and next thing I know I’m involved, getting upset right along with them, and then half the time fighting their battles for them. My plan to get rid of this most noxious weed is to still listen, after all they just need me to listen, but then ask them what they plan to do about their particular problem or issue. I still want to be a good friend, but I just can’t take on every problem. There’s a Polish saying that I ran across on Pinterest that I love and need to remember when the drama weed begins to turn up. Not my circus, not my monkeys.
Disorganization-Some people think I am rather organized. Others can’t believe I can even find things on my desk, or what I lovingly refer to as the landfill. I do have bins that hold each day’s teaching materials along with folders for each subject. However, within two hours of school starting I already have piles on my desk. By the end of the day you’d be hard pressed to remember what color the top of the desk is. I need to think about the types of papers that end up in piles and make folders or some kind of system to manage the heaps. I’m thinking I’ll add folders to the daily bins to hold materials for absent students and then one folder that moves day to day to hold any extra copies. Maybe at least this way the papers would be in one spot and I would only have to deal with the one folder by the end of the week. This would also allow me to end and begin each day with a sense of calmness. By tending to this particular weed daily, I won’t have to come up on the weekends to clean off my desk and tidy the room.
Overeagerness-This is the weed that is often disguised as a pretty flower. Think dandelion or purple thistle. Pretty on the outside, but can quickly overwhelm the garden or lawn. I tend to jump into new strategies or projects head first. I tend to say yes to too many requests whether it be a committee, or helping another teacher with lessons or projects. I just get so excited and then the feeling of drowning quickly overcomes me, which then leads to procrastination. To manage this particular weed, I am thinking of limiting the number of new strategies or initiatives that I try at one time. In this way I can really learn the strategy and then be in a better place to help others learn and implement the strategy as well. When it comes to committees, I am hoping to only say yes to those that interest me and will actually benefit myself and my students. Again, overeagerness is that sly weed that often masks itself as a pleasant flower.
Now that you’ve had a glimpse of a few of the weeds in my teaching garden, think of your own. What are the weeds that keep your garden from being vibrant, healthy, and balanced? What do you plan to do to keep these weeds from taking over your garden?