Priorities

This week made me feel like I was running on a hamster wheel, willing my feet to fly, but getting nowhere.  The accreditation process has been a marathon, a valuable one at that, but time consuming doesn't even begin to describe the odyssey it has become.  Belly-aching aside, I appreciate the commitment to academic rigor and the changes that are surfacing that will ultimately better our students and community.

Today was busy with discipline and revising documents for our internal review, meeting with student council about spirit week, and taking one last look over the literacy week schedule to make sure we're ready for all things reading and Dr. Seuss on Monday.  The icing on the cake was a surprise meeting with the local Rotarians about our microfinance non-profit, making the entire day  feel cramped and rushed.  Yesterday, the little girls in third grade came into my office, proudly carrying a large water can.  They planted little trees for science, and are faithfully maintaining them.  Last week, I trekked out with them to check progress, and though it is dry season, their trees are faring well.  Back to yesterday, I told them to be sure and let me know when they plan on watering, and I'd go with them, as it is at the far end of campus, too far for the recess supervisor to see.  Wouldn't you know that they chose today, ten minutes before I needed to leave for my meeting.

Impulsively, I wanted to tell them that they could wait, that what I was working on was more important than what are essentially twigs, strapped to sticks so they don't fall over.  Thankfully, my brain and my mouth didn't connect, and what came out was, "Perfect.  I need a break, let's go."  We talked about the surprising things they've learned, like the fact that trees need nutrients, and that cow poop makes all the difference.  One of the little girls ran off and started rolling down the slope, shortly after covered in dry grass and dust, and I was reminded that she was me, not long ago. 

I made it to my meeting, and we spoke of more pressing issues than trees.  We talked data and evaluation and bureaucracy, and while it was important, I wished I had stayed to goofing around with my kids.  Balance has been tough to come by lately.  Documents and artifacts are important to this school improvement process and so are schedules and curriculum mapping, but they drag us away from the kids that inspire us to come back every morning.  My priorities weren't on track this week, so I'm writing this and confessing, with the intention that next week will be different, and that you'll check in with me to make sure my head is on straight, and that I'm covered in dry grass, playing.