Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one struggling to balance the demands of work with the pleasures of leisure. More often than not, work wins, creeping into my mind, occupying my thoughts, even when I am sleeping. And I’m lucky, I love my work. It gives me purpose and satisfaction…and a fair share of frustration.
It’s report card time, the time when I most feel the tug threatening my balance. My shoulders start to knot, carrying the unspoken conflicts of the mechanism of reporting student progress. Somehow my students are also feeling the tip too, rocking like those weeble dolls of days gone by, out of sorts and out of focus–just when I need them to be so much more.
Walking on the beach on the weekend, I noticed some other people seeking balance. I watched an engineer/artist drag quite a few rocks over to a large algae covered boulder facing the low tide seas–the perfect canvas for this temporary art. With careful precision each rock was placed, with an eye to both balance and beauty.
Nearby another person sought to achieve balance of the body. Crouching low and tipping forward, lifting first a toe, testing the raising of each foot until both feet were raised and balance was achieved–if only for a few seconds.
Instead of planning assessments for tomorrow, my students will be making wire fish sculptures. Using floral wire and buttons, they will bend and crimp, thread and fold until beauty emerges from one long wire. Ultimately, they will create a mobile, seeking to balance their wire fish on a piece of driftwood with the help of fishing line. I’m pretty sure their efforts to create balance and beauty will create an oasis of balance and beauty for me too. I’ll tackle the report cards later.
As education has changed, my students knew where they were through our conferences and feedback so required “report cards” were less important and not a surprise. In my classroom, I didn’t need to worry about report card conferences because students led the parent conferences, discussing their work — these things eased my stress and balance was much easier to maintain. That was middle school — I know that the parents of primary students have much more expectations from their teachers, but I see you and your students know that balance is just as important! Lovely post to share how you find balance.
I often find that a burst of creativity helps me get centered. Then, I am able to tackle the tasks that are rigorous and not creatively-based. I love the photos you capture showing balance.
Ah, yes, that elusive balance. When you get it mastered, teach me your methods!
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