Reflections of a TRT/ITRT

Are you a Busyoholic? Are things going so fast that you forget to stop and catch your breath?

I wish that there could be a Virginia ITRT Get Together (NOT to Shop Talk) but to have one of those, “What, you too?!?” lunches/dinners/socials. This past week our first Log Reflection was due, and as I reviewed my first quarter, it was amazing how time just seemed to be swallowed up and not everything got finished that I had hoped to do. I have 71 teachers and 1,000 students that I’m responsible for serving, department responsibilities, lesson plans, administrators, training schedules to prepare for, the on line Pinnacle Gradebook pilot at Olive Branch, and so on and so on, and wonder how 24 hours can be extended! Add to that family responsibilities, outside activities, and, well, you get the picture.

This all came into perspective yesterday.

My wife and I, along with six other friends, met a family from Myanmar. There were three generations, and only one person, the teenager, their translator, spoke survival English. We found out that for nine years they lived in refugee camps in Thailand and finally were able to immigrate to the U.S. The weariness showed on their faces and hardship was evident. The two children, though, (four? five?) were oblivious to the sufferings of the elders, and played at their feet. The eldest is just a year older than I am and looked 20 years my senior.

Their work schedule is grueling and put in 72 hours of work a week just to survive. Imagine not only this, but not understanding the language of the people you work with (when I worked in China, for example, after a month of Mandarin, I was EXHAUSTED). Two thirds of the way into our visit, the grandfather broke down and cried just from the exhaustion, stress, and responsibility. It was as if the last ten years finally reared their ugly head.

And we complain because we don’t have the latest toys (plasma TVs, new cars, ad infinitum). Suddenly, the stressors came into perspective. I might not get to all 71 teachers the same week and be all things to all people, but, it was fascinating to see how technology integration has increased in our schools. What was the secret, I think? Taking time to get to know each other first, realize that we’re all in this together, and being a former classroom teacher, I know exactly where to jump in the trenches with you and how to watch your back.

This weekend was a good time to reflect over not only my work, but in how we spend our time here on the earth. For example:
• My wife, daughter, and I watched a squirrel making a nest.
• I was approached about working in Europe next summer.
• I met the family from southern Asia.
• Looking at my ClustrMap (to the right), I was amazed how many friends from around the world have looked at the blog.
• My wife had a candlelight dinner for us for no particular reason—just to have one.
• A friend from Brazil wrote and said he’ll be at our home for Thanksgiving.
• My daughter called and will be home (Lexington, KY) for Thanksgiving. She’s bringing a friend.
• The family watched movies together and didn’t do any work.
• I wanted to hear some Christmas music. I played it. Who cares if it’s not December yet!
• I turn 49 tomorrow. A colleague gasped and said, “You sure don’t look that old—you look much younger!”

Life is good, in spite of not being able to be every where at every moment and being able to do everything.