Recently I was driving to an early meeting while listening to an audio book. The content of the book got me thinking about how I wanted to live in the moment and relish experiences. I sighed. How can I be better about that, I wondered? How can I make sure that life isn’t passing me by?
I took another sip of my coffee, glanced off to my right, noticed the river, and then kept driving. Wait, that’s the river. That’s the Ohio River. I looked again. This time I let my eyes drink in the sparkle of the morning sun as it dance on top of the glassy ripples. I let myself notice the way the sun peaked through trees and brush, kissing the shoreline with a gentle, “Good morning, world. I’m shining for you again today.”
I simply noticed.
As I continued my drive, I also spotted a creek. Large and small, gray and brown rocks stirred up the water creating little white bubbles on the top that quickly disappeared and flowed beyond my line of vision.
I simply noticed.
The feeling inside of me shifted. My day became less about the troubles that might be waiting for me and more about what was right in front of me. I felt at ease. I felt grateful. I felt myself breathing deeper. I felt happy.
School schedules are wild. Truly. I’ve watched a teacher throw a breakfasat sandwich in the microwave before running to the bathroom and then quickly grabbing the sandwich in one swift motion before heading into a meeting right on time. She had it down to a science. Down to the second. Because as an educator in schools, there are often no extra minutes to spare.
I’ve watch teachers make copies and meet with children on their “lunch breaks,” I’ve watch them collaborate with colleagues while monitoring the hallway. I’ve watch them respond to parent emails during silent reading time.
It’s a lot. It’s so much of a lot that when I did my student teaching (MANY) years ago, I nearly quit the profession. I had to go to therapy in those early years and was prescribed anxiety medication because I was waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks.
Educators are some of the strongest people I know because this profession is not for the faint of heart. They manage all of kinds of crazy situations and schedules with an epic level of care for their students and a super human interest in their growth and development.
If you are an educator, you deserve peace. And when you look around, it may be hard to imagine how you can be at peace when there is no time to even use the bathroom in your day.
I get it.
You deserve a break in your day. You deserve time to work on your lesson plans. Time to collaborate with peers. Time to drink your coffee and check your emails. Time to think and feel and exist.
But until that happens, until our school schedules are changed to better honor the humanity of both students and educators, we need to find a way to be OK. To be more than OK. To be at peace.
When we wake up in the morning, let’s notice and enjoy the smell of our fresh toast before we throw it in a napkin and eat it in the car. Let’s enjoy the sounds of children running into the school during morning drop off. Let’s enjoy the sounds of children singing in music class as we walk by with our copies. Let’s go down the slide at recess and feel the wind in our hair and on our faces.
Let’s simply notice.
Because life is passing us by while we are busy living it.