We Can’t Do It Alone

Over the last month, I haven’t written as many blog posts because, well, life has been busy! The first semester of my first year as a Vice Principal ended, the holiday season was upon us and we sold and bought a new house. Life is regularly a bit busy, however, throw in the move of a house (with an 18-month-old) can make things a little crazy. Yet, as so often happens, I find parallels between things that are going on in my personal life with things that are going on in my professional life. As we enter a new semester, I want to share this connection with you.

As I mentioned, my husband and I (plus our daughter, of course) moved houses in December. Yeah, that’s right. We moved houses right before Christmas…at the end of the semester…with an 18-month-old. And guess what? We didn’t hire movers. I’ll try to keep a long story short. Basically, we had a gap day between the time we had to be out of our house and into the new house. This meant that we had to pack up our whole house and put it somewhere for 24 hours until we could move into the new house. We checked with moving companies and they all were charging around $2,000 to move (since it would be two moves in their opinion) and store our belongings for the night. Even if we rented our own truck and stored it in front of our house, the moving cost was still significant because they considered it two moves. So, we enlisted the help of some very good friends and family members. Our family members helped watch our daughter – because, let’s be honest, who can really focus on moving a house with a toddler roaming around? Our friends helped us over a two day period (their weekend!) to move our entire house. And guess what – it even rained during most of the second day, which may not seem strange to you but we live in a desert. As we moved our house and as I watched our friends help us, one phrase kept coming to my mind:

We could not have done this alone.

Honestly, I don’t know how we would have done it without our family and friends. I feel like it would have either been 1.) Impossible, 2.) Expensive and 3.) The greatest test of our marriage ever. It was just a lot of work and there is no way my husband and I could have done it on our own. And that’s where the parallel between my professional and personal life hit me:

Education cannot be done alone. It can’t be an island. It has to be a community, a partnership, and maybe even a family.

If I haven’t convinced you of this yet, then let me give you three reasons why we cannot do this alone and why we have to rely on one other.

Reason #1: We can’t do it alone because…it’s hard.

Education is hard. It’s physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. For people that have not ever worked in education, it’s hard to understand this. They see all the breaks and the 6.5 hour work day. They don’t see the late nights, the lesson planning and the grading. They don’t feel the tired feet and sore body from standing, walking and bending all day. And, most importantly, they don’t see the emotional struggle when your students struggle or make poor choices. They don’t see the emotional baggage that every educator takes home on a daily basis.

It’s why we can’t do it alone. We need support. We need people to challenge us for lesson plans, to give us ideas and help us when we hit a roadblock. We need people to share the bad days with and offer support when you’re heart is broken for a student. We need people to just be there because, well, it can be really hard sometimes.

Reason #2: We can’t do it alone because…it’s fun.

While my last reason was a bit more serious, this is one of the most important ones – education is fun! I absolutely love what I do and I have loved every role I have had in education. Each role has been fun in its own way, even when it can be challenging.

If you isolate yourself, you can’t share the fun, awesome and amazing things you are doing for your students. It’s not bragging – it’s celebrating! Like I said earlier, education can be very hard…so, it’s incredibly important that we celebrate all the fun that it has to offer.

Reason #3: We can’t do it alone because…we won’t grow.

If we want our students to grow, then we must also be willing to grow ourselves. I truly believe that if educators do not work together, then they will not grow and improve as much as they could. In turn, neither will their students. Some of the greatest growth I have had as an educator is working with educators in my districts but, also with educators across the country through social media. These educators have inspired and challenged me to be a better teacher and leader. They constantly make me think about what I am doing and they are my go-to for questions and advice.

We will not grow on our own. It has to be done together.

As we start a new semester, I challenge each of you to find a way that you will work together with other educators. Whether it’s department meetings, social media, or digital conversations on Marco Polo – find a way to work with one another, support each other and grow.

After all, we can’t do it alone…at least if we want to do it right. 🙂

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