We had just finish a tech academy session (at my district’s annual technology mini-conference) . Walking to the bathroom together one of my colleagues asked me “How do you do it all?” then another colleague chimed in “Yes, how do you? How do you blog and tweet and present?”
I giggled and bashfully said oh I don’t know! Dismissing and avoiding the question with a short “Oh I don’t know” and another giggle (What! I’m not good at owning my accomplishments. I’m working on that and seriously how do I answer that question in the middle of the girls bathroom). But the question really hit home with me. How would I really answer that question? What would my answer have been?
During my car ride home (I do some of my best thinking in the car…and the shower too for that matter) my thoughts swam in my head. How would I really answer that question? What would my answer have been? Then the answer came to me… I do it all with a whole lotta fear, a goal and a lot of hard work (that is the simple answer).
A whole lotta fear…yes, fear! Every time I put myself out there and take a step and try something new (here and in the classroom) I am afraid. I am afraid that others will think it is stupid, afraid others won’t like it or afraid it won’t work. I also know that these words I share, the art I draw, the technology I try means something to me. It is important to me. It fills me up and more importantly, with each new thing I have been afraid to share, draw or try I have failed too. It is those failures that are the richest and most valuable experiences to me. Each time my words don’t work, the next time they are better and even more meaningful. Each time a drawing doesn’t come together, I draw more, find a different way to draw it and discover a way that is my way. Each time a tech idea or an one of my ideas doesn’t work in my class or with my students they see me fail but more importantly they see me think it through and make it work better or differently. With each new fear that I face, I learn. I learn about myself, who I am and who I want to be. For every fear I face, step over and conquer, I get braver and my life and classroom are richer.
I have goals. I haven’t always had the same goals but I always have them. My goals three years ago are different then they are now. My goals then were to stop blogging anonymously and start blogging as the real me, to be on twitter as an educator and to start sharing what I do in the classroom. Once that goal was met a different one took its place. Start speaking at conferences, learn more about technology and how I can use it in my classroom and learn more about technology that can improve student access to…everything. My current goals are to completely gamify my classroom, to start sharing educational resources that can help and empower parents, to continue speaking at conferences and continue to draw and draw and draw and draw. The size of the goal is not what is important. It is that we make then, they are meaningful to us and that we go after them!
A lot of hard work. I am not going to say that any of these goals have been easy to achieve. It has taken hard work. I get up early before school to plan my day, read blog posts, share out and curate ideas. I work hard during my lunch hour and the hour after school to get all my school business done. I stay up after my girls go to bed to write and create (and yes, I do sleep and I do get enough) and I block out time on the weekends so I can write and create. My goals keep me focused on where I am going, meeting them makes it all worth it and this hard work is meaningful to me because it fills me up and makes me happy.
So next time someone asks me “How I do it all?” I will have an answer for them (the short one…unless they have time for the long one) but I will also add this…remember that each of your journeys and goals are our own. It is not a race or a competition. Decide what makes you happy, what is going to make you a better person, a better educator, a better dad or a better woman. Because it isn’t about “how I do it all” (because I don’t…we can’t). It is about knowing makes you happy and going after it!