Friday, January 30, 2015

Striving for balance: Be careful what you wish for

In the end, the quest for balance is bogus. Love your burdens. Love them hard. And when your loves knock you down or your weak ankles trip you up, stop worrying about balancing - 'cuz you're not - and bounce.
~ Kelly Diels, Cleavage

I'm not sure how it happened, but nearly a year has gone by and I have not written one post. No excuses, no explanations, just a new determination to not let this happen again. So...

January is a reflective month for many and I have used this time to think about how I best learn and how a blog might support this and keep me on track. So often, as I strive for balance, things that are important to me (like this blog) get moved to the side to make room for being a good <   > (insert various roles: mother, teacher, wife, friend and so on). What's getting in the way?

Image: MacBook Air 2012, Ian Dick on Flickr CC-BY-2.0
I tend to suffer from an "all or nothing" type of disposition and so when time is tight, I let things go, rather than make a small attempt. Over time, this inaction grows and eventually becomes overwhelming. I once had a close friend tell me that it was okay if I only sent her a one line email - she would rather I send the short note more often, than lengthy letters once in a blue moon. So this is my first insight into potential stumbling blocks to blogging and has become my first 'resolution'. I will set aside time once a week and write something - it might be one line, but I'll post it.

Another obstacle I must face is the fact that I'm really not much of a writer. I struggle to find the right words and am a bit of a perfectionist and so I am never really satisfied with anything I compose. I work with some amazing people (eloquent people!) and the blogs I read as a part of my PLN are not only informative, but moving, witty and well crafted. Trying to write in a way that is 'worthy' of being a member of such a network is exhausting (and not that much fun). And so - I will let that go (okay - I know that sounds easy, but it is hard for me!). My blog is written for me. It is a space to reflect on what I am learning, to sort out ideas, to share and record my wonderings. It helps me to become a better teacher and colleague. This brings me to my second resolution: I will write for myself.

My last resolution is actually something that I have always strived to do as an inquiry - model learner behaviour for my students. When I had my own class this happened quite naturally and I was able to write about our shared experiences more consistently. Now, working with so many different classes and teachers, this natural modelling doesn't happen as easily. There is a need to be more mindful. By returning to weekly writing in a blog, I will have authentic experiences to share with students (and colleagues) about the writing process, about reflection and struggling and commitment. And so, through this blog I will model my personal inquiries - my questions, my explorations, my reflections.

Letting go of this idea of being balanced is empowering. I feel more free to make thoughtful decisions about how I spend my time. I feel better equipped to bounce.
Image: Ball, Riley Kaminer on Flickr, CC-BY-2.0

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