Yesterday I finally got in the pool. I was determined to relax and enjoy myself. Who knows… A state of nirvana might bring me ideas and inspiration for writing, teaching, leading or something. Even better, I could work on my tan, something the modern southern belle values even more than sweet tea. But as I floated around I kept staring at this vine that was climbing up some lattice that I intended to be free of this traveling foliage and knew I couldn’t relax until I got out of the pool and dismantled the little jungle. I climbed on a low brick wall, leaned over, and went to work. Most of the vines came down easily, which was great. I’d be back in the pool quickly. Not so fast.
A giant blood-sucking, demon-looking, flying creature attacked me! Initially, I thought I’d been hit by a poisonous dart. I yelped. And in no time at all that creature’s evil twin sucked every bit of goodness out of my right wrist. Yeah- I got back in the pool. Silly, I actually thought that it might help. At least it didn’t make it worse. We had company coming for lunch. My husband is pretty good at throwing a fish fry. I put on a good face and said, “Aw, no big deal. I’m fine!” Yeah right. My entire arm was red and swollen and my back was numb. The allergy and pain medicine helped me get what was just a terrible night’s sleep and complaining about the pain to my family has made them quite sick of hearing about it. (Which helps – families should be sick together) But after a day, I’m trying to find something positive about the experience. I started thinking about how many “blood-sucking, demon-looking, creatures” impede my progress every day. Most days I find it’s my attitude that causes me to stumble. Other days it’s any number of things. Teachers find a variety of poisonous creatures stinging them every day: mandated and foolhardy policies, belligerent co-workers, unsupportive administrators, low expectations, unmet needs, and disengaged students and parents.
I really hate to say it, but the demon creatures are out there. It will do us positive folks good to take note – walking into the jungle unprepared is foolish. So, what can we do to avoid being stung. How do you avoid the killer bees? Here are a couple of things I’ve learned.
- Don’t go where you don’t belong. And if you HAVE to go there, go with protection.
Application – If the lunch table or faculty workroom stings you, try to avoid it. If you can’t avoid it, try to sit near the most positive person you can find or avoid the workroom during peak hours. Don’t be afraid to make a change, if you need it. Remember – look out for and protect your positive outlook. When it goes, it takes much of your potential with it.
- Have the medicine you need on hand.
Application – If you get stung (and you will), use you own personal medicine for relief. Develop strong relationships with other positive, supportive teachers. Go to your mentor, friend, or advocate. Go to your personal learning network on Twitter, Ning, Tumblr, or other networking sites. If you wait until you need this medicine to create it, it won’t help. You must develop it today so that it will be there for you when you need it.
- Move on.
Application – Go back into the jungle. It’s so easy to become discouraged when difficult circumstances arise. Defer to your stubborn streak that your spouse claims you have. Focus on what you are trying to accomplish not on the creatures blocking your progress. Don’t allow the killer bees to win!
I bought some paint today to make a few improvements around the house. The first place to tackle is the bee-infested lattice area (a.k.a. former vine jungle). Protecting myself with a nice, thick pair of gloves, I will use my new can of hornet/wasp spray for protection. I’m hoping I can do enough work around the house so that when I relax in the pool again, I can resist the temptation to step out of paradise and into a hive of angry bees.
Teachers have to be more prepared for today’s classroom than at any other time in history. With so many obstacles and challenges to face, what do you do to prevent being stung? Thanks for sharing!