Holding my Breath

It’s not good when you find yourself taking a gulp of air only to realize you’d been holding it longer than is comfortable.

Tight chest.  Agonizingly busy mind.  Restlessness.  Sleepless nights but no recollection of dreams or disturbances.  Reading as lost its relaxing quality.

What’s going on!?!?  This job is overwhelming.  That’s an every day realization.  I tell people it’s a minor miracle we pull off this whole school thing the way we do.  An absolute miracle.

You want to talk plate spinning?  Let’s talk.

But this is different.

And talk about frustrating that I can’t put my finger on it.  Our most recent elementary admin meeting brought us to our knees.  SBAC expectations, 1:1 iPad rollout next year, new superintendent coming on board, shifts in elementary site leadership, the list goes on… the big ticket items just kept coming.

And there it is.  My little elementary school, our amazing students and invested community.  That’s my fuel.  That’s the plate-spinning that I love.

But the big ticket items, district-wide, looming, impacting us all (good, bad, otherwise).  That’s another kettle of fish entirely.  This isn’t new but the import of what’s coming, our earnest desire to be united and speak with one voice, our investment in supporting staff, students and families… it’s a heavy load.  It’s a plate you just can’t spin.

And I’m excited, motivated, 100% in it to win it, but the weight is overwhelming me.  Stealing my breath and keeping me up at night.

Now for the good news.

This helps.  My poor keyboard is reeling from the pounding of my fingers.  And I’ve got a team of incredible leaders around me.  Here in Petaluma, on Voxer, onTwitter and at Grant School.  People are awesome.  They come along side, share words of encouragement, offer to help or just listen, and provide comic relief just when it’s needed most.  People are awesome.

The load hasn’t lightened but by sharing it with you, working out my restlessness through my fingertips, I can breath again.  With reminders.  Breath in, breath out. Thanks friends.

My Ideal Conference/Learning Experience #youredustory

I am so thankful for this blogging challenge.  It’s been a tumultuous month or so and I haven’t been able to put fingers to keyboard effectively.  Just like our students, a blank piece of paper can be daunting but a prompt can put thought to motion.  Thank you Jo-Ann Fox for this perfect nudge.

My recent experience as faculty for #cuerockstar Petaluma could put that format high on my list of criteria.  2 hour blocks, fewer session, long, collaboration filled lunch=exponential learning and connecting.

With that said, I have gained valuable insight and skill though one hour sessions as well.  Michael Niehoff‘s #cue15 session, Transformative Leadership, is a good example.  Structured shared, reflection, sharing… good stuff.

The face to face connecting at conferences is a huge part of the realtime and longterm learning.  It’s so exciting to meet a Voxer or Twitter colleague.  Solidified relationships that are already deep and meaningful.  One of my favorite aspects of a conference.

Can’t not bring #isf into the mix.  IntegratEd is more about the thinking BEHIND the doing.  Does that make sense?  Session are long (at least 2 hours, I recall).  The focus is on the thinking, rationale, pedagogy with some of the doing embedded.  Educon is a dream of mine; one day, I will get there.  My experience with #isf brings what I’ve read and followed of #educon to mind.  Similar?  I’ll find out eventually.

So to answer the question.  My ideal conference:

  • no more than 4 sessions in a day (more like 3)
  • some long, some short
  • equal parts talking/thinking/sharing with doing
  • long lunch for face to face collaboration
  • lots of sharing on Twitter (love to include the home-attendees, often it’s me attending from home)

Next up on my conference calendar: #NAESP First time attender.  Can’t wait!