Teach & Serve
No. 18 * December 1, 2015
Related Content from And There Came A Day:
- Teach & Serve No. 17 – “Giving Thanks for Our Own Gifts”
- Teach & Serve No. 16 – “The Networked Reality”
- Teach & Serve No. 15 – “It’s Not What They Think, It’s HOW They Think.”
- Teach & Serve No. 14 – “Most Effective Leaders Are Those Who Lay the Road for Pilgrimage”
DO THE UNDONE
There is more lingering out there as we approach Christmas Break than grading papers, exams and projects. There are other things that may require our attention.
How did it get this late in the semester? I suspect teachers all over the Western world have a similar reaction to the calendar page turn to the first of December. Where did this semester go? How did I get so behind in my curricular plan? How can I finish everything I need to finish, grade everything I need to grade, get done all that I need to get done?
These questions are certainly timely. These questions are certainly real.
And these issues are likely to be resolved by teachers. They have to be. Finals have to be written. Papers have to be graded. Work has to be done. Though it’s difficult, sometimes, to look at the calendar and see how all the work will get done, it does get done. We create the time. We figure out a way.
Dare I say these are the easy things to address, easy because we know what they are? The truth is there are other things that need tending to as we approach the end of the semester – other things that, too, need to be done. Some of these are not obvious. They are not stacked on our desk or circled on our calendars. They are not tangible, but they are important.
Consider this: are there students in our classrooms with whom we’ve been at odds? Are there students who’ve managed to rub us the wrong way, about whom we are justified (in our minds, at least) to feel great frustration toward, those kids that we sometimes don’t feel deserve our time?
Are there calls we ought to make; emails we ought to write? Are there parents we know are stewing that we are content to let simmer in their own juices? Are we willing to simply write these things off and hope that they go away?
Are there faculty members we have avoided, those with whom we have conflicts – large or small – that we’d rather not speak with. Are these people in the faculty room that cause us to spin around in our tracks?
What does avoiding these things gain us? Much like we have “work” to do with grades and exams and closing out the minutia of the semester, these things, too, are “work.” The question is why do we often resist the notion that this kind of work is as important as all the other kinds of work?
Hopefully you don’t have many of these things in your life, professional or otherwise. Hopefully you tend to these issue as they come up and, because we work with people – with students, their parents and our colleagues – they will come up. Hopefully you don’t leave these things undone.
As we look to the semester’s end, though, maybe we can set our sights on doing those things that are undone. Perhaps we can wrap up some loose ends that are not tangible. Perhaps these final weeks allow us a moment to reflect on what needs to be addressed and give us the space to actually address it.
Perhaps we can do the undone.
That would be a great gift to share.