Today a meditation app on my phone posted this quote, “Life passes us by quicker than we ever imagine. To miss even a single moment is something we will later regret. Be present in the world.”

Going into this year, I had taken additional time over the summer to plan and prepare for the start of the year. We were mindful to create a schedule that provided weekly grade level team collaboration time, we ensured special area teachers had planning built into their schedules as well. We created a framework to guide our professional learning grounded in our school initiatives, district mandates, new assessments system and new math curriculum. I thought we were ready to hit the ground running and find a life-work balance. And now, here we are at the end of September and some days seem simply overwhelming, blurring into one another. You know the days when you are stuck in the whirlwind, stuck in that place of doing the work that keeps everything else going, and going, and going. Those days when you try to stop and catch your breath, but seem to only come up for air before you are quickly sucked back in.

Lately it seems that days slip into weeks and weeks into months and now first quarter is just days from being over. Thinking back over the last several weeks, there have been distractions and diversions including full moon, increased scholar enrollment, new teachers and staff, resignations and hiring, new positions and guest teachers, solar eclipse, school improvement plan and needs assessment, PTO and site council meetings, iep and 504 meetings, grade level collaborations meetings, parent meetings, attendance meetings, evaluations and pre/post conferences, curriculum nights, lighthouse readiness review planning, pre-test assessments and data analysis, Move on When Reading plan, state ELL audit, new teacher training, new positions and hiring, national board pre candidacy classes, Back to School BBQ, school picture day, homecoming, weekly bulletins and connect ed calls, reflection questions and scholar on special assignment meetings.

In my mind, I keep thinking about our goals, where we need to be, where we actually are and how to stay focused on what is most important. But some days it is easy to let myself get overwhelmed and caught in a whirlwind of checking things off my list, going through the motions and just trying to get by. How do we maintain the whirlwind at a sustainable level and continue to move forward, toward what is most important?

How do you remain present in the world, despite your whirlwind?


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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