Confessions of an Out of Balance Educator

scaleFor years, I’ve gotten it all wrong when it comes to balancing my life. I was one of those teachers who lived and breathed all things related to my career. I arrived at school at a decent time but worked sometimes into the night, always needing to get something else done. Even last year, living around 55 miles from my school did not change things. I was really bad about leaving work around 10pm. Again, my excuse was data, creating some new something based on an idea or working on evaluating the plans of our department. There was always something.

Last week, I was headed to yet another edcamp where quite honestly, the conversations were no different than the one that I just attended. It took a phone call from my college bound daughter for me to turn around and spend time at home versus meeting up to discuss education. That ride home was by far one of the longest that I’ve experienced and yet it was probably the most pivotal moment that I’ve had in a long time.

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me personally how committed I am to education. It is not an 8am to 3pm job by any means, but it is one that can be managed. My children are accustomed to my schedule. Their schedules are interwoven on my google calendar so that I can be present for them as much as possible yet even with that…teaching, presenting or connecting often took the front seat.

The reality of my life is that my sacrifice is also theirs and in all honesty, it’s not fair. Why should it be? I am an educator but I am a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend first. I needed to rethink my approach to my career…my passion.

The fact of the matter is that I am hypocritical to put all of my energy into the lives of others if I am not putting more energy into the lives of those that I am directly connected to. Careers come and go. Students graduate but your kids are your kids. Your spouses are your spouses. If you are blessed enough to have your parents here, that time is not guaranteed either. No time is. We only have one chance on this earth to get it right and we have to make sure that our families and friends feel that they matter too.

This summer, I turned down a training opportunity after ISTE because I wanted to go home. I would have loved the chance to share with educators and be paid for it but no dollar amount on earth is worth missing a chance to fulfill my first earthly duty…MOM.

I knew this to be true and somehow in the weeks that followed, I guess that I needed to be reminded yet again.

I’m glad that my daughter sent me the text that would forever frame my thinking.

The lesson here is this…

You can love all that you do but you must make sure to put in the time and energy for the ones that you love most. Balance is the real secret to all success.


Comments 5

    1. Post

      That story was amazing! Thank you so much for sharing it. I’m definitely not perfect in all of my decisions. I try to make the best ones…to do it all. Realistically I cannot and I do accept that now. I’ve learned to take time for me and my family above everything else. My goal this year is to do MORE of that!

      Baby steps. Admitting my problem was step 1.

  1. Excellent post Rafranz!! Leah and I talk about this often. We often feel like our own children get short shrift when it comes to our time. Now that we are both principals it hasn’t gotten any better. The sad thing is, even when we are home sometimes, our heads are still at school. We can sit and talk about school for hours and now thanks to twitter, we can be connected to other amazing educators 24/7……but we need to remind ourselves to stay connected to our kids. We have tried to really focus on that more this summer. I hope our kids are noticing that, but sometimes I’m not as interesting as an Xbox Still, I will be amazed if at least one of them doesn’t become an educator as it is what has surrounded their childhood. Thanks again for helping me get some perspective.

    1. Post

      Thank you so much Tom. I’ve noticed little things in my kids. They are extremely supportive and proud of the work that I’ve done but they watch for me to show up at their events and to make time to do things with them. I am not more interesting than an xbox either. I do make sure that I play with my son because in those xbox times, we have some of the best conversations. It is NOT easy but it is necessary and worth it. I’m definitely not perfect but am certainly glad that I’ve taught my kids to always be honest about what they feel and I listen. That is the only way that this works. Thank you so much for your honest feedback. This is why I love blogging.

  2. What a great post! Your timing was spot-on for me, and I thank you for that. I appreciate your honesty – thanks for keeping it real!

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