As the final days until January 1st approach, I cannot help but to reflect upon the goals I made for myself in 2012. I find it curious that not one of my goals revolved around my profession as a childcare provider and educator. This I was primarily thinking about me in 2012. I found peace in daily exercise around my new neighborhoods listening to Glee (and lost eleven pounds in the process), bought my first car, found a new home with my family, wrote my will, and took a chance on love again for the first time in almost two years. Not too shabby, considering this all occurred during two moves, a divorce, and while my dog was diagnosed with cancer.
While I do feel a sense of satisfaction on account of the personal progress I made in these areas of my life, I can’t help but to feel a sense of guilt for not including my job—my love for children, my career of choice, my meal ticket—in my list for 2012. Surely I had turned selfish, for I had not even contemplated my work during the initial drafting process of my goals. Oh, bad, bad, Mr. Shannon!
It is fortunate, however, that the mind and heart can make the time to meet for coffee and reflection in such circumstances, particularly before I offered myself to the board of education and God in hand cuffs as an unworthy educator. When I really stop to think about it, my goals did not reflect my career for a reason. My goals as a teacher had already been roughly outlined on the August 11th, 2012, the date I signed my contract to work. And since that day in August, I have set, reached, failed, reevaluated, and set new goals for myself and my students more times than I can count.
Here’s the deal. A teacher’s work, his goals for he and his students, are constantly being drafted. Not just at the beginning of the academic year when the children first walk into the classroom. Nor the three times a year when he meets with his students’ parents to discuss their fall, winter, and spring conferences and explain their academic progress and the his own goals for them in the next season. Day to day, minute to minute, a teacher is constantly redrafting his plans for a child. He allows one child to attempt pouring her own milk, knowing fully well that she might spill the entire pitcher all over the table. And that, if she does, she will need to learn how to clean up her own mess, even if it involves using half a roll of paper towels.
That makes me feel a bit better!