Monday, September 5, 2011

Under Pressure

 I am feeling the pressure of starting a new school year. I will be the first to admit that much of this pressure I put on myself - trying to do too much. However, there is another very real pressure that is very important to me and that I feel very strongly about.

We do something called Listening Conferences at our school. These conferences are held before school starts and are just between teacher and parents. The rest of our conferences throughout the year are Student-Led so the students are present for those. Anyway, during Listening Conferences, we simply listen to parents talk about their child and their hopes and dreams for their child. These hopes and dreams lead to the type of pressure that I am referring to in this post.

I learn so much about what is important to each family as they talk about their hopes and dreams for the school year. I come away from the conferences feeling very good about all that I have learned about each child and their family. The pressure comes later when I am thinking about making an attempt to fulfill those hopes and dreams. All of the families start each new school year hoping that this year will be "the year" for their child. They hope that their child will reach their full developmental, academic, social, emotional and physical potential, that they will bond with their new teacher and that they will be happy and have a wonderful year.

These are the same things that we all want for our children but it is very intimidating to be the one charged with meeting those expectations. With class sizes growing every year - I have 28 students this year - the demands seem virtually impossible to meet. I know that I will do my best and this will be a good year for all of my students but I also know that there will be some needs that I just can't meet.

I am working on trying to balance my expectations of myself so that I have the energy and stamina to begin to meet all of these needs and keep that energy going throughout the year. I am going to try to stay focused on the child in front of me at the moment and not let myself be swallowed up in thinking about how many needs  there are to be met. What about you? How do you keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed by all the needs you are facing and that you need to try to meet?