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The Road Ahead

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Next week marks the end of the longest school year I have ever experienced. It didn't have any more days than a normal school year, but since March of last school year, everything has blended together due to the pandemic. I'm exhausted and mentally taxed. I'm sure other people in the profession can relate. For those that ever wonder why schools have summer breaks, it is not because of the old agrarian calendar of past centuries, it is because the job of teaching is the toughest job around and teachers need some time away to rejuvenate, reflect, and refill their metaphorical buckets. Because of this, I have been thinking a lot about the road ahead. I've been on numerous road trips with my family over the years and there is one thing that is certainly true. While I love my family dearly, being confined in a vehicle for multiple hours with the same people can raise the anxiety and stress level of all those involved. While there are numerous distractions available like cell

Togetherness

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  This past weekend, my bride and I hosted a graduation party for our daughter. I was in a nostalgic mood the entire weekend as we went through the graduation ceremony, got the house set up for family guests, and looking at photo albums that showed the various stages of my little girl's life. I'm not going to lie, I broke down a few times just thinking about how time has flown by, but those were mixed in with tears of joy because of the awesome human being she has grown into. I began to think about what the next few years had in store for us as a family and I had an overwhelming sense of peace come over me as I reflected because as my own parents and siblings showed up to the party, I thought about how we have managed to stick together for so long. When my family and I moved to Arkansas three years ago, I knew there were going to be moments that were going to be rough. My parents live in Arizona and my three sisters live in Nebraska. Now that I was in Arkansas, I knew that seei

Running on Empty

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  I could feel it coming. I had seen the signs for weeks, but ignored them. I was getting moody, moving more slowly, eating poorly, not following my exercise regimen, and closing myself off from others. I found myself working late into the evenings because things just had to get done because there was no time during the day to accomplish everything. It always happens this time of year as the school year is coming to a close, but every year, I always think things are going to be different. I then get a reality check and I am put on notice that things are in fact, not different. I'm exhausted and running on empty. We all hit the proverbial wall at some point. We either fail to recognize the signs or we simply ignore them because they are inconvenient at the time. We think that if we just power through, exert more effort and energy, and hope for the best we will be fine and everything we are experiencing will pass. The problem is that this is flawed thinking and we are headed down a r

What A Difference A Year Makes

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  This past week, I was cleaning up my Google Drive and purging some documents that were no longer of importance. It is something that I do every year around this time while I am beginning my transition from school year mode to summer work mode. This year, I am going to have to spend some more time because I have been looking over A LOT of documents related to the COVID-19 pandemic. I realized very early on that I needed to start a COVID-19 folder and then create a variety of sub-folders that could organize all of the electronic documents that I had created and had been shared on. Two folders in particular that I spent a great deal of time sorting through were the reopening of school folder and the pandemic graduation folder. As I went through the various documents, I am amazed at how far my school has come in such a short period of time. The planning that we did on the front end allowed our school to stay open all year long to in-person instruction. It certainly wasn't easy, but w

Value Added

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I've written before that when I make an attempt to work out, I have to surround myself with distractions (music, television, etc.) to take my mind off the fact that I am doing something that I really don't want to do even though I know it is good for me. Recently, I've been listening to a podcast on Spotify called Weekly Motivation by Ben Lionel Scott. He compiles excerpts of motivational speeches and mixes in music in the background that helps you get over that hump which you really don't want to travel. Recently, as I was catching up on the old podcasts that I had missed, there was a portion from Jeremy Anderson entitled Define Your Worth that really got me thinking. As I listened to his inspiring words, I couldn't help but think about the year we have gone through as educators and how we have questioned ourselves about our effectiveness and been questioned by others about our role in the process of educating our students. We've struggled with defining our o

Lost

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Part of my Sunday routine is to spend a couple of hours writing. It is sacred time for me to reflect on the past week and it gives me time to really center myself for the week ahead. Normally, I am able to get thoughts written down fairly easy after a walk or hearing a church sermon, but lately, I have encountered a case of writer's block and I am finding myself lost. This feeling is certainly not due to lack of material because I am always able to talk about a variety of subjects, but rather, it is a sense that what I want to write about may miss the mark of what I am trying to convey or is just recycled material from previous things I've written about. It is a terrible feeling because there is a great sense of inadequacy that accompanies this feeling and avoidance typically follows with the hope that something will eventually come to mind. Well, nothing is coming to mind and here I am writing about it and becoming increasingly frustrated with the fact that I am lost and there

The Long View

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Quite a few years ago I had a job interview in a small Nebraska town for an athletic director position. It was a beautiful little town with a strong academic and athletic tradition and I thought it was the perfect fit for me. At the time, my wife and I were living in a small town outside of Lincoln and we decided that we would travel together and check out the town. We agreed that I would get the skinny on the school during the interview process and she would scout the town while I was in my interviews. After all, interviews aren't just for people to get to know you, it is a time for you to get to know the people and community. On the day of the interview, we packed up and drove three hours to town and left in plenty of time to do some driving around ahead of time. My wife then dropped me off at the Superintendent's office and drove away. I had four interviews that day with the Superintendent, a teacher group, a student group, and the Board of Education. In each one, I expresse