The water came on unexpectedly, pooling quickly ’round my ankles, rising relentlessly, flooding my hopes, drowning my dreams. And though I bailed water as a man possessed, I had to make the call dreaded by all captains, “Abandon ship!” We were going down.
I thought her seaworthy. I thought her well-planned and built. I thought her invulnerable to danger. I thought wrong, for moments after her christening, the sound of breaking glass still a faint echo on the salty air, trouble set in. We weren’t even out of the harbor before she began listing and then sinking, disappearing into the depths below. A fail of titanic proportions.
Okay. Here goes. Things did not go as planned with the conferences yesterday. Though I believed I had come up with a solid approach to the midterm progress reports, I quickly discovered that my diligently-detailed plan was not really working out the way I had hoped.
First, it was taking way too long. And while I had certainly anticipated the time factor in the process, we were on pace to be done by the end of the term. Parents would get the midterm by term’s end. Good plan, Sy. Solid. And what was vexing is that the time sucker was not a drawn-out discussion. I could live with that. The time sucker was the paperwork. In my efforts to create a comprehensive view of the kids’ progress to share with parents, I, in reality, created a convoluted mess, a monster that was sucking the life out of my most-looked-to moments with kids. Despair and doubt had risen, leviathans from the abyss, wrapping their tentacles ’round my spirit, dauntless no more.
Second, most important, the brief conversations that were taking place felt stilted and artificial. I knew it. The kids knew it. And with that, the listing ship, sunk quickly, prompting the call, and I enmeshed in my own mess, prepared to do what all worthy captains do, go down with the ship.
And for a moment, I resigned to the descent, the downward spiral into self-loathing and pity, surrendering to doubt and despair, finally free from the torment of my own tempest. But then, I woke the hell up and started swimming towards the light on the surface with shades of life boats bobbing above, filled with a crew still in need of a captain to see them safely ashore. And so, I rose. Pity party over. Resolve renewed. Ship was gone, but my crew remained. I would not abandon them.
So, I came up with a new plan. I threw the reports in the recycle bin, apologized to the kids for my fail, grabbed some notebook paper, and engaged the kids in real conversations about their learning. And soon, we were under sail again, moving steadily with the breeze of hope.
In the end, I made a mistake. In the end, I learned. I fall victim at times to worrying more about how it will look without than how it will work within. The reports looked impressive, and while they may have won over the doubting critic with their officiousness, they, in the end, were really just false fronts that didn’t fit. I am sorry that I lost sight. Next time, I will make myself walk the plank before compromising the vessel with my shortsighted schemes.
Happy Tuesday, all. Hope to find calmer seas today.