Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ok, it's not so bad after all!

Did I just type that? Do I really believe that? Here's the thing...I struggle with the following things:

1) I love my job but hate the stress!
2) I could retire but the thought freaks me out!
3) The thought freaks me out because it feels like a teetering bridge to old age!
4) I don't want to get old!
5) I pretend that I can stop it by just not retiring!
6) Retiring though would reduce the stress!
7) Ultimately stress makes you old before your time!
8) And...I don't want to get old!!!
9) Maybe I'm already old and just don't know it!
10) Can I just concentrate on being young one day at a time?

Do you see the dilemma? There are times at work where I feel completely on top of the world! It's during those times that I think that I could possibly work forever.

Then there are times, I like to call them "the great equalizers" when I feel as though I do something that brings me literally to my knees! It happened this week.

We struggle with trying to tell people as politely as possible that they need to continue to improve their skills so that they stay relevant in today's market. Teachers seem to think that they will always be relevant! I made the mistake this week of using one person by name as an example of someone who had not kept her skills sharp. She retires this year! The conversation happened because we are contemplating not filling her position. This leaves a potentially heavier work load for others but more importantly a change in their schedules. Well, word got back to this poor person that I had "bashed" her good name! I quickly sent an apology but the reality is that I can't stop thinking about how sad the whole thing is.

It saddens me that others in my field hold on so hard to the past that they do not see the changes happening. They don't hear other's whispers. "How soon before Mary retires?" "How much longer are we going to have to keep doing things in this outdated way?" "What is the purpose of her position anyway?" "Couldn't we save money if we just didn't fill that position?"

I said the words outloud! I then apologized because no one should hear something like that two weeks before they retire! I would hate for others to be thinking or saying that about me!

How does one know when it's time if people are afraid to say the words outloud? The great equalizer this week is that this person, who has lost relevance, could be me!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May Day! May Day!

I've let some time lapse since the last blog. I was gently reminded!

As I read through the past one, I realized that the focus was on the potential rough times ahead and now I can clearly say "Yes" it has been a Lion kind of spring! Dealing with change brings out the monster in some people. Let's just say that it has not been easy. Some teachers are actully claiming that the stress of this past year is the reason that they are retiring! Other teachers say that the mood in their school is so toxic that they try to stay clear of everyone just staying in their classrooms and doing their job!

So, why change then? Why go through the ordeal? If the act of changing causes so much anxiety and stress, why do we not just keep everything the same? I think that it's because we truly can not stop it! Whether we want to change or not, change happens! Everyday, we are older - like it or not - and everyday weather changes, seasons change, life moves on!

So...the school district has weathered the storm of a new online learning initiative and a major decision to evaluate the role of school librarians. One would have thought the world was coming to an end! Teachers banded together to bully their collegues into signing petitions against the online movement and still other teachers used students to petition the school board about proposed changes in librarian coverage in our schools. One board member reprimanded the teachers saying this is not the way to communicate your displeasure. Will it stop them though? Probably not. It's a fighter stance where they are holding on for dear life to the past.

Teachers have always thought that their role was so necessary that nothing could take away the need. However, the economy has been rocked this past year. People everywhere are losing their jobs, their homes and more. And in the midst of all of this, teachers are demanding that their union rule. They believe that not only should their jobs be secure but decisions about changes should not occur without their input.

And so, where will it land? Change will happen! What else? It's just too soon to see who the survivors will be!