During our school district summer administrator leadership institute, we were given the opportunity to pick a post card from a table full of post cards. I do not know just how many post cards were there but I am sure that we had well over 100 to choose from. The post cards were typical post cards, each having their own scene on one side, and the usual mailing and message info on the other side. We were told to pick a post card that we could relate to and that could be aligned to one of our professional goals. I looked at several and then I found a post card that spoke to me. Here is the post card.
As you can see, it is a picture of a serene forest setting. A nice mix of trees, open space, and light. There are large trees and small trees. The bright green of the trees contrasts very well with the dark brown of the soil. It looks like a forest that is several hundred years old.
It spoke to me for two reasons. The first is that I am an outdoorsman at heart. I absolutely love to be outside either working around my house, helping my wife plant flowers and vegetables, improving the landscape, camping in state and national parks, hiking, hunting, exercising, and sitting around a bright campfire. All those things come to mind for me when I look at the post card.
The second reason I chose this card is because it serves as a reminder. A reminder that when I am in the middle of my work as an educator I cannot lose sight of the forest for the trees. I think all of us need that reminder from time to time. It is easy for us to allow ourselves to get so bogged down in the details of our work that we lose sight of the bigger picture. It is this bigger picture that helps to keep everything in perspective. The bigger picture provides the relevance to our daily work and reminds of what is most important.
As educators, what is most important is our students and their learning. As we find ourselves in the middle of the spring semester it is easy to become bogged down in the day to day of our work. Stress levels are high because, for most of us, state assessments are coming. Students (and teachers for that matter) are becoming restless due to the warmer weather outside. The end to the school year is coming into sight but it is far enough that we still have lots of work to be done.
When you find yourself in this situation, when you feel like you are overwhelmed and stressed to the max, take a moment to think of the bigger picture of your students’ learning. How does what is stressing you fit into that picture? How vital is whatever is overwhelming you to the bigger picture? Be willing to take that step back and ask yourself, “Where does this fit in the overall scheme of what needs to be accomplished?” When you do that, you may find that you have been focusing on the details so much that you have lost sight of the bigger picture.
Think. Achieve. Succeed.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. What works for you when you feel like you are overwhelmed and stressed. Feel free to share below!
Director of Instruction and Leadership Development
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
Images & Quotes that Inspire