In the many tasks you’re trying to accomplish, are you doing the best you can? Perhaps a better question is, should you be?
Recently someone made a comment to me that made me think about us as teachers, and parents, and coaches, and servants, and how we stress about not being able to do any one thing as well as we’d like because of our divided goals. He said that he heard someone say
I’m doing the best I can.
and he thought, why? In his opinion, it’s wrong to do the best you can, because if you’re doing your best at something, you’re neglecting something else.
Many days, when someone says to me,
I don’t know how you do it all.
Sure, but you don’t know what I’m not doing or what I could be doing if I could just focus.
Many days, when my husband asks me,
How are you doing?
I feel so divided. I love playing with my kids, and being a teacher, and writing curriculum, and coaching teachers, and serving at church, and getting ready to homeschool, and planning my little girl’s birthday party, but I feel like I’m doing so many things I’m not doing any of them well.
Perhaps you feel the same way. For some of you, the answer may be in giving something up. It’s not for me. I’ve actually given up everything I’m willing to give up. I will not be in the classroom next year because not enough students at my school elected AP, but I will be “in the classroom” homeschooling my own children, so I’m simply trading one type of teaching for another. I’m not willing to give up on my ebooks or resources I offer. I love doing the Black Box Podcast. I’m maxed out on curriculum review contracts right now and I’m not willing to take on any more but I’m not willing to give up the ones I’m working on. I’m not willing to stop exercising or sleep even less. I’m certainly not going to stop serving at church. So what’s the solution for me?
What’s the solution for you?
You’re doing a great job, teacher. You’re caring about your students and whether or not they can do something in the language you’re teaching. You’re loving your kids and/or your spouse and/or your cat. You’re even planting an occasional flower or making the occasional encouraging phone call. Did I see you give up that close parking space last week? Didn’t you stroll around the block a couple of days ago? (Wait, the gym? You made it to the GYM? Way to go!)
Breathe. Relax. Set a timer, grade a paper, do a few jumping jacks, and breathe some more. Realize that by doing a good job instead of the best job you’re actually helping more people than you were otherwise. So stop telling yourself that you’re “doing the best I can” and start telling yourself, “It’s a lie that I need to be the best. I am being the one they need right now.”