Authored by: Hollie Marjanovic
Here we are already into one month of school and talking about good intentions. When I heard this topic, I thought about the saying “the road to hell was paved with good intentions.” So, I hope that the choice of this topic was not because we are all thinking that the year has already gone to hell or that we are on some collective road to hell. Although, the last weeks of August might have felt like it.
An example of a good intention–About a week ago, I placed 10 one gallon jugs in my car to fill with water for our house in Jackson and still they remain empty in the back of my car – just rolling around and with every turn I’m reminded that they are still there…the sound of plastic crashing and crinkling. The good intention is that I want to be environmentally friendly by filling the jugs with water at school and not consuming more plastic. I’m so thankful that we can fill our bottles at school and take showers there. I enjoy the time I have spent standing next to other Jacksonian colleagues filling water bottles in the faculty workroom. It’s fascinating that when people come to my house now, instead of bringing a bottle of wine, it’s a bottle of water…I could go on, but back to my intention– it hasn’t happened yet. This is largely because it is overwhelming to look at all of those bottles, to take the time to fill them and walk them back to the car (can we say new workout regimen!).
This summer the TEAM group got together and we talked about a theme for the year and one of the ideas was along the lines of “keep it simple.” When faculty arrived in August, so many of us had such fantastic ideas about what new things we would do in our classroom. The coaches had dreams about how their teams would do this year. The SSS people had ideas about the programming we could do in the realm of social and emotional learning. Then by Labor Day we realized that being in school actually involves these people called students who might not be ready for our plans or have their own plans. We realize that schedules sometimes shift and that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Injuries and illness occur–COVID and Flu reports already and athletic injuries! Record amounts of rain happened with leaks in so many places around campus. Then flooding, port-a-potties at the LS (AGAIN!)….then the ongoing water crisis in Jackson became a catastrophe that caught national news. The plans we had to start the year had to be adjusted. The good intentions we had for lessons might have translated into having too much to grade with not enough time to set up the activities we wanted to do or maybe we felt like we weren’t living up to the standards we set just less than a month ago. All of these thoughts mock us, just like my unfilled water bottles.
The thing about good intentions is that we often have really big and great ideas and we make a schedule to accomplish them. Then other realities happen which mean that sometimes (most of the time, I’m finding) we need to allow for adaptation of our plans. And, that is okay! We are not less than amazing if we adapt! We can work together and find ways to uphold our standards and do what might have seemed impossible. Keeping it simple, doesn’t have to mean that we aren’t doing amazing things, it means that we are realistic about the amazing things we can do.
Back to my water story– I have a lot of bottles to fill, my plan is now to place two in my front seat every other day. It is a lot less overwhelming to visualize and a lot more doable. I can accomplish my goal of filling these bottles, I just have to take a different approach. Oh, and if I don’t remember, I’m going to be nice to myself when we have to buy yet another plastic bottle. I’m thankful to be in a community where we have access to water, even if it’s just not from our tap.
This year, let’s be good to ourselves and realize that August might have seemed like we were living in some sort of crazy hell, but we are making it and I see good things all around! Our students are learning, our pep rallies have been so much fun, the band sounds amazing, field trips are back on again. Keep your grand plans and continue to be as creative as you can be, but know that the lesson so far has been that our good intentions might be made even better when we allow ourselves to accept the realities around us and adapt. We will always find our way or make one.