What Will it Take for You to Finish?

Image may contain: text that says 'Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished. Neil Gaiman quotetancy'I love learning. It’s probably part of why I became a teacher. You can never do it perfectly and there’s always something to learn. No year is ever the same. There are always new students, new teachers, and new challenges keep me fresh so I can always be the teacher my kiddos need.
One thing I’ve learned over the past couple of months? Be careful what you wish for.

“You want a challenge? Gotcha. You want to learn new things? Fantastic. You want to find different ways to connect with kids and get better at what you┬ádo? Hold my beer,” said Covid-19.

Since March 13, I have signed up for approximately 10 remote learning opportunities. I have finished two of them. In my defense, I haven’t officially signed up for one. Another has been deferred until next June. One just started. And a couple of them are anywhere from 20-25 required hours for completion

I am most definitely erring on the side of having too much to do during this pandemic. And I am acutely aware that some people may wonder how the heck a school librarian teaches remotely.

The answer is very carefully.

Yes, I create lesson plans. But remote learning requires me to post a lesson, sit back and watch the magic. I interact with my kiddos when they respond but it’s not the same as being at school.

And yes, there are days like yesterday when I get to go to school, pick up lunches and with some of my incredible colleagues go out to our students’ homes to sing a belated Happy Birthday and give them a treat. For those keeping score, yesterday was the best workday I’ve had since this stuff started.

But mostly, I’ve turned from teacher to learner so that when I get back to school, I can be a better teacher.

Here’s the rub, though. I have to stop starting new stuff and finish the stuff I’ve already started. Finishing will give me a sense of accomplishment that I need to keep motivated and to plan for the implementation that will happen when we get back to school.

Do you have projects you’ve started since being home that have been back burnered? Are they important enough to finish? Why are you struggling? These are daily questions for me.

I know I won’t fail at any of these courses. Only one or two will be graded and I’m pretty sure it’s pass/fail. The ones that I have been avoiding have a product that needs to be completed that I’m not altogether comfortable with. Creating a video with my thoughts on a particular topic and using new technology are two of them.

But I know that if I practice what I preach and move through the discomfort, I’ll learn new skills that will help both me and my students. I cannot, in good conscience tell them to be brave and take risks if I’m not willing to do the same.

So today, I’ve got a list of things I need to create so that I can move forward and finish what I started. In this way, I will continue to learn, to experiment, and to succeed. It’s what I would tell others to do. Now I need to listen to my own advice.

And if there’s stuff you are struggling to finish, know your not alone but also know the learning is embedded in the gift of finishing.