Monday, January 4, 2016

The World Returns to Regular Life

In my part of the world, public schools begin again today after a 2 week break.  Those of us teaching college may start classes today or this may be a week of getting ready for those classes.  Those of us who are administrators return too--my hope is that no one has decided to quit in the past two weeks, but if someone must quit, that they do it soon, while I still have time to scramble.

Even those of us who don't have the leisurely breaks of students and teachers are likely coming back to our first full week of work in weeks.  Many of us have had at least one holiday in the past 2 weeks, if not 2.

We return to more sober work places.  Gone are the parties and the decorations and no more plates of holiday treats will be found in our offices.  Many of our colleagues may be more crabby or tired.  Some of us are returning with colds.

I don't have a cold--yet.  My spouse has been fighting off a cold for days, and yesterday and last night, it appears the cold is winning.

I return to work pleased with the things I've accomplished:  I got some writing done, some submitting done, some motorcycle training accomplished.  We took some day trips and saw friends and the family who live nearby.  I had time to see my friend who went to the hospital with a collapsed lung.  I enjoyed events that come only with this holiday:  special church services, looking at Christmas lights, Christmas cookies, that sort of thing.

My guest room is still not organized the way I want it to be.  I still have books that need to be sorted.  I've got mending to do.

I haven't cleaned the house the way I thought I might--but my spouse is going to do some home repair this week, so that's the reason.  We got the pool pump working again.  We planted seeds and bought shrubbery.  Yesterday we washed the motorcycles and the cars--chores we don't do often.

Am I ready to return to work?  In a word, no.  I'd like more time to work on my projects.  I don't know if I'd ever have so much time to work on my projects that I got tired of them and felt ready to return to work.

But I am still happy to have a job with people with whom I truly enjoy working.  I still believe in the field of education, even through the changes that make it more difficult than it used to be (assessment, compliance, HR rules and regulations, record keeping, the adjunctification of the work force, among others).

So, here are my hopes for today.  Let it be a quiet day at work, with no hysterics, no one quitting, no students who feel they have been wronged.  I'd like every day to be a quiet one, but first days back especially.  Let my e-mail inbox be relatively empty.  Let there have been no crises while I have been away.  Let the HVAC system be working so that our moods aren't ugly.  Let us leave our ugly moods aside.

Most of all, let me remember that people are likely to be a bit more fragile today.  Let me treat everyone with great care.

And then, let me be that person every day.  Let me allow bad moods to wash over me and away.  Let me give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Let me remember that everyone is doing the best they can--and let me be present and available to help.

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