Today I wore my camouflage Walla Walla County Fair hat, but you know that is not what I really mean…
Last month I posted the blog: Extra-Curricular Involvement, and discussed the activities hosted at my high school. I questioned WHY teachers and students are involved in the numerous activities offered. I listed the many reasons that students partake, ranging from “it is my life” to “my mom makes me.” I also discovered that teachers want to offer the best high school experience possible.
I would like to offer my semi-seasoned advice to that teacher or mentor who has a full-time job either at the school, or elsewhere. They have the passion to help kids, and yet are feeling exhausted as we enter the ever so timely spring break. At no time, will I EVER say I am offering my expertise. After 12 years, I am still wondering how on Earth am I going to get all of this done, and still agree to take on one more thing.
HATS ON MY SHELF
I am a secondary Agriculture Science Instructor.
I am the middle school and high school website coordinator.
I am the FFA advisor. *
I am the Walla Walla County Fair FFA Swine superintendent.
I am a Waitsburg Junior Livestock Show board member.
I am the agriculture department chair. (OK, just kidding, head of one…)
I am a wife.
I am a mom.
I am a community member.
*What does FFA involve? Currently I have students getting ready to raise livestock. They are also practicing for contests such as public speaking, veterinary science, food science, livestock judging, meats evaluation, applying for state and national awards, and trap shooting.
Today is the beginning of spring break. We had ½ a day. The first ½ we took the entire school to the Walla Walla VA to conduct community service. That was a great activity! I edited a sophomore’s speech manuscript so we could submit it to the state for scoring. I made sure the kids’ National Chapter application was received at OSPI. I sat in Les Schwab’s parking lot for one hour talking to a Fish and Game employee about the pheasants we are going to start raising next week. Then I came home, played with my son, mowed the yard, cooked dinner, put son to bed, and now am writing this post. I do not list this to get a pat on the back. I want to look at how I can get this and everything else done, and hopefully help someone along the way.
SO HOW CAN WE DO IT ALL?
(And not burn out).
It has taken me ten years to figure a few simple things out:
Again, I would like to reiterate that I am not an expert and writing this is helping me to see my growth and flaws. The single most helpful goal I have had the last two years is asking people for help. I cannot coach everything. I do not know everything, and that is ok. I have a parent who is a nutritionist. She is coaching the Food Science team. I have a parent who is a Veterinary tech. She is coaching Veterinary Science team. I have a community member who loves to shoot trap. He is coaching the trap shooting team. I need to ask the John Deere instructor if he will come in a few times a year to teach specific lesson for agriculture mechanics. I need to take the meats team to the local butcher shop, who happens to help coach the Oregon State meat evaluation team. The list goes on and on. The trick is to find those strengths in the community. The FFA Alumni Association has created a check sheet (page 1) (page 2) that you are free to edit to fit your needs. Send this home with the syllabus at the beginning of the year. Ask the parents to fill it out and return it to you. Now you have a list of activities that parents are willing to help with. There are people out there who WANT to help. Often they just need to be asked. They do not want to overstep, or get in your way, or are just not sure how to offer.
Writing everything down helps you to see what is realistic, what is worth the time, and helps you actually get it all done.
Finally, just say no. You are a go getter, and everyone knows it. They are going to come to you because you are reliable, and they know you want what is best. You also know that sometimes (many times) it is easier to do it yourself. That is not what is best for you.
Sometimes we do just have to push through. However, when a break comes around, make time for yourself and your family. I am still working on this. The life of an ag teacher’s kid is an interesting one. My two-year-old son has already been to many stock shows, trap shoots, state and national conventions, basketball games, and has to sit in the classroom and draw on the board with markers. My goal is to keep honing in on that balance. I hope you can find it too.