‘be the job’


My dad, veteran of WW2, on Saturday mornings would say,

“Nancy, when will you remember this- be the job, great or small, do it right or not at all !”  I’m sure he was thinking that he  had taught the hospital corner to me himself.  After this reprimand, I would retort…

“okay, then I choose NOT AT ALL, I choose that part of the poem.”  I knew all the bed making stuff was really cutting into my cartoon watching time.

Today it was Dave assigning the task before he went to work, “okay, Nanc- you do the upstairs, I’ll do the downstairs.”

Grudgingly, as I was pushing vacuum upstairs,  I thought about those Saturday mornings as I was growing up.  I pushed the vacuum harder- I even put on my glasses so I could see those now silver strands on the bathroom floor and suck them up.  Dave and I had just done this last week, and I was thinking- it is only us now, and we only live in 3 rooms, “Why can’t we just clean up those three?” I was irritated because I had my day laid out before me….write a little, read a little, plan a little, listen to music a little…get distracted a little.. walk a little…write a little.

Ahhh…I know what my friends are thinking.  Nancy, likes things her own way- that is the bottom line.  And you would be very right, I hate cleaning, I hate following a ‘honey do list’ kind of reversed from the norm in our house and what I absolutely value is my choice…my way or the proverbial ‘highway’.  I do value personal choice…in writing and reading workshop and in my free time and how I spend money.  I like to choose the groceries and plan the meals just like Dave loves to choose the plants and the trees and all things that are growing in our yard.  But each week he has to mow the lawn and each week he has to balance my receipts from shopping, also.

Now to the school thing- wow, we all have many things that we love to do with students.

I love:  listening to them, talking to them, having them read to me (at their independent level), and unbelievable as it is, assessing them to figure out part of their puzzle.

Things I do but I don’t choose to do- organizing them, or helping them to learn how to organize, finding new things that will motivate them to read and write, phonics, phonics, more phonics, talking to them every day about why they need to read, read, every night read.

These are my short lists…my long lists deal with the other parts of my job some of which seem very far away from the heart of being a teacher .  We all have our very long lists of what we need to do, the non- negotiable list and also the list that is part of our life as a teacher and as a learner.  I know some days I’m still screaming…NOT AT ALL, I don’t choose this.  But then there are those days when we get a hug around the middle or we feel a tear on our cheek because  one of those fledgling birds have made an inference from a story that far surpasses one that you could have made yourself. And you know it,  that you chose the right profession and even though your hospital corners on your sheets are sometimes rugged, the hard work of loving children is very worth it.

May you have moments like this, and notice them,  in the next few weeks as we “do it right”,  as teachers.   Yep, even when the birds are singing our song outside, and the new novel hasn’t been cracked, and our blog hopping gets shoved aside.  I will make the deliberate choice to lead and love.


About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

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