You are Replaceable!
Ok, I’m not trying to make you feel bad or anything, but you are replaceable!
You may be wondering what I am talking about. Let me explain. When I first started teaching I had this phobia of being gone (anyone else- I know you are out there). I thought there was absolutely no way anyone could do my job for me and I would write every single little detail into all of my sub plans. I remember being so embarrassed my first year. I wrote in the sub plan exactly how line up, how to get the kids attention, and what to say like a script. Then, a veteran retired art teacher happened to land the job for that day and it was pretty laughable. She didn’t need all of that, she was a teacher for crying out loud, she knows how to do the basics of teaching! Each year this controlling nature got better and better for me, as I realized that things do come up, I have meetings to attend, I do get sick and have to be gone. I quickly realized that people are capable, they can problem solve, and while it’s great to be organized and prepared, they’ll figure it out and if they can’t, it will all be ok.
My “this will all be ok” mentality really hit home when I embarked on planning for my 3 month maternity leave. I could only do so much to prepare for the day I would go into labor, for this day would not determined by me, but by nature. I would not return the next day, and someone would have to fill in and pick up the pieces wherever they were left. Someone else would be making decisions for my students and working in my classroom for three months, and it’s ok. I don’t regret all the planning that I did, and I don’t regret how long it took to get everything lined up. It’s really given me piece of mind to NOT think about school this whole time and be able to focus on my family.
Now, as I think about going back to work in one month, I know I will need to keep this laid back attitude about being gone. Kids get sick, you get sick, family needs you and I can’t be in 5 places at once. This will sure be a new transition, but I think this progression of loss of control has taught me that yes, I am replaceable, and although no one is “Me,” or will do things just the way I would, things are ok and life goes on. The students are learning, the art department meetings are being run, and nothing has crumbled and fell to the ground without me.
I am replaceable. Sad but true. And it feels kind of nice at the same time. Weird.
Do you ever worry about being gone? What coping strategies have you come across?