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Letter of reflection

December 12, 2015

The edge is where life happens. But let’s notice where we are and not lose our balance (Wheatley, 2010, p.131).


Dear me,

Four days of this final school term remain…

You find these end of year processes difficult.
Fear not.
Stay with the moments, and this feeling of vague unease. It too will pass.
Students begin to ask: will you be teaching us next year? You watch their expressions. Prevaricate. Who knows?
Posters are torn from walls. Chairs are in disarray. Scribbled notes appear on boards. Work here is almost, not quite, done.  Inconsistencies prevail. Things are undoing, but still incomplete.
Staff wonder aloud about next year’s classes. This too is of the moment. Filling time & space. Waitspace.
What if?
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Pressures of relief escalate with planning days/ time off in lieu. How apt this is: TOIL.
Staff who have won positions elsewhere show renewed verve. They are smiling. Others are wondering their own what ifs? Should I also…
Some who are leaving are touchstones, culture bearers. You are happy for their successes, realised ambitions and dreams fulfilled. While driving home you sense the momentary sadness of imminent loss. Stay there and notice. It will pass.
What you had is all there was.
That’s enough.
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Soup of emotions. Murky. Others along with your own. See where they meet in groundswelling currents. Longing. Desire. Fear & concerns. Pressures swell. Then abate.
Walking the edge never stops being dangerous. At any moment, when we’re tired, overwhelmed, fed-up, sick, we can forget where we are and get ourselves in trouble. We can lapse into despair or anger (Wheatley, 2010, p. 131).
Office spaces shifting mean complaints are amplified.
Refrain from comment.
There is nothing more pressing than this realisation: in one week, two, concerns will dissipate.
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Breathe. Ill feeling will heal. People move on. You are moving through.
Here you are, then: Bearing witness.
Knowing our ground, and knowing it well, consciously attending to it and taking good care – this is the only way to withstand turbulence (Wheatley, 2010, p. 135).
Selected reference
Wheatley, M. (2010). Perseverance. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen Johnson permalink
    December 17, 2015 11:47 am

    Thank you my dear friend and colleague!!

  2. December 19, 2015 5:55 am

    “Refrain from comment!” To use your wonderful language – an APT approach to those moments we dare approach the edge and look over. We can be on perfectly solid ground while bordering an abyss. Wheatley – in your able hands – never sounded better!! We will actually see rain in California this winter – today, our last day before a two week holiday, is gray, blustery…kids and adults on edge, somewhere between riot and celebration!

    Cheers, and happy end of term. To the beach!!

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