16 March 2009

Listen to Your Mother

When I graduated from elementary school to junior high, I was very excited. A new school, my friends and I joined together with multiple elementary schools, the opportunity to come together with other people my age... to get to know some new people, and maybe make some new friends. Definitely new opportunities.

After about two weeks at my new school, I remember laying in bed one night, crying. My mom came in, and asked me what was wrong ... keep in mind at this point, the school was 7th through 9th grades. I remember feeling lonely and awful... that my friends had moved on to other friends, and I was suddenly left in the dust. I didn't understand what was wrong with me. Why was I so different? Why did I suddenly not have any friends, and holy crap, why was school so much harder? I felt lost and alone (which, interestingly, describes most of my jr. high and high school career).

My mom offered me a piece of advice that still comforts me to this day... of course, then, I was too young to appreciate its importance, but it didn't take long before I understood.

"When you started out in elementary school, you were a small fish, in a big pond... then as you advanced to 6th grade, you turned into a big fish in a small pond. Now, you've moved up to a new pond, and you will start out as a small fish... but, with time, you'll move up, and be a big fish again. That is how life is, as soon as you learn how to do something well, you've mastered it, and it is time to start something new... from the beginning. We are continually learning, once you've learned something, and how to do it well, it is time to move on and learn something new..."

At the time, this concept was VERY frustrating to me. What is the point of learning something, and getting good at it if it is just going to end, and you have to move on to something else... it seems ridiculous. Now, there is still a small part of me that gets annoyed, but the bigger part is ready to go on to learn something new... once I figure out the thing I've been working to learn. As soon as I seem to have things under control, I wait for that curve ball, and when it comes, I do my best to aim, and fire away. Because, it all seems to be a natural part of the learning process... getting to that mastery point, and starting over with a new concept.

Sometimes I even get impatient... I've learned something, I'm good at it... what the heck is next, and why is it taking so long!?
(yes, I'm part of the 'instant gratification' generation... it's all about me, and it needs to be NOW.)

Sometimes it seems those moments come in quick succession. I think I have a handle on something, it seems to be working out ok... lets give it a twist... and a tweak... and oh hey, we'll turn this part wonky... just for fun.

Bring it on.

As my first school year as a teacher comes to a close (yeah, right... only 2 1/2 months until summer vacation), I'm finding that I very quickly mastered this new situation... and although I still have a TON to learn, I somehow managed to learn to keep my head above water, and even swim when the water got deep. Now, I start my credential program (yes, I should have done it months ago, but I was busy)... I am doing a dual credential (special ed/regular ed - mild to moderate disability) and a masters degree in special education at the same time. If you think that sounds insane, you are very likely right... it sounds pretty nutty to me... but what do I know?

I'm just a little fish in a HUGE pond... once again.


stephanie said...

Moms can be so smart.

Congrats on getting going with your crazy, I mean, challenging and sure to be rewarding :D program!

TO DO LIST said...

I remember that conversation! But it was not quite so eloquent. Thanks for making me look so smart, honey.

You can do this, will do this, and so much more! One day at a time, and keep your eye on the prize.

Tyra said...

You may be a little fish, but you're one hell of a swimmer. :-) I love you!!

I always remember that when I was a little fish up there you helped me merge into the pond and become a big fish.