Welcome to being a secondary vocal music educator in Oklahoma where all of your district choir, all state choir, Circle the State with Song Children's festival, and children's all state chorus entries have to be turned in within the same time frame to four different people. Let's don't forget about the concert that is happening in three weeks, the auditions for district honor choir and for all state are looming, the children's all state CDs that need to be made, the purchase orders that need to be opened, the t-shirts that need to be ordered, the fundraiser that needs to be mailed off, and oh let's not forget about that whole teaching thing that needs to happen. During my first year of teaching I had a major meltdown around this time. All of the stress of the paperwork(which there should be an undergraduate class in paperwork) and it being my first year teaching, I lost it. Sitting in my office after school, ugly crying. I promised myself after that moment each year would be different. But....it never fails, the end of September meltdown. It came yesterday, along with all of the feelings with it. Each year, each ugly crying overwhelmed fit comes with the biggest scariest thought I have...I have failed and I'm not enough.
Failure is my biggest fear. They idea of failure and that it could happen has always motiviated me, but that own fear of failure has at many times caused way more stress than needed in my life. I have even written about my fear of failure
The What If GameSurely I can't be the only educator that has this little meltdown. Surely I'm not the only one who thinks that my enough is not enough. At the end of the day yesterday, I sat in my office in my classroom cried for a good fifteen minutes and then went home and cried for another thirty minutes. As I sat there on my couch sobbing into my mint chocolate chip ice cream, my thoughts were consumed with thoughts of failure and jumping to conclusions. I jump to conclusions like it is a high dive into a pool full of jello. What if that purchase order doesn't get opened? What if that entry didn't go through? What if I don't have a student make district honor choir? What if my all state CDs have one minor flaw and they get disqualified? What if? What if? What if?
Let's just take a look at all the things that mentioned. All of these things are important and all of the things are just a part of my job. Do any of those things have anything to do with teaching choral music? Okay maybe the honor choir is about teaching choral music. Because here is the thing, those things...they don't show that my enough is enough. So yesterday when I was sobbing into my mint chocolate chip ice cream was I thinking about how I got 29 middle school boys to cut off at the same time and not sing through a rest? That was no easy feat. Was I thinking about how the same group of 7th grade girls that last year as sixth graders that struggled with two part harmony successfully sang in the three part harmony? Was I thinking about how adorably polite and loving my sixth grade girls class is every single day? Was I thinking about how my Fine Arts class rocked their STOMP Projects? The things that I am judging my abilities and my enough as a teacher are in fact aspects of my job that truly are not related to my teaching, but are just the by product of being a secondary Vocal Music teacher. Then it hit me, my enough is more enough.
My Enough is Enough, Your Enough is Enough.While yes, the paperwork side of my job is important, at the end of the day being the best educator, musician, leader, and person is what my students need and more importantly what they deserve. To put it simply, it was never about me anyways. At the end of the day it is always about the hundred and forty lives that I get to educate, enrich, and more importanlty love every day. My enough is more than enough for them.
So for the rest of this school year, when I'm tempted to have that little meltdown. When I'm tempted to believe that I'm not enough. When I'm tempted believe that I am not a good teacher. I need to remember my enough is enough and no matter what my kids making beautiful music and becoming good people is all that matter. So my friends whether you are a teacher, a student, or involved in another career just remember your enough is always enough.