Potential, peripherals, inspiration. . . . 

Elizabeth Gilbert is all about inspiration in her new book, Big Magic. I’ve been listening to it daily on my commute to and from work. But this is not a good idea for me. I want to note, mark, agree, highlight, question, and, well, that is not possible with an audio book. So I bought the hard copy. I’ll go back and reread, annotate, and mark to my heart’s delight! But truth be told– who has time for that?! There is a reason why I first bought it on Audible. I can’t seem to find the time to sit and read right now.
I am bursting though. Her words are inspiring because she’s inspired. They foster an urge to act. Even more so, to create. So as I drop my son off at soccer, I try to decide where to go. (Yes, I leave. Really- he is in capable, adult hands, and I don’t really need to sit and watch a series of drills in order to be a “good mom.”) Where to go. . . . Not really feeling like a beer or glass of wine. Not really hungry. Green tea sounds delightful, but I don’t feel coffee-shopish. Then it hits me- the bookstore! I LOVE bookstores! I know, I just complained about not reading, but a bookstore is so much more. 
Potential. That’s what is in a bookstore. The shelves are lined with potential. Guides to become something, learn something, teach something, study something. Writers offer up their souls after sharing their struggles, while sharing their struggles. Some have it figured out, others are on their own journey. My soul is at peace in a bookstore because I feel that all the answers exist inside somewhere. Not in one book, but collectively. In everyone’s story. In everyone’s struggle, in everyone’s success. 
Not to mention the peripherals. The two college students discussing frustrations with the store manager at American Eagle. When they first became friends with a mutual acquaintance. The woman sitting, with her mouth slightly open and tongue protruding, skimming through a book about the Paleo Diet before picking up a diabetes cookbook. These peripherals remind me of what it was like to be young and working on figuring out life. Remind me to be grateful that I am not diabetic and, while I enjoy the Paleo diet plan, I am not beholden to it.
The inspiration comes from seeing the stacks and stacks of books written by people who “did it.” They did it. They wrote a book. They learned something. They can teach something. They did it. Their words are out there and it’s up to someone else to buy the book and read it, but they have done their part to satisfy the universe. 
I find peace here. I love that it is so organized- genre, alphabetical, visually displayed. I love the selection and variety. I love the randomly placed comfy chairs, tables with students on laptops, kids with their parents cozied up in reading corners. 
Just walking through the aisles I feel a mix of calm and a call of action wash over me. The titles alone beg attention. The covers have been explicitly designed to appeal to the passerby to stop and pause. Such a flood of words opens my mind to possibility. Could I? Why not? Would anyone read it? Maybe not. What would I write about? I don’t know. But, again, channeling Elizabeth Gilbert, you don’t write for “them.” You write for you. And if you’re lucky, you might write something wonderful. 

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What is best for kids . . . .

Go ahead. Google the phrase “What is best for kids.”  You will get a long list of sites, blogs and information for administrators. One of my favorite people to follow on Twitter is even listed on the first page-  so I don’t mean to present this as a completely negative outcome. 

My point is this: What is actually meant when administrators use the phrase “What is best for kids”?
On a day that teachers are attending building opening meetings, it seems to be the top catch phrase. 
I understand that for some situations, it may be said in an effort to make some hard choices, or to get outside of our own egos, comfortable spaces, old habits and fixed Mindsets. 
But does it carry an implied message? When it follows new procedures, policies, or assignment changes, it can feel manipulative, subversive, or at best, condescending. 
This last year I was shifted from my role teaching 7th grade English/Accelerated English to a schedule with three different Reading classes and three regular English classes. This shift also included being moved “off-team” from three fantastic educators that I worked with very well. 
When I asked for reasons for this shift, it came down to the need to fill positions with people that were “highly qualified” and this included moving a 9th grade teacher into 7th grade classes. This teacher was adamant about not wanting to teach 7th grade. She felt she was not a good fit with the – let’s say- energy level of that age group. 
The solution was to put her “on-team” where she would have “support.”
This move was filed under the phrase: We believe this is what is best for kids. 
I am incredibly grateful to have had the summer for reflection and “silver lining” finding, however, I still chew on this phrase. 
From my perspective, “what is best for kids” would be access to a teacher passionate about teaching the writing skills assigned to the 7th grade English  curriculum. A teacher who thoroughly enjoys the transformation of student during the 7th grade year from children to young adults. A teacher who works well with the teachers of the other subjects and meets on a daily basis. 
Is this the whole picture? No. It’s my perspective. Could there be more to it? Certainly. Are kids really going to be traumatized by this decision? Doubtful. 
I welcome and appreciate the opportunity to grow from this new challenge, as is the new 7th grade English teacher. We can’t change our situation, but we CAN change out attitudes. 

I continue to hear “What is best for kids” as the final line from administration. 

I would appreciate if ownership was taken that it is THEIR VIEW of “what is best for kids.”  I have wondered, “Why don’t they realize that is EXACTLY what I’m trying to do?”

Let’s talk. Let’s drop the lines that can imply a lack of effort, caring, intelligence and, especially, professionalism: what’s best for kids, just use common sense, etc.