The past week came and went by so quickly that despite having a public holiday one day, I was exhausted by the weekend, and my to do list had grown in length. My happiness and sense of engagement continues to grow also.
The students have embraced the library with glee, but not to read sadly. Most breaks we have almost standing room only, but very, very few are interested in the books, or reading. The literacy level of our students is not high, which is to be expected as our school caters to the lower socio economic levels (we are a private school, but our fees are the lowest in the area). Also, we have a sizeable indigenous and immigrant population, who have English as their second language.
So, the main brief I have is to increase those literacy levels. I am working on a [insert college name] Reads! program, starting with a blitz on boys reading. I am using Guys Read! as my starting point and so late last week I started ordering in more suitable books. Lots more non-fiction, which boys prefer, and graphic novels which the less literate find easier; as well as books of short stories so that they feel a sense of achievement when they complete a story.
This coming week I am taking several year eight classes for library skills. I am starting from a very basic level, going right back to parts of a book. I find that most students don’t know how to use the contents or index sections of a book, and these areas are a great help for forming keyword searches online. So, I am starting there and then of course onto online searching and resources.
At night I am finding it difficult to fall asleep, as my mind is racing with lists and ideas. And anxious thoughts: am I good enough? will I interest them in reading?
Thursday night I got less than 4 hours of sleep. This is not good, as my days are busy and I need to be alert and energetic; not flagging by lunch time. As my front office wall is floor to ceiling glass I can’t curl up under my desk for a power nap either!
I have reflected on this over the weekend and I have come to realise that I am already falling into old patterns. My habit is to strive for perfection, but not only perfection, but to also complete projects faster than anticipated and to a higher level. Oh, I get results all right, but my levels of anxiety and apprehension go through the roof. as well. This impacts on my health as I suffer from high blood pressure. My body is telling me it doesn’t like what I am doing to it!
My old patterns are bad patterns. I need to change.
Serendipity being what it is, it came into play over the weekend, and I came across the quote: I will hold myself to a state of grace rather than perfection.
Those words will mean different things to different readers, but to me, it means perfection is self defeating. Instead, I shall strive to achieve to do honour, or credit to myself and also to bring honour and credit to my school.
It means I will try my best, know I have tried my best, and be confident that by doing so, I will be enough. As such, I will hold myself to a state of grace, rather than to perfection, for perfectionism is self defeating
How many perfectionists have found that no matter how hard they try that bar just seems to get further and further away?
Because we keep moving our own bar!
I am not going to defeat myself anymore. I will no longer put my health at risk, and drown myself in anxiety and stress, which achieves absolutely nothing. I will strive to let go of old patterns of behaviour and thought, and I will try to create new patters that enhance my health and my life.
The first thing I am choosing to do, is to interrupt those negative anxious thoughts. I am trying to learn to interrupt the voices in my head, to say to myself “is that really true?” and to breath deep and let the thought flow away. Right now I am probably only successful about fifty percent of the time, but I am trying my best. That’s enough isn’t it, my best? Always.
Another door opened.