Sometimes You Don’t See the Trees Because of the Forest

Ok it’s 2 am. Can’t sleep. Too much caffeine. Seriously. Never imagined that would happen. Well that and I’m on an air mattress that makes a funky sound when I move. Anyway I’m laying here looking through apps on my phone. So I opened Instagram. I know there is a huge controversy over Instagram right now, but since I posted my first picture there 112 weeks ago (Halloween 2010!) I have been addicted. It’s so much more than square sepia pictures, it’s this whole social media aspect that goes with it. So back to my point (too much caffeine remember), many of my current and former students & cheerleaders follow me there. I’m ok with that, I don’t say anything or post anything there that would offend. Also, in my district I am not allowed to have contact with kids via social media (that’s an entire different blog post I won’t write as long as they sign my checks) but Instagram doesn’t allow you to send private message so this is a way I can connect to them (and learn a lot about them). I let them follow me and often if they are no longer students at my school I follow back.

So I was looking through my stream and saw some pictures of former cheerleaders. They made me laugh. I started thinking about the girls I had on that squad. There were some really cool & sweet girls the 2 years I had them. But you see I did not take the time I should have getting to know them. Not because I’m evil or hate kids but because it was a really rough 2 years coaching. Not all the girls that year were sweet and not all the parents were as supportive as the parents of those kids. Lets just put it this way, by my choice, I no longer coach. I was miserable and hurt. So to protect myself I shut the emotional & fun part of that job off. I went through the motions. I taught, then I went home.

This year I’ve been having similar issues in the classroom. Some situations are becoming too much. So I’ve discovered (like recently discovered, as in just now) that I’m starting to do that again. But not just with 10 cheerleaders, with my 160 students. That is not fair. Not to them. Not to me (I think about the fun I missed shutting the girls out before). It’s wrong and everyone around suffers.

By clicking links from tweet to article to articles today I got sucked in reading about Nick Saban and the NFL. (Yeah I know I’m football obsessed, it’s ok.) I read an article that quoted Ol St Nick saying he regretted leaving LSU & college football and another saying he did not feel comfortable with the players in the NFL. Do I think that is bc he lost his authority in NFL, yeah. Do I think that is a HUGE problem in classrooms today, yeah. I can’t change that. But let’s think about him at the Dolphins. He became heartless. He wasn’t the guy cooking gumbo for the fire dept after they worked long hours doing tornado clean up. Or the guy who let sweaty cheerleaders sit in his fancy car. No he was the guy who stepped over his player having a seizure on the locker room floor (allegedly). That guy. The guy who turned off the emotion & fun part of the job and just went through the motions, taught, and went home. Wow that sounds familiar. I’m glad Saban left that. Not just because I’m a Bama fan hoping for that #15 championship, but because he nor his players deserved that.

Sometimes we get so dang focused on our job. On seeing the big picture. On looking at that entire forest that we aren’t taking time to look at and enjoy the hundreds of different trees that you pass along the way. I’m ready to go back to studying the trees and trusting the forest will grow one tree at a time. I’m sure you can guess my professional New Years Resolution. Happy 2013 y’all!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. pam says:


    Talk about reflective processing, what a post! I think we all have the potential to simply hit a personal wall and check out for awhile from those around us. Sometimes it’s necessary, but in the world of kids they just don’t see us as needing the same space at times that they require from us. They expect us to be there for them 24/7, and typically, it’s not a relationship of reciprocity.

    I read a piece over the holidays about how to survive Christmas which I always need to do- one of the bullets in the post spoke to the need to plan to personally connect to people (read family) with whom you’ll spend time even if you wouldn’t choose to be in the room with them otherwise. The author said take the time to listen, share, and move past the personalities to realize that everyone, mostly, is looking to be recognized as having some value to others. Some kids and our colleagues can drive us crazy with their own egocentricities if we choose to see the glass half empty or to not see the trees.

    I think your post leads to hitting the refresh button to choose to see the glass half full and all those kids who may not think they need you but …. you may be the one person in their lives who sees them as individuals – and not as just another person to step over. Thanks for writing this-

  2. amandacdykes says:

    Thanks Pam. I like what you said about viewing the glass as half full. So often we have those days where we just see empty glasses and move on to the full ones. Gotta hate being human sometimes. Really, thanks for your comment. It’ll be sticking with me for a while.

  3. Melissa says:

    Thanks Amanda for sharing this! I needed to read this post today.

    I like your professional New Years Resolution.

    It bring to mind this I saw yesterday about looking for the good in education each day:
    See The Good: A 365 Photo Project

  4. Therese Scifres says:

    I have just discovered your very personal and thought provoking “Upside Down” blog. I READ EVERY 2012 entry tonight and loved it so much. My question…how do I follow just your blog? I tried registering but that was for all edublogs. I look forward to future entries and don’t want to miss out on your wise words.
    Therese Scifres

  5. amandacdykes says:

    Hey thank you so much! That is the ultimate compliment! You should be able to subscribe using RSS feed (found in usually in your address bar). If not, or if you don’t use RSS feeds I added a “subscribe by email” on the left side of the page. That used to be there and somehow I deleted it. Again, thank you!

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