Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mr. Organization

In keeping with my annual tradition I invited my students once again to critique me in the form of an end of the year letter. While much of what they write about my classes and about me in general puts the icing on the usual fulfillment that another completed academic year gives me, there are those comments that keep me humble too.

For the second year in a row, many of the kids mentioned my admirable trait of being organized. As I did last year, I chuckled inwardly before letting them in on my dirty secret. I'm not inherently organized in the least and what they see in my classroom is the result of my vow to compensate deliberately and methodically for my weakness. For 24 years, at my former school, I was a slob. I had the kind of desk and classroom that reminded me of the Principle of Original Horizontality that I taught in my Earth Science class. When I learned that I was being moved to a new school, I promised myself that I was going to be organized if it killed me. Well, I'm organized now, and I'm still alive. Two decided pluses!

What would appear to be an admirable sense of
organization is merely a compensatory strategy.

I think it's one of those valuable "real life" lessons that I teach when I explain that my being organized is something I do to make up for a personal weakness. Too many kids, and grown ups as well, go through life constantly making excuses for their shortcomings rather than doing something about them. I admit that keeping my promise to be organized makes my life a whole lot easier than it was when I was digging through multiple layers of things in a panic to find the one I needed.

In thinking about it, most of my scooter rides are totally disorganized, but that's what makes them fun. More often than not I leave the house with a particular destination in mind only to find myself turning spontaneously at some intersection and wondering why I did as I then scoot to a totally different place than I'd first intended.

Maybe some of the wisdom we acquire with age is the ability to know when to hold ourselves rigidly to some code or ideal and when it's acceptable to let our hair down for the sake of enjoying ourselves. Then again, maybe I'm full of canal juice as my dad's family often says.


cpa3485 (JIM) said...

Very thought provoking. I like this post even if not specifically about scooters. I like how you mentioned that a trip on the scooter may not lead you where you originally intended to go. I need to do more of that.
What I fight personally sometimes is the tendency to work on things I like to work on rather than things that I should be working on. Can be either work or home tasks. Ahhh, life's little struggles.

Baron's Life said...

an excellent and interesting post...are we really doing what we want to do?