Getting Real: Taking Time to Refresh and Refocus


Spring has sprung. We are already neck-deep in School Library Month. We are advocating, collaborating, transforming, and full-STEAM a-heading toward summer. We are burn, burn, burning like fabulous roman candles, but it might be a good idea to hold up, apply the brakes, and press pause. With only two months of the school year left, it’s helpful to reflect on where we’ve been and refocus on what we still need to do. If you’re like me, you have an unrealistic to-do list a mile long of all the things you hoped to accomplish this year and probably won’t get around to. That’s when I start finding myself feeling a tad resentful that I wasn’t able to get to all the good stuff because I’ve been too busy troubleshooting the darn printers, stuck on three hiring committees, getting pulled in to cover sick teachers’ classes, and handling the myriad other distractions that land on my desk. In order to keep burning bright without fizzling out, I need to do a little spring cleaning, pulling out the weeds that have grown over the path I’d set for myself and rediscovering the route.

Fortunately, Spring Break has finally arrived and I can take a breather. I have pulled out my job description and the goals I set for the year, and while I can see there is much more than I will be able to finish, I can also see that I have accomplished a great deal. I had the task of starting a brand new Learning Commons on a brand new campus, of setting the tone for the space, building a collection and a reading culture, growing collaborative relationships with teachers, and developing a research curriculum with just the right resources. And boy, have I planted seeds in all of those beds. Getting real with myself and remembering I am only one person with the same 24 hours a day everyone else has, and that a program takes time to grow to fruition is key for me. My unrealistic expectations could easily turn into impatience without a refocus on trusting that all that hard work will take time to materialize and ripen into results. Resetting those expectations and refocusing on realistic goals for the rest of the year can refresh me enough to roll up my sleeves and get back to it with renewed purpose.

How do you all step back from the never-ending to-do list and refocus, recharge and refresh? May this Spring be a fruitful time for you all!


Author: Cassy Lee

Cassy Lee is a middle school Teacher Librarian focused on education equity, empathy, and empowerment. She is the recipient of the 2020 AASL Roald Dahl’s Miss Honey Social Justice Award and the 2018 SLJ Champion of Student Voice. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, son, and a steady stream of foster dogs. You can find her on Twitter at @MrsLibrarianLee and at CSLA in February!

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Makerspaces/Learning Commons, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models


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