Monday, October 10, 2016

Work/Home Balance

I am thrilled that my district has been able to send me to a conference this week. I have spent the first day in some pre-conference sessions getting the chance to dive deep into some of the new functions in products that we use for our student information system. While in education, you may not get to do it a lot, I have always enjoyed traveling to conference. I love the chance to learn more about how to connect with kids, share my ideas with other educators, see what great things other people are doing to engage students in learning, and, of course, the new restaurant possibilities of a new city!

When I have taken trips in the past, I knew that I would miss my wife and my kids, but I also knew that I was coming back soon. None of that has changed...except leaving this time was harder. I spent some time thinking about this on the plane as I reflected on the teary goodbye in person and over face-time before I got on the plane. What made this trip different?

One of the benefits of this trip is that I got to see my sister and her family and be a part of my nephew's birthday celebration. That certainly did not make things harder. I am away from work for 4 days (one is a school holiday), so there is work that might pile up, but that is really no different that other times I have traveled. My current location is in the same time zone, so it is easy to communicate with home, so no problem there...what is the big deal?

I realized, that for me, the big deal is just kids are bigger now. I traveled before when the kids were infants and young toddlers. I never missed a "first" of anything and my kids were doing projects in preschool as their learning. With our first child, the new experiences in daycare and preschool were exciting, but with our 3rd child, it because old hat. It was exploring ground that had been walked on already. We were thrilled for each new child to experience it, but we knew what to expected.

But now, my kids are in school...real school. This is also new territory for me as a parent. I always look forward to discussing their day, asking what they liked best, seeing what they have learned and how hard they worked. Now, as I am away, I feel like I am really missing out on these first experiences for them. My kids are experiencing new things in school every day; exploring new territories and gaining experiences. I can talk to them over the phone and video chat, but it is not the same. I will miss the hugs, the high fives, the feeling of excitement. These are big.

Learning new things to ensure a quality of schooling for my students is important. If what I learn improves the education experience of one student and their family, it is worth it. Being with my kids as they learn and enjoy their school experience is incredibly important as well...

Where is that line between work and home?