Our memories are naturally drawn to the good moments. We remember happy family moments, awards, celebrations, beautiful sunsets, and great conversations. We remember students that succeed for the first time. We remember students smiling and playing. We remember tough love that produced a college graduate. We need these memories to survive and thrive in our roles in education. We need the good moments to muster the energy to rise in the morning. We need these good memories to support us when the bad moments creep into our work.
There is also a need to do the hard work of remembering the bad moments. The bad moments of our days are the space in which learning can really happen. It is where we screwed up and where things fell apart. It is in these bad moments where we didn't see things coming, missed the true lever of change, and underestimated the power of something. Our mind doesn't naturally hold onto these moments, and it takes time, energy, and discomfort to return to this space. This never happens when we are bound by urgency and tied to our to-do list.
For most educators, May brings a wave of final successes. Graduation, awards ceremonies, concerts, and more, fill our good memory buckets, but before summer decompression sets in, and planning for next year fills our agendas, remember to take some time to sit with the disappointments, the bad memories, and the things that hurt. It is with these reflections that a stronger leader in learning will emerge for all to see, feel, and experience in the fall as the cycle begins again.