What I Won’t Regret in the End

You’ve probably seen those articles flying around that are about the top regrets of people who are dying. A lot of people have been posting it on Facebook over the last year, and I even saw a video in a workshop not too long ago. Here’s a nice infographic if you haven’t already seen something similar.

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Do you agree? What might you regret as the end draws close?

Well after today, let me tell you what I am not going to regret when I get to the end. SITTING IN LIFE SUCKING MEETINGS. Today, I am proclaiming that I will no longer waste my precious time wanting to drill screws into my toes while someone reads off a Powerpoint.

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Why the sudden outburst? This week I have literally wasted ten full hours (and it’s only Wednesday!) wanting to jump out of a window while stuck in painfully bad meetings. To be fair, on Monday we didn’t have a traditional staff meeting, but instead had a video training that entailed 90 minutes of a Powerpoint being read to me by a voice recording (because clearly my reading skills as a teacher require someone else to read TO me). Today, I sat from 8:00am to 4:00pm in a meeting hosted by my school district where not only did I have the luxury of the Powerpoint being read for me, but the last three hours had no clear direction and the heat was blasted to 105 degrees.

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Many of my colleagues could tell you that I’m not the most patient when it comes to a these types of situations. If I get the hint that my time is being wasted, I start getting squirmy. After about 30 minutes I start doodling. At the second hour mark, I discreetly pull out my phone and check email. If things don’t improve by lunch, I’m fully disengaged, lolling back in my seat on Facebook.

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Sounds totally rude, doesn’t it? I agree. And I am truly sorry that I seemingly can’t control my behavior at a certain point. (Last year my student teacher leaned over and muttered, “You’re a bad role model,” as I was slouched down with my hoodie pulled tight around my head as I suffered through a poorly organized training).

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But I’ll tell you what’s more rude (in my opinion): wasting TIME. I can’t get these minutes back, people, and I’ll be damned if I have to sit through another meeting where the information can be communicated in an email, or the same person is allowed to raise their hand over and over, or the presenter scrambles for 27 minutes to get a video to load.

I. Can’t. Take. It. Anymore.

Why do we allow ourselves to sit like sheep for hours on end? How is it that someone doesn’t stand up and say, “I have more important things to do,”? Why is it in education the expectation is that we deliver authentic and engaging lessons to our students everyday, but all that flies out the window when we have a meeting? WHY???

This is not to say that there aren’t good meetings, or trainings. In fact, I’ve been to some pretty engaging staff meetings where I walk away energized for my next task, but sadly it happens so rarely.

Whether I’m teaching my 6th grade students, or leading a workshop with grown-up adults, I strive to tell stories, get people talking, and even show a cat video or two. If said cat video doesn’t load right away, BOOM! We move on! No yawning here! Oh, and don’t forget the homemade muffins.

So here I am publicly announcing it: I will no longer waste my time in life-sucking meetings. You have 30 minutes to hook my attention, and if at that point I am squirmy and doodling, I will politely remove myself from the room. As the infographic above states, “Happiness is a choice.”

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2 thoughts on “What I Won’t Regret in the End

  1. Bravo!!! I hear ya sista! Educators are typically the worst audiences but I think it is for the reasons you state above. We work hard to engage our students, and if you are going to sit us down at the end of the day and talk at us, we will tune you out. My Wednesday meeting yesterday wasn’t too bad. I feel like my school does a pretty good job of using meeting time to do something engaging/productive. It is the personalities sitting around complaining that get me down. But yesterday I spoke my mind when I felt one of them had crossed the line. I was not going to let my table spiral into a bitch session. Can’t wait to read the blog post about you walking out of the meeting. 😉

  2. Yes, this happens far to often in education, but I’m afraid it is not exclusive to just that. My kids also have shared their pain in the same way and one sells networks for an IT company and the other works at Amazon. I don’t mind purposeful meetings where I walk away feeling like something was accomplished but 99% of meetings could be handled in an email and my very first principal got this without email! He never kept us for more than 30 minutes. Unfortunately, he retired after my second year. I love your list of things to accomplish before the “end.” Regret is as ridiculous as guilt; both are worthless emotions~Thank you!

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