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Change Up the Pace


Some of us have been conditioned to go, go go. We have a certain path and pace that we like to be on and we don't like to deviate from our self-proposed timelines. This is me. 2020 has been quite a year so far. Collectively, we are dealing with so much as a society, from the pandemic to racial injustice (which by the way is not new, it just seems to be magnified lately) and this is coming at the same time with me dealing with my own personal grief and other things in my life. This new normal has caused a shift in our normal day-to-day, from schools and businesses being shut down and us having to adapt and learn how to teach and provide our services in a new way. All of this has caused me to have a much needed honest conversation with myself.

At the beginning of the year, I set all of these giant goals in terms of music for myself. I will do this by this time and learn that by this certain time and so on and so on. I was trying to keep up this same type of pace when the pandemic changed our way of life here in the states. Yet, it just wasn't working. Trying to keep this pre-pandemic stride was causing a lot of unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation for me.

As a teacher, we're taught to acknowledge that sometimes that we have to change up the pace sometimes with teaching our students. For example, when a tragedy or something significant takes place, we are encouraged to change up the pace to accommodate the needs of the moment for our students. This doesn't mean that teaching stops completely, it just means that sometimes you have to be flexible, slow down and change the pace. The theory is that if you don't acknowledge the initial needs first and address "the elephant in the room," learning will not take place.

I can recall while teaching a lesson, a little kindergartener just started crying, seemingly out of nowhere. When I asked her what was wrong, she responded with this, "Miss Smith, my mom passed away the other day, I miss her and I need a hug." So what do I do? Do I continue with the lesson because I need to teach a certain concept by a certain time? Do I keep the same pace? Of course not! Obviously I stop and give her a hug! After I hugged her, she got okay and I was able to continue with the lesson. This example demonstrates that you still continue with the lesson or goal, whatever it may be, however, sometimes you need to be flexible, adjust and slow it down a bit to address the situation.

However, it may be different for you, maybe you're fueled by the current state and can be energized by anxiety and stress. I don't work like that. The point is, be honest with yourself and assess what's best for you.

We need to acknowledge there's a lot going on, honor our feelings, still continue the goal achievements, but maybe slow it down, stop every once and awhile and give ourselves a hug.