Keeping Up With The Joneses

I’ve not really been much for trying to keep up with everyone else in the neighborhood. Growing up we wore hand-me-downs from our cousins, always had a “well-used” car, and did our best shopping at garage sales. It’s never really been my style to try to have, or do, what everyone else was doing.

But lately I’ve found myself doing that exact thing with my teaching.

It used to be that teachers operated in our own little classrooms. If you were lucky, you had a few colleagues you shared ideas with, and you might get to a conference once a year. But most of the time you did your own thing and that was that.

Now we are UBER-connected. There are blogs, listservs, wikispaces, webinars, Twitter, Facebook, webpages and more…each sharing teachers’ ideas and experiences. On one hand, that is FANTASTIC. We are not alone. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. On the other hand, I find myself asking….why aren’t I doing that? Should I be doing that? Am I depriving students if I don’t do that? Wow, I must be behind, out-of-touch, too slow, uneducated, or in other words” not good enough” if I don’t do what others are sharing about.

Just trying to keep up with what is out there…much less implement any of it…is exhausting.

It should be exciting and inspiring….but some days it is more than a bit overwhelming.

What’s up with that Ms. Jones anyway?!!!!!!

When I get in this mood I have to whip out a little self-talk. I pick one or more of the lines below and say it/them to myself until I stop trying to be Ms. Jones and her perfect classroom.

**You are not Ms. Jones. Even Ms. Jones is not Ms. Jones.

**You do not have to be a tech guru. You do not have to be ANY KIND OF GURU.

**It doesn’t matter how many “tricks” or “ideas” or “insights” you have. You can only use so many per day.

**Your time each day is limited. You can feel overwhelmed by too many ideas, or you can find one idea and work on a way to use it.

**You can be jealous or you can be grateful, but you can’t be both. Pick the one that makes you happy.

**Teaching is not a competitive sport.

**It is perfectly wonderful to be a bit of a mess. Messes are real.

**Your students’ successes are more important that your insecurities.

**Love trumps Laptops.

You get the idea. I AM grateful for all of the wonderful ideas that are out there, and for all of those generous teachers who share them. I just have be careful not to compare myself with the Joneses. Ms. Jones is not in my classroom and my students need me.

with love,


2 Replies to “Keeping Up With The Joneses”

  1. Hello Laurie,
    Great minds think alike! I’ve been struggling with this same feeling of running and chasing and competing! It is difficult balancing act. Wanting to be up to date on what is happening in our field (and in other classrooms) versus information overload which produces self questioning and “competition”. You have accurately summarized the self inflicted struggle.
    I have avoided being an active part of twitter and I don’t have a website (apart from school fusion) but on a daily basis (several times a day) I read several listserves, blogs, and thus the links those lead me to and then other links and other links. It takes up a lot of time. It is kind of like doing constant research while trying to live your daily life. It is stressful, counterproductive, and takes away my valuable personal time.

    I’m going to print your list of self-talk lines and work on taking them to heart! 🙂
    I am grateful for your honesty and ability to see the big picture.
    Love! Becky

    1. Dear Becky,

      Many of us tend to turn things inward!! A wise friend gave me good advice years ago. He said, “When you see that someone has received a blessing that you wish that you had, resist the urge to be jealous. Say a prayer instead: PLEASE BLESS THIS PERSON WITH THE INSIGHT AND THE WISDOM AND THE ABILITY TO SHARE THEIR GIFTS WITH OTHERS. HELP THEM TO APPRECIATE AND GIVE THANKS FOR THEIR BLESSINGS. HELP ME TO DO THE SAME, FOR MYSELF AND FOR THEM.” It takes practice (trust me lol) but it does help to release the energy away from you, rather than to use it to beat yourself up.

      love and miss you,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.