Sunday, August 28, 2016

Spinning Plates

I took my girls to the state fair last week. Between stuffing our faces with corn dogs and riding trains that weren't built to accommodate the adult male body, we did manage to squeeze in a pretty sweet circus session. The girls loved the clowns and the acrobats, and the stunt bike show was very cool....but the thing that really got me thinking was the plate spinning act.

If you don't know what I am talking about, the plate spinning act involves a guy sprinting back and forth on the stage, placing an absurd amount of plates precariously atop long poles. Once they are spinning, he is forced to maintain each plate's motion, even as they come seconds from toppling over and breaking. The crowd is absolutely dying with each near plate collapse. The tension is palpable.

So why does this act resonate so greatly with me? Because as educators we do something very similar. Your job has so many points of accountability - planning, instruction, grading, creating safe learning environments, maintaining student relationships, parent contact, collaboration, etc. etc. etc...It's madness. When you work in schools, you have a lot of plates, and those plates are always spinning out of control. It takes constant care and vigilance to make sure that you are getting everything done. The plate spinner of course has one major advantage over the teacher -- if his plate falls, it's only a bit of broken ceramic. If your plates fall, well, the consequences are much worse.

To all my friends as we begin a new school year, may your plates spin swiftly and may they never fall.


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