If this past week had a theme song, it’s definitely ‘Under Pressure’ by David Bowie and Queen.
The pressure of juggling job, family, and other commitments has been huge, simply because there was a truckload of stuff I had to get done and all of it had deadlines attached. The problem was that I was relying on other people to do certain things, too, and when that didn’t happen, I had to do more.
There was not anything I was willing to skimp on, or give it a “that will do” treatment. My students deserve to receive the help and attention that they need, and my elderly father deserves nothing less. Exams are approaching so papers have to be graded and feedback has to be given. Exams have to be finalised for checking, printing and delivery. I had a student teacher finishing a placement, so there was extra paperwork to do by Friday afternoon.
And this weekend is full of auditions for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, which I am directing for Camperdown Theatre Company next year.
I am not complaining. I know I am not the only one who is busy, and these are all things I have taken on willingly. But that is actually part of my argument.
What I want to achieve in this post is to point out that life is full of demands and commitments, and managing one’s time is crucial.
Whether a professional, a student, or in any other role in life, it is an essential life skill to be able to get things done to the best of one’s ability in a timely manner so that deadlines are met.
For me – or anyone else – to be able to do that, other people need to pull their weight and do what is expected of them. Nobody operates in a vacuum, and one person dropping the ball or refusing to pick it up in the first place has flow-on effects that they might not ever see.
The often hidden effect of someone not doing what they should is that others can’t actually meet all their obligations either.
On the occasions when my own students don’t get their work in on time, that puts me behind in getting their assignments graded and in giving feedback that would help them in completing future pieces of work. It can also put me behind in writing reports, which can cause other people further up the school “food chain” to be behind in what they need to do, too.
On those days when I end up working late at school to meet my own commitments because someone else has been slack in meeting theirs, it either means my dad has to wait for his dinner or whatever else he might need, or that my husband, who already works one and a half full time jobs and does all the things I can’t do at home because of my back, has to do extra at short notice. That’s not fair on either of them.
It isn’t always avoidable, I know. Some kids have issues that crop up, others have a lot of responsibilities. It’s also both fair and important to say that it’s not always the students who cause the issues, either.
More often than not, though, it’s a the result of someone’s laziness or poor priorities, and that tends to annoy me fairly quickly.
In my dream world, everyone would sort their priorities, manage their time, and get on with doing things to the best of their ability. Nobody would be let down, and we could all enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done without extra pressure making things harder.