Whenever anyone mentions the word “balance,” I always picture Lady Justice standing there with a blindfold on and the scales of justice in her hand. Then I think, “Blindfolded?! How are you supposed to create balance if you can’t even find the scales?” Of course, the metaphor of blind application of justice doesn’t apply when we talk about balancing time and effort between family and work; between instruction and FFA activities; or, between what is required and what is enjoyable. But the question of balance still remains a big issue in our profession, as illustrated by the articles in this month’s edition of Making a Difference.
Everywhere I go teachers and state staff lament the decline in the number of agricultural education majors graduating and entering the classroom, the number of good teachers that leave the classroom and never return, and keeping teachers engaged without burning them out. So, where in these discussions is the solution for helping teachers create balance? Is balance a romanticized reverie? Is balance only created long after teachers have become veterans, after children are in high school, after spouses have become accustomed to the extra hours we spend at school?
Perhaps a better question is, “Do we really want balance?” Maybe we, in some strange way, like feeling stressed and exhausted, playing the woeful martyr for the cause of agricultural education and FFA. Maybe we’ve become so comfortable with our constant state of pandemonium that we don’t even notice discomfort, paperwork piling up, or our disenfranchised personal lives. Maybe we’re not even looking for the scales that are buried under mountains of leadership lessons, CDE training, state standards and other duties as assigned? Or, is it something altogether different?
Please post your thoughts, concerns and opinions about creating balance in the NAAE Communities of Practice Question for the Profession.