The best you can do with the choices you have.

So, I had a tooth ripped out on Monday morning, although the dentist insists she doesn’t “rip out” anything but rather “extracts”.

I’m running with “ripped out” for dramatic effect which fits in with the odd story about how it happened that I had a dodgy tooth in the first place – as a twelve-year-old running with a golf club who slipped over and managed to mash the 3-wood into my face.

It’s not your garden variety, hidden-away molar that I’m now without.  It’s top row, right at the front.  As a result, I have a plate with a gap-filling fake tooth to wear for the next three months while we await the final veneering phase.

The experience so far has returned a self-consciousness almost akin to what I felt as a teenager.  I’ve found myself wanting desperately to minimise my social embarrassment like I’ve not in years.

Given that the plate is purely cosmetic and we’re really just waiting three months for the wound to heal, should I:

  1. Wear the plate, thereby looking normal, but sounding weird and feeling uncomfortable?
  2. Discard the plate, thereby looking like I’ve just been in a street fight, but sounding normal and feeling even more self-conscious?

Or does it not really matter that much?

Am I not allowed to ignore the advice of others, or even my family, about what to do?  Am I not permitted to disregard the stories projected onto me by those who either think they know best or have been through something similar?

This is where the relevance for schools in this blog appears.  When Semester 2 of the strangest, most self-conscious and exhausting year in the history of our careers commences, who will you permit to dictate your school’s agenda?  Are those people qualified to provide that opinion?

As a teacher or a school leader, you are best positioned to determine what to do next and no option will be completely right or completely wrong. 

Sometimes, we just have to sit with some discomfort, accept the things we cannot change and choose a path that works for us when we think that we can.

Until then, and even then, we’ve just gotta do the best we can with the choices we’ve got.  No option is a guarantee or a panacea.  None of them have permanent implications either.

Just do me a favour and choose what works for you and your school community, above what the unqualifieds think you should do.

And you’ll be fine.

Warm regards,