After the Staff Meeting

It’s quiet now,
Most everyone has left for the day. 
I set my timer (one hour),
Turn on Zoe Keating—
Her cello signals me
Like Pavlov’s dog
(or something slightly more dignified): 
Writing time! 
Today did not go as planned.
Or maybe it did,
And the flaw was in the planning. . .
So much energy
In all the wrong places— 
Leaking out like water
Through holes in a sieve,
Soaking into dry earth,
Vanishing immediately.  
Back to back meetings
And prep for meetings,
Chasing down answers to questions of the
Urgent-but-not-important variety.
(There are kids here in this building, yes?
I don’t feel like I’ve seen any today.)
This is not what my job is about! 
The nuts and bolts of launching a new year
Slow me down.
(I know) we’ll get into a groove. 
I’ll remember to eat breakfast,
To stop for lunch. 
(Self care matters, too.) 
Coffee and a fig bar does not fuel innovation. 
I remind myself to breathe.
The splash and flow from
The fountain in this shared space—
Consistent, persistent,
A source of indescribable joy—
Reminds me that soon the right work will teem
Across the calendar of my days,
Flooding us with opportunities
To learn and collaborate,
To be brave together, 
As we transform learning experiences for kids
(And for each other). 
I close my eyes—listen. 
Visualize kids (and teachers) all lit up,
Ready for days six, seven, eight. . . 
I ready myself by writing. 
Writing through rush hour traffic 
To (ultimately) get home faster—
And feel more like myself.


  1. Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski

    I love this reflection. The description of the energy spent in all the wrong places and the leaking water was so striking. Wishing you a happier day with time for lunch!


  2. Chris Neville

    It’s like we work in the same place:) Well said. And….I have shared some similar thoughts and feelings this week. Thanks for all you do! Your work, even the little things, has far reaching impact.


    1. Amy Ellerman

      Thanks—I appreciate that you share my impatience to get to the most impactful work. It helps to be able to joke about some of the predictable roadblocks early in the year. I do agree about the little things—they matter, too.


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