Our Need for Smaller Plates

Type: Article
Topics: Health & Wellness, Leadership Development, School Administrator Magazine

January 01, 2022

My View

The world our teachers, parents and students inhabit is busy, to say the least. The hope and excitement most of us felt in the fall for a new year — especially this one — quickly bumped into the reality of educators making deep dives into curriculum, IEP meetings and reporting burdens; parents operating shuttle services, filling volunteer needs, setting bedtime and wake-up routines; students dealing with homework, social pressures and grades. And the school year is only about halfway through.

It all feels like a lot. Because it is.

Often, we refer to our responsibilities as our “plate” and when our plate gets “full,” we begin to see important tasks fall off the plate. When this happens, we have two choices. The first is to publicly beat ourselves up expressing our guilt that we dropped the ball while privately internalizing stress from disappointing others and ourselves. 

The other option, not at all uncommon in Silicon Valley where my school district is located, is that we constantly enlarge the plate hoping that somehow the laws of time and space will be defied and everything on the plate fits without missing a single task.

The reality is that neither of these options is healthy.

This Content is Exclusive to Members

AASA Member? Login to Access the Full Resource

Not a Member? Join Now | Learn More About Membership


Erik Burmeister
About the Author

Erik Burmeister is superintendent of the Menlo Park City School District that serves the communities of Menlo Park, Atherton and East Palo Alto, Calif.

This column is drawn from a post on his blog, Sup's On: A School Superintendent’s Thoughts on Education, Community, Parenting and More.