juggling the balls

juggling(ˈjəɡəl) the balls

be gentle with ourselves

By Henry H. Walker

I send out an email to the wrong group
in a hope to help them remember the schedule
and get to class via Zoom,
all this while I work to get the students on the screen
managing an assignment I need,
one where they can sum up what they’ve learned
and how they feel about the process,
when tardy(ˈtärdē) students check in,
I actually thank them for reminding me
that all of us can make mistakes,
for helping me feel not so bad about my own email mistake,
I seek to express that they, and I, are but human,
in a world that seems to challenge us to be superhuman,
first juggling at all, then tossed(tôs) ball after ball
and expected to keep them all in the air at the same time,

through my long nights I fear the balls I might drop,
the times I might not be there for my students,

the imposter(imˈpästər) in me watches my colleagues,
intimidated(inˈtiməˌdāt) by every technological(ˌteknəˈläjək(ə)l) hoop
each seems to master with ease,

I search through the juggled and dropped balls
and look to see the individual young person
whose worth is infinite, whose effort is extraordinary(ikˈstrôrd(ə)nˌerē),
and who just can’t quite keep all the balls in the air,
I work to just support them and their effort,

I caution(ˈkôSH(ə)n) myself, my colleagues, and my students,
to be gentle with ourselves,
and appreciate how well we are doing,
despite how much we fear that we should be doing even more.