Today, I spent the day in bed and indoors, sick and tired, trying my best to do a bit of work from home. Sickness is a funny thing – it makes you unable to perform functions that you normally wouldn’t think twice about, and naturally you find yourself craving that normalcy you once had. At the same time, having the free hours gave me the freedom to do things I tend to push to the backburner, like writing actual heartfelt emails, taking time for myself, and cleaning my house. Perhaps it’s unhealthy for us to be well all the time – these seasons of illness and health are necessary to remind us that productivity isn’t the be all and end all of life.
Also, because I was in bed all day, I was able to finish this month’s book club book – Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected. Even though I missed tonight’s book discussion, I’m glad I had a chance to read it. In a nutshell, it’s about a woman who was a high-powered executive in a Boston consulting firm who gets into a car accident, leaving her with this brain disorder called Left Neglect. She essentially has no recognition of things that are in her left field, and has little to no control over the left side of her body. The story documents her physical recovery as well as the emotional healing that happens in her life. “Normal is overrated” is something that stuck out to me from within the story – used to frame her understanding of how her child with ADHD was integrating into the classroom. It was a mindset that she also started to apply to her own situation, as she came to terms with how her life would continue to be affected by her disorder.
The whole idea made me think about how we treat our students and the way we approach education in general. Are we striving to make our students “normal” all the time, or are we doing what we can to accommodate for their needs? Are we giving them opportunity to excel in areas that they demonstrate an affinity to? As teachers, do we keep hoping for “normal” classrooms or “normal” students? Why do we want to be normal?
If you ask me, normal is overrated.