Limits #SOL2021


I saw this post on Adam Grant’s Instagram and wondered about “Giving Tuesday”; who might contemplating their own limits at this moment?

Limits have always confounded me. Not limits in spending or excessive unproductive behaviour, but perhaps the opposite. Limits to self-imposed expectations, ideals (maybe) that I can never live up to. I’m not sure, but this song has haunted me since I first heard it.

“There’s a limit to your love

like a waterfall in slow motion

like a map with no ocean

there’s a limit to your care

so carelessly there

is it truth or dare

there’s a limit to your care.” James Blake 2010

There is rhyme and rhythm and deceptively simple lyrics backed by a trance-like beat and reverb. I don’t know music, so it’s difficult for me to describe, but the limited words remain. And, I’m not sure why.

The type of limits on my mind right now aren’t about love or lyrics. Instead I’m wondering about what can’t get done for students because we’ve all “reached our limits”. I’m wondering about the systemic, the process, or the procedural ones which get in the way. Education seems to have this propensity for paper, now digital paper — documentation as justification. Each action must exist in the digital archive, because motivation and achievement and progress must be measured. I wonder about this. It often feels like I move and grow in small unscripted ways through unscheduled, undocumented human interactions: motivations of the heart, inspired and driven externally, movement of being unexpected and unlimited internally.

I think this firmly held belief in documentation limits us in education. And, what we are able to change. In us. In the system. My work with The Mentoree feels like some form of personal progression, but I don’t think I could measure this beyond the relational realm. There is no documentation to support this movement or change.

I admit that I am very fortunate, but I also have life challenges which are unique, yet which have unexpectedly surprised me. The limits that I put upon myself have shifted steadily with each challenge, painfully pushing me. Kobe Bryant conveys this sentiment in a video that I showed in class yesterday – “The Beautiful Scar”. And, it had me wondering: what do we learn from reaching our limits?

Limits of systems are created and can change, like us, but not without some pain. And what I give need not always be documented and measured. That’s my limit.

8 thoughts on “Limits #SOL2021

  1. Such a good reflection on what is challenging about teaching these days. This is a particularly bold and true line: “Education seems to have this propensity for paper, now digital paper — documentation as justification.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your reflection echoes conversations I’ve had with many educators. They’re tapped out. They’ve reached their limit. A two-week or summer vacation isn’t enough of a reset. Something truly has to change to help people feel good about being part of the profession again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I don’t think we are struggling in the same way in Canada that our American friends are struggling – at the moment we aren’t experiencing any CRT backlash. But you’re right. I don’t think I’ll be recovered at the end of next summer. And I don’t think my friends will be either.


  3. I’m struggling with limits too. Feeling limited. Reaching my limit. Going over my limit. Every day I say, “OK. I will come back tomorrow. The day after that? Who knows! But tomorrow I can do.” Change feels so far off.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your post echoes the voices of my grad students (doctoral candidates) this evening as we discussed Schoolwide Positive Behavior In Schools Programs…..the limits of time, class size, academic need and energy was clear. When I asked them to provide a solution………money alone is not the answer

    Liked by 1 person

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