Efficient and Relentless | John Hembree

I have learned to pay attention to words my intuition pings at me. Today it is RELENTLESS. “Steady and relentless determination” is the phrase that stands out on the page that reminds me of when this word was used to describe me.

A coworker I respected used this word to describe my passion and drive for education. I had never seen anyone who had so many devices going at once: computer, iPad, two phones. He crunched numbers like his life depended on it. One of the first weekends I met him, he started to talk about data in connection to test scores and student achievement. I understood everything he said. He seemed surprised when I asked questions about stats he didn’t think I would understand.

I had been told by many in this organization that how I looked and what my resume read didn’t match to them. This was also the weekend where all my tattoos were visible. This aspect of. my appearance threw him off for days. It didn’t match to him.

Data man told me over and over how he appreciated my relentlessness for our organization to be the best. I had a desire and passion for all my students to achieve. I tried to set up a greenhouse effect for them to overcome whatever I could set up for them to pursue. I took it as a compliment at the time. It meant that I was hyper focused on achievement and the business like style of education. At that moment, it was serving me well.

One of the disadvantages of being relentless is that I have often been described as hard. As someone to be afraid of. Adults mostly feel this way, not kids. I have been called difficult, a bitch, hard to work with because I will not compromise my expectations. I like to know things and will relententlessly pursue knowledge. One of the things that people think I am is judgmental. Many feel that if they are not as dedicated to something as I am that I look down on them. Everyone has their own style of how they succeed. It has been one of the aspects I have had to brush aside knowing I cannot control other people and their reactions.

I learned that being relentless still makes you replaceable. If you do not teach reading through a computer like the CEO wants you to you are replaceable. Your days are numbered. Trite but true.

In the end, I am not sure that relentless was the best way to be. I thought if I was hard and driven then I would get more done. I think I scared people. But there was power in that I didn’t hate. People don’t question you if they are afraid. If you have an agenda placed before you in an unrealistic time frame this is a temporary solution.

There was a time that I thought all the time spent at school would help my students achieve more. I am not sure that is the case now. If I have nothing to give my students then I will burn out. 

I still think about school and my students almost all the time.

I am trying to learn to be persistent but a little more flexible.

I have made the decision to do so but will keep you posted.

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