Mediocrity

Mediocre [mee-dee-oh-ker]

adjective
1. of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate:
The car gets only mediocre mileage, but it’s fun to drive.
Synonyms: undistinguished, commonplace, pedestrian, everyday; run-of-the-mill.
Antonyms: extraordinary, superior, uncommon, incomparable.

2. not satisfactory; poor; inferior:
Mediocre construction makes that building dangerous.
Synonyms: meager, low-quality, second-rate; so-so.
Antonyms: excellent, superior.

Look, I’m really trying not to allow myself to fall into the pattern of simply whining for its own sake. It’s easy to say, “oh, woe is me,” and expect everyone to shower you with kindness and sympathy. No one appreciates a drama queen, which is perhaps why I took so long to admit that I was having serious problems with stress management at work, to the point where I just physically broke down and mentally burned out. Even now, I hesitate writing this down because I don’t want to be seen as a whiner.

After all, it’s only stress, right? It’s an occupational hazard of being a teacher. You learn to handle it, channel it, and make it driving force in your working life. In my case, everything starting falling apart when I could not stop worrying and obsessing about work, about wanting it to be productive and positive and knowing that all my efforts at making it such were completely futile. Then I tried to achieve a Zen-like state of simply not giving a shit, but that didn’t work at all. My colleagues are really good at maintaining that balance of caring just enough, but not to the point of obsessing over it. It’s a very typically Swedish lagom  (meaning:”just enough”) mentality. And while the principle behind it is admirable, in my experience it often leads to a state of complacency that justifies expending the least amount of effort possible, which leads to substandard work, which leads to mediocre at best and often poor results. But I just care too damn much.

My Swedish colleagues have no idea what its like out there. I’ve worked in schools in America and in schools in Sweden founded by Americans. They expect results. Real positive results. Mediocrity should not be the goal. Mediocrity is not acceptable.

 

English, motherfucker, do you speak it? J/K - it's ok if you don't.

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