Welcome back after a break from blogging. As I was brainstorming, I knew I would be REMISS if I didn’t start with the value of a teacher. What does this all mean? The definition of value as defined by Merriam Webster is “the relative worth, utility, or importance” or “something intrinsically valuable or desirable.”
I believe every life has value but in my personal opinion, there is something wonderful about teachers. We inspire every, single profession. We nurture, we coach, we counsel, we parent, we prepare, we organize, we work, work, work–oh and we teach.
We have precious families and lives as well. They value us just as much. On the flip side, we live and work in a society that simply does not understand or possibly even desire to understand the work of an educator or the complexities that come with it. We are people, and we have immense value not just to our school systems, but first to our own families, friends, and communities. Here are 3 takeaways to encourage you for Fall 2020!
Self-Care: Mental, Physical, and Spiritual
Self-care is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit these days. Self-care is not just a spa bath and pizza night. To me, self-care is taking care of yourself first so you can in turn have the strength to help others. In an airplane, they never tell you to put the oxygen mask on someone else in case of an emergency. You put the oxygen on you first so you are stable enough to help everyone else.
Here are some ideas to help you stay on track:
—Plan something to do every day** or weekend you can look forward to. Do not look at August as “Somebody help us, here we go.” No, see it a transition into a new season that we are learning to navigate together. I am not naive to what is going on AT ALL. This is serious, plans are being deliberated and evolving every day however, we cannot let stress and anxiety overwhelm us to the point of no return. Speak up respectfully as you feel you need to. This is also not a time for teachers to be silent. You are valued. Here’s the secret: monitor, plan ahead, but take it a day at a time.
Plan a movie night every Friday with your favorite snacks or takeout, calling a loved one at a certain time during the day, week or weekends, keep a journal of how you are doing during the school year and how you feel, create a blog ‘)–even if it is private and only for you, go for a nature hike on Saturday mornings (one of my favorites), or listen to ( blast) your favorite song(s) in the car or at home, radio show, audio books, and more everyday after school or on the way to school. Lastly, enlist your family and dear friends to pray for you during the school year and of course, do the same for them in return.:)
–Take a mental day if needed!
–Exercise 3-4 times a week even if it just 20 minutes.
–Prepare easy, healthy meals and snacks on the weekend to eat throughout the week. Pinterest has great meal ideas. A healthy diet not only helps you physically in so many beautiful ways, but it also helps you mentally and emotionally as well. Drink plenty of water too!
–Prepare a care pack to keep in your classroom or office. This is a NECESSITY! I wrote a previous blog on it here: https://theeducatorslight.com/2018/08/08/create-a-beautiful-new-care-packet-for-you/.
–I LOVE music! Play music in your classroom or wherever your space is. I jam out in the car, at home, wherever. I play music for the kids (always keep it appropriate) while they are working and it has such a settling/fun effect on them and me. Thank me later.
–If you need extra support or counseling during this time, there is NO shame in that! It takes strength to seek help and support. You teach. You have a life. You are not a robot. Teaching is what you do professionally but not it is not the whole of who you are. Many school districts or educational entities offer complimentary or discounted counseling services apart from the district and it is confidential. Check your benefits and get the support you need.
–If you have genuine concerns or ideas, respectfully share them. This is a season of collaborating and working together.
–Take a break from negativity and negative people. It’s draining from every side right now. Also, in addition to a pandemic, there is so much culturally going on right now. Stay focused on the goal and vision. Do not get lost in the turbulent waves. As educators, we need to be up to date on what is going on but filter what you are taking in to help preserve your sanity.
There are other things you can do and research to set up a Self-Care plan that works for you! Create a plan and stick with it. You are worth it.
This seems like a tall order to ask when it seems like instruction and even locations are subject to change at any given notice. Develop a system to stay organized. Right now, I have a big Jansport backpack that I keep everything in. It has multiple compartments. One compartment for my laptop, one for my instructional aides, planning and grades, one for personal supplies like highlighters, sticky notes, pens etc., one for my healthy snacks/lunch, and one for my car keys, wallet, etc. I’m definitely a purse girl when I want to be fancy but when I am taking care of business, I am on the move–with lipgloss. Plus, the school I taught at last year was 3 stories–and I taught on the 3rd floor! Most of the staff had backpacks. I call mine my “Traveling Office.” You can also use a rolling cart that you can simply roll to the car and organize the inside of. Office Depot has sturdy ones starting at around $25.00. I am not keeping multitudes of things in my room this school year but do YOU. The longer I teach, the less stuff I feel I need in my classroom (but I still love to decorate for the kids!). I found that over half of the things I had stored in the room, the kids nor I didn’t even need. I am in secondary, but if you are elementary and need social-distanced stations or corners and want to jazz it up–do it! Add your flavor to it.
I will decorate my room for the kids (I want them to have a cozy, pretty, safe place), keep it instructionally relevant and accessible as well as neat ( we’ll be virtual for at least a month) and out of respect and diligence, adhere to the precautionary guidelines when they come. It’s different this year. Stay organized. Keep the peace and most importantly, keep your peace.
Keep it simple
Here is another tall order. Remember–this is not a competition. We are all navigating this school year together day by day. I will never say stop dreaming but I am saying be realistic. Keep it simple, creative, and focused because we all understand. I am sitting here now trying to brainstorm how I want to create my Bitmoji classroom or I may not even end up doing that! I may find another great idea in my research and planning.
Here’s the thing–I would not go into the school year with 49 ideas of starting the school year. Please don’t do that to yourself. Even the virtual trainings I have participated in have been simple. This is not the time to overwhelm yourself and most importantly, the kids. Kids need to feel they can be successful. Many of them are very overwhelmed right now (you may be too). Some don’t want to come back, some do, and some in between and that is understandable. As I always tell my students, ” keep it cool, keep it real.” Gauge where they are, make it work for you and your students effectively no matter your platform.
The value of a teacher is immeasurable and your influence goes on past what you know. You can still have that type of influence online or in person with precautionary measures. I am right there with you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back with you within 24 hours. I would love to talk to you and encourage you into and during this season. Talk to you soon. Hope is right in front of us no matter what it looks like.
Let your light shine,
Copyright 2020 The Educator’s Light