I headed into this school year knowing I learned a TON last year. I learned about how to better take care of myself, and I learned about how to teach better (which came from taking better care of myself - fancy that...)! I was ready for the challenges ahead!
And then the school year started.
And it was still extremely difficult.
I had thought the struggles from last year were behind us. I didn't think to expect brand new struggles that we really hadn't encountered before. So... I needed to really focus on the lessons I thought I had learned...
I had a plan to tweet them to share with my peers. I had sixty of them, and I'd choose which I thought would fit the week, then schedule them on my Tweetdeck. This was my post introducing them, these are the actual tweets (with my "first day of hybrid" photo), and this is the spreadsheet I kept modifying with my original lessons. Once the school year started, I was able to go slowly, setting up a routine, helping everyone get to know each other better, and trying to stay mentally healthy. Sharing the lessons was helping me focus on my ONE priority: my health (mental and physical).
A few weeks in, and I started to feel the strain.
Although the lessons I kept revisiting did help me in those moments,
I was still losing sight of what I wanted to learn... I was still losing sight of who I wanted to BE as a teacher... and as a person.
This week, I printed out the lessons I had shared for the first sixty days with students this school year. (Day 60 for me was Wednesday.) I decided there were too many. I needed lessons that encompassed what all of these were saying. Here's how that looked on my living room floor (do other teachers work on their living room floors??):
I found six themes.
I had lessons about breathing and being present. I had lessons about listening and relationships. I had lessons about gratitude and attitude. I had lessons about life changes and struggles. And I also had practical lessons I can incorporate every day and others I can incorporate into my school day. I will keep working on the lessons in these last two categories until they become habitual.
Going forward, I will focus on these four important actions:
- Be present in each moment by taking time to stop... and breathe. This will slow me down and make me more effective at whatever I'm trying to do.
- Listen. This will help me to be more present, stop, and breathe (#1). It will also help those to whom I'm listening.
- When I'm sad, mad, frustrated, or just not doing well, I need to practice gratitude. This will, once again, slow me down (#1), listen (#2), and be reminded of how fortunate I am.
- Remind myself - Life provides many opportunities for me to practice these lessons. It will have its ups and downs, I will feel like this again, and if I am present in each moment, I will be living fully.
I believe these four actions will help me be the person I want to be. One of the lessons I learned about life is that I'm always becoming who I am - and who I want to be. I will keep trying. I will surely fail some days. And I will try to learn something from each challenge.