Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What do YOU resolve to do for yourself this year??

Every year, we make commitments to ourselves to make this year the best, healthiest, and happiest yet. Every year, we like to start with a clear slate and forget about all the bad "stuff", heartache, and disappointments that happened the previous year. And every year, as teachers, we hope for a better, more productive year for our students, schools, and colleagues.

Our hopes may span far and wide, but at a certain point, we need to be fair to ourselves and realistic. We need to not forget that we need to take care of ourselves before we can even think to improve the lives of those around us, especially our students. Yes, we do have one of the most difficult professions in the world to leave at work. I can venture to say there is not a night that goes by where I don't do work for school, grade papers, answer emails, or at the very least THINK and worry about my students -- and what I did right or wrong for them that particular day. With the increased pressures on teachers with merit pay, standardized tests, decreased planning time, and a host of other tasks/commitments vying for our time, we need to take time to put everything in perspective, calm down, and just BREATHE. Right before break, I noticed my fellow colleagues frazzled and at their wit's end. What we all needed was a real break and a change to recharge, refresh, and rejuvenate with family, friends, and -- God forbid -- alone.

Now that we are back to reality and the grind this week, we need to honor our New Years' resolutions to ourselves, whatever they may be. We must not feel guilty in wanting to put ourselves and our needs first (at least occasionally!) and not beat ourselves up if we indulge in the simple pleasures of life: naps, bubble baths, pedicures, haircuts, walks, yoga, exercise, dinner with friends, a favorite book, reality TV, etc. It is often the most mundane and simple of things on our "lists to accomplish" that are often the most needed and beneficial to us in the long run. We need to take care of ourselves first so we can then take care of everyone around us, whether that may be at home and/or in our classrooms.

So, what are my 2011 resolutions, you may ask? Well, I've always liked to do things in threes (I usually even sneeze in threes!), so here they are:

1. Spend less -- Yes, I am a spender by nature; and I are BFFs. Luckily, my husband is a fantastic saver and continues to teach me a lot about finances! I am determined to finally take control of my finances and avoid purchase temptations.
2. Sleep more -- I am one of those lucky people who can function just fine on 5-6 hours of sleep, but I know this is not healthy for me in the long run. Can I make it to 7 hours a night? Let's hope so!
3. Spend more quality time with awesome family and friends this year. -- Last year, I traveled almost every weekend in the winter and spring due to illness in my family, weddings, or marathons. I want to travel less for unnecessary things (ie: marathons every month = NOT a good idea!) and more for pure pleasure to see those I love, whether it may be my mom at her new home in Florida, close friends in Boston, or to another new city where an old friend has moved. Hey, I still have a free Southwest round-trip flight to use too....hmmmmmm.....

Regardless of what your resolutions are this year, I urge you to use the start of 2011 for YOURSELF. Ask yourself what are you most passionate about, what makes you happy, and how you can incorporate these things and activities into your daily schedule. Think of it this way -- If there are five things in the world that you woke up tomorrow without and would be devastated about, what would they be? When we stop making decisions for everyone else's benefit and learn to start saying NO to unneeded additional commitments, we free ourselves from the bonds of obligation. We emerge with greater freedom to do things for ourselves and not feel guilty about it.

And as teachers, we emerge with clearer hearts and minds, ready to be physically and emotionally present for our students who need us the most.

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