I recently posted this meme on my Facebook and was hit with countless comments and messages from people telling me they were “relieved” to hear that I had bad days too….
I realized that I have never written a blog that spoke transparently about my teaching reality…. I am always honest with you all. I always share REAL classroom experiences. Everything I post is always based on lessons or experiences that actually happened in my classroom. I rarely, however, focus on the ugly or challenging moments. It is the same with my personal-life social media posts… I VERY seldom post about any struggles I am going through or any rough patches I face. Even when I am super sick (which I was today), I almost never say anything. When talking through this with my ever-loving, and relentlessly-supportive fiancé, he remarked that I don’t tend to like talking about the negative because it seriously brings me down. I don’t like focusing on what is WRONG in my life but rather, all the RIGHT!
In my presentations, I talk about my classroom being a safe place where Unicorns exist and everything is made of happy rainbows and fluffy clouds. I need it to be that way. My students need it to be that way. I have students from when I taught in a high-poverty middle school, STILL write me to tell me that they loved that my classroom was a place they could “escape” to and feel like everything was happy. 🙂 THAT feels good.
That DOESN’T mean however, that everything in my work life is hunky-dory and full of rainbows and fluffy clouds. In fact, this year has been particularly challenging for me. I have cried (yes, even AT school) more times than I would like to admit. Almost every day for 3 weeks, recently. Poor Paul’s ears need little shields of armor, they’ve heard so much drama and frustration from me! He is so supportive.
NONE of us have perfect jobs or perfect situations. We all face challenges and frustrations at our different schools. NO job is perfect. Period. I hope that this blog helps clarify to all of my followers, that although I may exude an energy of “everything is just perfect” it is far from that. I love what I do though, and I choose to focus on all of the WONDERFUL things about my job and the opportunity I have to share compelling comprehensible input with my students on a daily basis! 🙂
So, before I sign off, I would like to share three resources that are helping me cope, when things aren’t as “perfect” as I make them out to be. Hopefully, they can help you too and be rainbows if your world is a little cloudy right now! (I LOVE cheesy stuff!)
- OMG this article. Self-care.… GAH! So good, and it is my new goal to focus on how to truly care for my ‘self’…. I am going to be making some big changes that allow me to be a little more “unexceptional”. Also, while I have never really “escaped” from my life, I am dedicated to building a life that I don’t feel like I WANT to escape from regularly. “True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
- My workshop at Cascadia this summer on No Plan Lesson Planning was about how to make planning for multiple preps easier…I teach 5 preps/5 classes per day… It is a LOT…. Come January, I will be teaching 6 preps,/6 classes per day. I will have my “planning/prep” period daily at 2:45. No breaks before then. Often, since 2:45 is the period that is the common “prep” for teachers at my school, it is filled with meetings. Which means when the final bell rings at 3:30, it will be my first moment to breathe, and figure out what I am teaching the next day, or what I have to grade, or what emails I have to respond to, or what parents I want to call… etc. Sooooo, taking my OWN advice, for December, outside of FVR, and my Song of the Month, I plan to use pieces of Dustin Williamson (my work hubby)’s AMAZING unit he created using Christmas commercials. That is it. I am not CREATING anything else. I am not PLANNING anything new… It is FREE Y’ALL… GAHHHH! He is PHENOMENAL! I will Movie Talk my favorites and use his “March Madness” style chart to have students rank their faves. It is going to be so much fun and I love that I can use the EXACT same commercials in EVERY level and just vary the language I am using in each of my classes. Movie Talk is the best thing ever! Gracias Michele Whaley, for introducing it to our CI world and gracias Dr. Hastings for inventing it! Y’all are the real MVP’s!
- Breathing… I am going to Breathe more… My mom tells me to all the time. Erica Peplinski (who like Jen Schongala) is a master at “self-care” and has lots of tips for avoiding burn out on this blog post. She mentions breathing. I will use my breathing Brain Break with kids more, but I will also MAKE the time to take 10 deep breaths and focus on NOTHING but that, at LEAST once per day. Which for me right now honestly, will be an enormous challenge. However, it is one that I KNOW will make a huge difference in my happiness and stress level.
There you have it! A transparent look into my “reality”! Next post will be back to 100% unicorn magic and happy, fluffy, little clouds!
Until next time,
La Maestra Loca