Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mid-Year Resolutions

Last year, I started this blog as part of my New Year's Resolutions. I managed to publish one post and start a draft. Needless to say, when I began reflecting on things to improve for this coming school year, the blog popped up on the list. So I'm going to renew my efforts to create posts and get my thoughts out for others to see. I'm going to challenge myself to write at least a couple posts a month. Coming up with topics shouldn't be an issue. I just need to set aside some time to make sure I get it done!

This concept of setting aside time to make sure I accomplish my goals has been surfacing a lot lately. While running errands a few weeks ago, I heard a story about work life balance on WBEZ. While the story is about setting boundaries in more of a corporate setting, I think some of it holds true for teaching as well. Especially in the beginning of the year when there is so much to get done, it's easy to forgot to take time for myself. Then all of sudden it's January and I'm feeling burnt out with half of the school year still ahead of me. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this feeling either. The school year is an endurance race and we have to remember to set time to take care of ourselves in order to finish it.

There is literally ALWAYS something to get done. Once the year starts the to-do list is never ending. It can be exhausting knowing that no matter how much work you do it just keeps coming back. It can also be hard to give ourselves a break because we know that the to-do list is sitting there... not getting done. The problem is that when I don't give myself a break I end up mentally drained from thinking about all of the work left to be done. By doing something unrelated to school, I can give my brain a break. I can switch gears and think about which colors I want to use in my adult coloring book (Seriously. They are supposed to be really good for relaxing.) This break from thinking about/doing work will allow me to come back to it refreshed and ready to handle all of the challenges of the school year. Even runners need off days to help recoup after working out. We should all allow ourselves the same for our minds.

Self-care is going to look different for everyone. It might be turning off email once you're home or only bringing home one task to work on each night instead of a bag full. For me it means taking the time to nurture my non-school self. That part of me that loves to be with my kids, bake and eat delicious treats, read books, sew, and play Yahtzee with my husband. The part of me that generally gets neglected between mid-August and early June. Not this year! This year my Mid-Year Resolution (because that's a thing!) is to take time for Mrs. Zeller's alter-ego, Beth. I'm hoping in doing so I'll be making it easier for the teacher in me to make it through the school year without limping across the finish line. So here's to taking care of one's self and all of my other Mid-Year Resolutions!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Talking to Myself in a Crowded Room

Welcome to 2015! As this year begins, I see nothing but possibilities ahead. Like most people, I have a growing list of goals to help guide me to what will hopefully be the best year ever. In addition to that 5K I will absolutely be running this year, I have a few school related goals. Starting this blog tops the school list. Check!

My principal is the biggest cheerleader of the blog as a tool to stretch yourself as a teacher and writer. She got me thinking about this blog business a while ago but I never really felt I could commit to it. I pictured it as a complicated, time draining endeavor for which I didn't have the time. 

Now that I'm in my fourth year teaching 2nd grade I think I could use a good stretch and I thought blogging would be the way to go. I know there are always ways to improve my instruction and interactions with parents, students, and peers. I'm going to use this blog to help me along that path. When I fantasized about this blog in the past, I pictured frequent posts  highlighting all of the great blog-worthy moments in my day. I saw cute pictures and borders with clever titles. Then I remembered that isn't me at all. Before I set myself up for complete and total blog failure, I need to take a minute to decide what I want this blog to be. Sustaining constant updates with hours of time put into each one is out of my league and not really what I need. I need a place to put my thoughts down so I can reflect on my teaching in a thoughtful way. I need a place where I can improve my writing by actually writing. (Isn't that I what I keep telling my students to do??) This space will provide me with an opportunity to look at lessons, units, or interactions with students and peers through a reflective lens. 

Thinking about my blog in this way makes it feel more like talking out loud to myself in a crowded room. Since I find myself doing this all the time anyway, why not write it down. Sometimes you just need to hear your thoughts out loud, or in this case see them written down, to get anywhere.

Here's to a new calendar year and a mid-winter boost to my school year!!

Mrs. Zeller