Wednesday, June 7, 2017

From the Inside Out

Smiles plastered all over our faces.

Desks scrubbed, white boards cleared and grades in.  
Students said their good-byes, 
we breathed a long, releasing sigh.

School's out for the summer.  

The next school year has new surprises already lurking, trying to provoke uncertainty.  But, as Scarlet says, "We'll worry about that tomorrow."

now is time to release, 
sip my coffee slowly,
on this almost summer, rainy morning,
decompress and reflect on this past year.

 The beginning of the year began with my heart in my hand as I once again said good-bye to my own children.  It's not easy for Momma when her own kiddos live far away.  

I usually teach my students all three years of middle school.  I already knew some potential challenges I was going to face.

Personnel in my department was changing and I didn't know how these changes would impact me and my time.  I'm one of those teachers that stay at school for about one to two hours after the kids go home.  With these new changes, I was afraid I might have to move in.  

Then you have the usual challenges of having to keep up with your regular obligations,  professional development and the surprises that pop up unexpectedly.

And, finally, saying "Adios" to dear friends and co-workers who are moving on, never easy for me.  

As you might already know, I filter everything through my personal faith.  It's the way I roll.  And, I must say, in spite of all the obstacles, my God has been faithful.  He guided and strengthened me every step of the way.  I learned a few lessons, had a few blessings, and made it through one more time.  For that, I am truly grateful!

LESSON LEARNED:  One major and important lesson I re-learned is contentment comes from the inside out.

 There are so many distractors in education.  Every day there's a new one threatening to take us off track, provoking discouragement.  All these things can steal from us the fulfillment we seek from our profession. 

 Education can be messy, it's not always neat and prescriptive.  It's a struggle.  Some days we're on top of the world, making strides and feeling as if we are making a difference.  Then other days it feels as if we are literally fighting against gravity.  But, we cannot really measure our full contribution from one day to the next because education is a process, it's not a moment.  Education doesn't just happen,
it's developed.  

For my professional development goal this year I chose to learn about how to help students reflect on their learning.  I took it one step further and worked on reflecting on my teaching and my daily do's.  I purchased the book, "Mindsets in the Classroom" by Mary Cay Rici.  I learned a lot about how our thinking about what we need to learn directly impacts our success.  I learned how we as teachers can self-jeopardize progress because of our own fixed mindsets.  So, I decided to work on changing some of my own mindsets and go-to reactions.

Here are some mindsets I changed:

-Some days I decided to just "shake things off" rather than dwell in uncertainty.

-Other days I decided to keep my comments to myself.

-Some days I decided to go with my professional opinion even if it wasn't popular.  

-I chose to listen, really listen, and learn.

-I chose, to be honest about my shortcomings because they're there even though I don't always care for others to know.

-I sometimes decided to move "urgent things to do" to "important, can wait until tomorrow".

-I chose to breathe and assess before working myself up because things have a way of working themselves out.

Changing from the inside out made a difference for me this year in how I view my role and how I view what I do.  I am a teacher.  And, no, it may not be one of the highest paying careers, it may not be the most admired, and it may not be everything I thought it would be, but it is who I am.
It is who I'm called to be.