When I think about my routine during the school year, I feel like my brain is always full of "stuff". Whether it be all of the students I have or how a certain lesson went that day. Then onto family: am I picking up my daughter from the bus stop? What am I making for dinner? And what ultimately happens is I get too full! I used to sit in department or faculty meetings at the end of the day on Wednesdays and just feel like there was no more room for whatever was on the agenda that day. Maybe I was just "hangry", but usually I would describe it like a teapot full of water, having been left on the burner on high without a spout or way to release that building pressure. And in the frenzy of thoughts that occupied my brain I would get overwhelmed and even a bit depressed at times...maybe even a little bit of fear. Was I up for the challenge of all of my roles...to my students, my colleagues, my family, my community? Would the kids like the lesson I prepped for tomorrow? Did I forget to make any copies? And what I started to notice is that it was not in the amount of things I'm doing that necessarily needed to change, but in my perception. I needed to be less mind full and more mindful. In whatever role I was in at any given moment in my day, I just needed to be there.
Now that seems so easy, doesn't it? How could something so simple like staying in the moment become such a chore. Where do I go wrong time after time, when I inevitably go from the "Let's do this!" pumped up charge of promising to be more in the moment to then somehow finding myself on a completely different road full of congested thought traffic. How did I go from a nice rural drive in the country to bumper to bumper traffic on a 6 lane mind-way! My conclusion is that we love the road when it is serene and smooth, but at some point we hit a rocky road of potholes or undeveloped streets. Thoughts of negative energy hit us; perhaps when you get a call that a family member is unexpectedly ill or a bad report comes from your child's school and now you have to take off work to go elsewhere. It disrupts your mojo, your flow. So when those moments of happiness leave us, we tend to want to find some sort of alternate route...so we take a mental road to somewhere other than where we should be in that moment. Life is not all unicorns and rainbows, this much we all know. Sometimes I find myself chasing the feeling of eternal happiness, when some times I just need to feel whatever the present situation calls for even if it is disappointment, anger or fear. Those are natural human emotions that are responses to your current environment...stay on that road! Be in that moment then move on. Our students, our family, our colleagues deserve their moment with us. We shouldn't immediately hit an emotional eject button to avoid feeling what our bodies need to feel. Otherwise we might lose sight of our bigger goals in life and all the little steps needed to get there day in and day out. We become so mind full that we miss the "exit" we intended to take and instead of focusing on course correcting sometimes we just dig in and go on cruise control. Or perhaps we turn our attention to the GPS and look for others to guide us or tell us what to do next. Mostly we just need to trust ourselves, slow down and feel. Know your value and be present in every moment so others can enjoy you in all your glory! You are enough!
We need to keep ourselves emotionally grounded so that we can be a leader in the classroom, in our home and in the community. Take a moment and think about what goals you had for this school year back in July or even early August. As the first month of school is coming to a close...Are you where you intended? Did life seem to get in the way? Were you too mind full and now are so far off track that you feel like you've hit a point of no return? Put all the negative energy away, take 30 seconds to close your eyes, focus on your breathing and nothing else. Clear your mind, remember your summer self in all its hopefulness and optimism for the upcoming year and try something new, be present the next time you step into your classroom, your home, your community. Really see your students, your children, your family as they are in that moment and appreciate all your blessings even when your emotional forecast seems to be cloudy! Bring an umbrella! You got this! You are enough.
Formerly a Latin and Spanish Teacher at a public high school in Southeastern PA. I know help empower my HS (1700 Students and 160 Teachers) to better levage technology in today's classrooms. I also work as an Instructional Designer in the evenings for Villanova University.
I am incredibly passionate about pedagogy and how Edtech can enhance that experience. I hope to see Education revolutionized in my lifetime!