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Redefining self care

As educators, we care for others. Make more decisions than the average joe and still put ourselves behind when life gets going. We make excuses and don’t always treat ourselves the best.

However, this can not go on for very long. It will not end well, trust me. Burning the candle at both ends, not caring for YOU will not end well. Self care, though, is a HUGE umbrella that encompasses many ideas others will tell you to do to be up to educating students and others day in and out.

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You will have (well intending) colleagues tell you to get enough sleep, take care of yourself, practice self care, and more. However, at the end of the day, what looks great for someone may not be the other’s cup of tea. Self care is defined as care of one self when you look it up in the dictionary. It’s broad, it’s unlimited, and it really should be defined by each person.

Therefore, I am redefining self care for me. I may not like to run or spend time in the heat if I don’t have to. Others may choose that and it shouldn’t be a popularity contest or competition. But I do have things that fill my cup and make me refreshed such as taking nature photography and spending time with family’s dogs. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s a-okay! It’s for the care of myself that makes it worth it.

The bottom line is that WE must define self care for ourselves. It’s a MUST in our field and we have to do it without accepting our well intending colleagues ideas if they’re not our cup of tea. It’s okay! Take charge of your self care today.

Redefine what self care looks like for you! You deserve it! 

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Pd4uandme1This blog post is apart of the #pd4uandme July blogging Bingo
Image created by Pam Hubler 

 

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You are their constant

Over my years in education, I’ve noticed something. Students come to us for love, education, support, and (some) consistency. Our students’ emotional well being depends on us being their constant day in and out. Every year, the last sentiment holds true whether students are in my classroom or in another class.

As educators, we can’t control what our students see outside the four school walls but we can try to keep the constant when they are in school. We can support THEM, encourage THEM, and celebrate THEM every single day. Are there days it is harder than others, of course! However your every action, word, and notion is noted in your student’s world. Some come to us for education and that’s fabulous. However, you have many that come to us for some much more and the time is now to clinch that responsibility. Love your students, support THEM, and be their constant.

Rita Pierson hits the nail on the head as she advocated for ever kid to need a champion. YOU can be someone’s champion today as they learn to figure out their lives in and out of schools. I truly believe our students come to us for a reason and that makes them champions in our hearts. Seeing their struggles, their triumphs, and their grace is amazing.

My students love must. It’s encouragement for them and a song they will replay. Our students get the music, they listen to it on their off time, and look up to so many artists just because of what they say. Why not find a medium for them to be encouraged through and with every day. Our students are CHAMPIONS every day. They overcome so much and, this year, we’ve found encouragement through this video.

Our students rely on US to be their constant every day. To love, to listen, to encourage, and to support THEM every day. Why not clinch this honor, rise up, and be their constant every day. THEY depend on it for their time with you. Be their constant every day!

Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be

 

 

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Even on the toughest of days

It’s May! Teachers and students are feeling the warmer weather, the sunshine outside, and know the year is winding down. The testing season is among so many states, anxiety is through the roof for students and staff, and the end stretch is near. Changes in schedules and routines can throw the most regimented and scheduled student off. It’s that time of the year.Wherever you go, leave footprints of love, for those who have lost their way.

Even on the toughest of days, I try to remember that I am a constant for so many. I may be stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed but my students depend on me! I have to remain level headed even when they can’t. It’s easier said than done, I get it. However, think of entering a classroom or arena and having all eyes on you. It happens every day. Our students notice our every move and feed off our energy. What you can control will impact your students.

YOU are the constant for so many of your students. YOU make a difference every single day! Even on thee toughest of days, YOUR students depend on you and your ability to have their back and have them rise to the occasion every day! I know you are tired and stressed. But now is the time to be the constant for your students.

The final race is on! You are their constant. Own it and show it day in and out!

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The power of “I’m sorry”

Recently Aaron Hogan, writer and moderator of #Teachermyth, challenged participants to write about something you recognize you are learning this week. It could have been simple or profound. I recognized how an apology and owning up to my mistakes made my students see how human I really am!

Last Thursday, I discovered that I had made a mistake with my students after school while reviewing their daily point sheets. It was something that could be fixed and apologized for. However, I realized I needed to tell them “I’m sorry” and admitted to my six to eleven year olds that I was human. Their responses amazed me and I noticed that their words really impacted me.

I’m sorry…two words that can turn a conversation in a different direction. Admitting any mistake can be tough. However, when you apologize to students, they realize your heart is in the right place. They connect with you in a way you didn’t realize they could and they see the raw, real you of wanting them to know you care.

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Every day, educators have students in front of them and hope to make a difference in their lives. Their words, your words, your heart, their hearts, and emotions are all at play. We all make mistakes. We’re human. However, having the heart to apologize to your students really makes an impact. Something I noticed when I apologize to my students is the connective piece. I get the “it’s okay” or “you made a mistake?” However, I want my students to see the side of me that’s not always right. The side that I make mistakes just like them. Owning up to my mistake wasn’t just powerful, it was REAL. They accepted my words, my apology, and my plan to move forward with them.

If we want our students to stand by their actions, apologize for mistakes, and live up to the challenge of life, we must do the same. We are human. We make mistakes & we must own up to them just like we expect our students to own up.

Think about a time you made an error or mistake with your students. Did you apologize? If not, I challenge you to the next time. Perhaps you can see the REALness of YOU being human in front of them. If we can’t own up to our mistakes, why should our students?

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A grateful heart

Every so often, I tell people I am a special educator and get the response “it takes a special person to do that.” Other times, I tell people I am a teacher and get the response “oh you’re stronger than me.” Sometimes these responses bring good feelings and other times, I wonder, what else is posed on teachers when others find out their profession.

There’s a simple truth, though, to my teaching and answering my calling and that is with a grateful heart. A grateful heart to teach, to watch students be successful, to see students struggle and succeed, and to keep coming back. My profession as a Social Emotional Teacher has stretched me thin this semester. I never realized how much students dealt with until I started working with students with trauma filled lives and struggles. For my first six weeks of this year, I responded to calls for assistance and, in turn, found out that trauma has so many facets. Primarily, trauma does not discriminate nor is it just in special education. It is real and lives and breathes within so many students. It’s present every day and students react in many different ways.

Trauma does not discriminate. It happens everywhere—across all races, religions, socioeconomic levels, and family systems.

This school year has defined my grateful heart even more than years past. I have the opportunity to show up to a population of students that needs a constant. A population of students that uses my experience and knowledge for power and support. This is not me tooting my own horn; it’s owning what I can give every single day. Whether it’s responding to screams or elopement or being under a table with a student, my grateful heart of supporting students grows.

While I spend most of my days in a self contained unit working with extreme emotional and behavioral needs, I still consider it a gift to help others who need support as I am able. Being able to empower teachers and students daily is a calling that has solidified over the past two years. It’s not just the students that need support; it’s the teachers and staff working with students daily who need support too.

There are so many needs in the classroom setting and while, I can only do so much, I lead with a grateful and willing heart to support others. Whether it’s a teacher at their wits end or needing some new ideas or a student in crisis, my hope is to respond with a grateful and willing heart every single time.

A matter of hours