This year has been rough. An undeniable understatement. Hope seems hard to reach, especially when our resilience has been tested these in these long challenging months since last spring. Yet hope is an antidote to despair. And while acknowledging the emotional toll of these times is crucial, equally crucial is our ability to hold onto a belief in positive future possibilities. Hope can sustain us, and gives our hard work a purpose that fuels us with energy and optimism. The same is true for our students. Students who are high in hope have greater academic achievement, stronger friendships, more creativity …
Can learning be fun and joyful? Amidst the increased rigor, additional high stakes testing, and required pacing guides it is harder to find joy in everyday teaching. Research by Taina Rantala (an elementary school principal) and Kaarina Maatta (a professor of psychology) indicates that joy is an important factor in learning. Here are a few things you might try:
- Be willing to be in the moment. There are lots of goofy things that happen during the day. Sometimes they are annoying but almost as often you can stop and appreciate your student’s creativity.
- Keep learning relevant to your students. How
Being a parent probably takes a lot more hard work and patience than you imagined when you thought about having children. It also takes a lot of time in our lives – there are morning and bedtime routines, shopping, meal preparation, attending school events, other activities, and…and…and. With all of these obligations, we sometimes forget that we decided to have children because of the joy of being a family and raising small human beings. Here are some ideas for keeping joy alive:
- Slow down, and observe the joy your child experiences when learning something new, or doing an activity.
Teaching is both challenging (exhausting) and fulfilling. The time off in December can be a time to breathe, renew your energy and refocus on your passion and vision for yourself as a teacher and what you want for your students. Parker Palmer’s book Courage to Teach is a lovely resource for renewing your sense of purpose, and cultivating your capacity to teach wholeheartedly, for your ability to bring the best of you into your classroom.
Effective teachers have of a strong sense of personal identity and enthusiasm that infuses their teaching with inspiration and challenge.
- What do you love or
It’s important for teachers to remember that taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury; it’s a conscious, mindful strategy that results in being more energetic and present. This makes teaching more enjoyable and frankly, more survivable. Summer is a great time to reflect on the ways to take care of yourself and begin self-care routines for the school year. Here are some ideas:
- Make time for friends and family.
- Relax and have fun. That might involve spending time outside or swallowed up by a great novel.
- Make exercise a regular part of your schedule – walk, bicycle, dance,
Parents spend a lot of time and energy helping their children learn and grow. By the end of the day of meeting the needs of others (children, partner, colleagues, neighbors) you may not have much energy left for yourself. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury. It is a necessary, conscious, mindful strategy. In the busy-ness of your life it is more likely to happen if it is planned and scheduled up front. Filling your own cup first leaves you with more love and energy for yourself, your children and the other important people in your life. Some ideas:…