Breathe, breathe, and then take one full deep breath…now let’s talk about it. It was a year like no other! It took us to places that, mentally and physically we had never gone before. In other words… ya’ll, it was a hot mess and I mean hotter and messier than any other year before. Honestly, after growing up in an impoverished neighborhood, in a dysfunctional household with abuse, struggling to find my own identity being from a mixed background and the rest that life and teaching has thrown at me…including all the typical challenges of being in the classroom (Mounting documentation, testing expectations and bad behavior to name a few) I really didn’t think anything else could rattle my state of mind—enter pandemic teaching! This on top of everything else was an enormous burden to bear.
So….now what? After all of that, we have to know that we are the strongest, most tenacious people on earth. Now, it’s time to re-group, re-connect and re-focus on what we know, and what we do best!
First and foremost…my plan is to have a plan for my own well-being. Real, for real talk ya’ll–I had no sustainable plan last year. All my normal stuff didn’t work any more. My exercise plan was out the window, my stretching and meditating was minimal, and I was just flat out running on left over stress from the previous day. I took a beating from Covid, exhaustion, zoom and climbing expectations all at the same time. Somehow I made it to May, on a wing and a dwindling prayer!
The Mrs. Bowers of old, which included perky positivity and undying committment to being the light was growing dimmer and dimmer each day. I had to decide if I was going to allow my light to continue going out, or was I going to find a new stronger flame. It took some real reflection on what I needed to do to get back what I once had. Here’s some things I added in this summer:
A daily stretch routine
Daily time in the pool/hot tub (Relaxing and therapeutic)
Revamping of my diet
Asking for help from my family (This is a big change for me–so I”m asking for back rubs and foot massages now)
In addition to all of that, I reflected back on the things I loved about being a teacher. I literally wrote a list of things and they made me smile. I had to remind myself of what God has called me to do, and remember that he has equipped me to do it! Here’s my list:
I get to be a part of a professional community in which I am proud to belong
I get to create a positive subculture within my classroom that shapes minds and attitudes
I get to have visits from former students who thank me for helping them
I get to be a part of the solution for education in our country
I get to have a reliable income that helps support my family
I get to have some time for my family both during the year and the summer
I get to have healthcare for myself and my family
I get to connect with, encourage and learn from my colleagues who are in the trenches with me
These are some things that stood out to me, and I decided I would write them down, print them and I will post them near my desk at school as a reminder of what I am grateful for.
So, I believe I am ready now, to get back in the fight for future of our kids…and now with an even brighter flame! After being refreshed over the summer and having a plan for the year, I know exactly what I will do.
Oh, and I always read my favorite motivational books and watch inspiring movies before school starts, for fun and a reset on my mindset. (Will be a later post or tweet). Finally, I always call my middle school teacher the weekend before school. She is amazing and still encourages me in her own sweet way!
Here’s to an incredible start to your year, and I hope you all can find your flame and keep it burning for yourself and all others to see all year long!
Please let me know what you did to refresh this summer, or what you would add to your list of what you love about being a teacher!
Survive, Thrive and Stay Alive