Teachers

What do we do now?

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!

Blessings ya’ll!

–MLB

Survive, Thrive and Stay Alive

Daily Walk, Teachers, Uncategorized

Staying positive

When life throws curve ball after curve ball, you have two choices. You can either thrown down the bat and walk away, or you can keep on swinging. If you think about it, this is the choice we are faced with every day. In a world of negativity in which we find ourselves in, we have to make the right choice. My husband and I were recently in a spot where we had to make a choice. We had a family member who had a child who was having a tough time in school. Of course, me being an educator and him being a minister, we knew we had to step in. The boy is only in elementary school and we realize this is a crucial time for him. We also know that the “Pipeline to Prison” is a very real thing in the African-American community, and for young boys if no one intervenes for them, that is the path they will be on.

Therefore, we decided to intervene and we brought him home right after Thanksgiving. (Which is why I haven’t posted in a while) Yes, it has been quite an undertaking. We forgot what it was like to have a little one in the house again. Fortunately, our teenagers all chip in, and we are making it work for him. No matter how the days go, we know what our goal is: to keep him on the right path and out of the prison population. All that to say, when you see negative situations around you, sometimes you are called to intervene–and in those times, you must! Nonetheless, there are some key nuggets I want to encourage you with today, about how to stay positive in a negative world:

Be Goal-Oriented

Set some personal goals (long term and short term) and have some fun pursuing them every day

Be Ever-Grateful

Find something to be thankful for in your life and focus on the good

Be Constantly Prayerful

Rely on the truth of your faith to guide your thoughts

Be Consistently Relentless

Decide that no matter what, you are not giving up on yourself or your goals

Be Driven by Love

Let love be your guide in your interactions with others

Be encouraged friends, and keep on swinging that bat–you are bound to hit something if you just keep on swinging!

In Love,

MLB

I Corin. 13:13 And the greatest of these is Love

Daily Walk, Teachers

New Year, New Focus

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Pexels.com

Happy 2020! Wow! January is always a time of reflecting on last year, while setting goals for the new year. For me, I look at triumphs and trials because in the classroom you experience both. In fact, you can count on this happening almost every single day. Sometimes, even moment to moment things happen that make you feel like a teaching rockstar and then other things happen that make you feel like a teaching newbie. Either way, there’s always something to be thankful for. You learn from both, and that is one of the beauties of teaching! So my nugget from the bucket today is:

Celebrate the triumphs no matter how small, and embrace the trials because there are lessons from them all!

We are pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed! (2 Corin:4:9)

In Love,

MLB

Teachers

Learning from Jesus: Message 6

Anybody tired, overwhelmed or just plain discouraged with continuing to teach and explain the same things to your kids? I bet there are a few teachers who can relate here. I know there are times when it seems like nothing I say is getting through to my kids. For those times, I have learned to fall back on the message of the following passage: Matt 13:1-9.

“Whoever has ears, let them hear”

Jesus was teaching large crowds and he told them many things. However, the point we can take from this passage is that some received the message and some did not. In other words, we can teach our hearts out and not every one of our students will receive it the same. We should not be discouraged when they all don’t get it the first time. We must continue to do our best to deliver the information, and keep planting the seeds of knowledge that we have been given to plant. If we see ourselves as planters, then we will not focus on whether or not the harvest comes.

Keep planting, my friends! Be encouraged that the harvest is in his hands and not ours!

In Love,

MLB

Do Everything in Love

Teachers

Learning from Jesus: Message 5

Right about now, the school year is in full swing and so is everything else. The paperwork on your desk is stacking up at the same time the holiday stress is lurking around the corner. However, even in the midst of all that is going on around us there is something we can do to stay above ground.

In Mark chapter 4, there is a scene described where Jesus is riding in a boat with his disciples. Verse 37 says, A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

First of all, this huge, violent wind and rain storm seemed to come out of nowhere. The disciples panicked, as anyone would, but Jesus was resting while all of this was going on around him. This scene has always been very interesting to me. However, after being in the classroom for a number of years, I can still relate to what this scene is teaching. So, here are a couple of lessons I get from it.

  1. No matter what is going on around you, you can still keep your composure
  2. In the midst of the most chaotic times in your life, you must make time to rest.

I think both of these lessons go hand in hand. The more I make time to rest, spend quiet time in the word and take intentional moments to be thankful…then I am more able to keep my composure. Otherwise, I will feel like I am sinking and being overtaken by the circumstances around me. So, go ahead and take care of what you need to do every day, but don’t forget to take the necessary time to rest. Jesus did it right in the middle of a storm, and so can you!

-In Love,

MLB

Do Everything in Love