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

5 Ways to Recharge Everyday

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I never imagined that I would one day live in a world where I had to plug in everything at night, in order to use it the next day. The only thing I ever had to plug in was my curling iron and that wasn’t every day. There was nothing else I needed to plug in on a daily basis in order to properly function. Fast forward many years later—enter the world of wireless technology. Last night, I plugged in my laptop, phone, tablet, and portable charger. My, my, my how times have changed! Due to these changing times, the increasing requirements in our lives, we have to recharge every night!

Friends, we must do the same thing in our lives both mentally and spiritually! Due to the daily challenges we face and the requirements of our respective jobs, we must plug in and recharge our batteries each night. You might face irate parents, disrespectful kids, unreasonable expectations, or simply someone cutting you off while driving to work. You must recharge! So, here are 5 ways to recharge everyday. I call them the 5 R’s:

  1. Rest! Go to bed! Seriously, get some sleep ya’ll! You need at least 6 hours of sleep to be rested for the next day. Some people can survive on 5hrs. but at least 6 will have you less irritable the next day.
  2. Read! Crack open your Bible and read a verse or chapter. Proverbs are always a good place to start, and of course, the four Gospels show Jesus living a self-less life we can all learn from. This gives your mind something to meditate on and fall back on throughout the day.
  3. Rejuvenate! Listen to your favorite music whenever you get a chance. Research shows music does something wonderful and refreshing to the brain. I personally believe it does something incredible to the human spirit! Also, listen to inspirational podcasts, or watch uplifting videos as well.
  4. Reward! Ok, I don’t mean knock out a gallon of ice cream every night. I’m talking about some small treats that make you feel “Rewarded”. One of my treats is a twix, or hot chocolate from SB. Whatever it takes to make you feel like you have done yourself some good for the day.
  5. Remember! Think about why you do what you do! Think about the value you bring to those around you. Remind yourself that you were created for a purpose and that purpose can only be fulfilled by you–and only if you are recharged every day!

In Love,

MLB

Teachers

Love in action

She could have ignored me or let me be

No time to investigate or see about my history

She could have let me sit and never find out what I knew

Or teach me anything just to see what I could do

She could have given up because my class was too loud

Or walked out and not turned back because that was surely allowed

But she decided that I was worth it all and she hung around to see

I bet she didn’t know her teaching, was actually breathing life into me

As I looked into my classroom this afternoon, I thought of my 7th grade teacher. As I made every effort to help a couple of students who didn’t seem to want to be helped, I thought of her. I tried to think of those days when she taught me, loved and cared for me. This poem is a dedication to her and all that she did for me, and so many others on the south side of Chicago. I will always be indebted to her tireless days and nights she devoted to me. Her inspiration lives on within me as I aim to be the teacher to my kids, that she was to me. As the Lord gives me strength, I aim to put love in action, as she always did so beautifully. #payitforward

In Love,

MLB

John 3:16

Poems, Teachers

May is here and coming to an end!

beautiful bloom blooming blossom
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ahhh, we “Mayed” it! The month that culminates everything that we have set out to do all year. We lay it all on the line in the month of May. Although the countdown to summer might begin, the panic for running out of time to prepare your kids also sets in. No matter what, we take it all in stride, because we have been built for this! We got this! Enjoy the words of this poem as you head towards the finish line!

All year long you’ve worked so hard to get through

From Aug to now you’ve had plenty to do

This time of year, is like a downward slope

Working diligently to the end without losing hope

Then the time comes to celebrate all that you do

Teacher Appreciation Week puts the light on you

It shines so bright for the whole world to see

Showing others, the importance of teachers, is how it should be

So do your field trips, awards and talent shows too

Summer will come soon, and you will wish your students a sweet adieu

Finish Strong Colleagues!

 

Love,

MLB

Poems

Teacher Appreciation Week!

red roses close up photography
Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

I love this time of year, when we get to give extra appreciation where it is due! I encourage all educators to lift up one another this week in whatever way you can. Even an extra smile or kind word can go a long way when lifting up a colleague. I woke up this morning with this on my heart, so I wrote a little poem to encourage teachers everywhere. Enjoy!

A World Without Teachers

Desolate and gloomy things would be

No one to start the learning with the ABC’s

Barren and bland our minds would stagnate

No one to spark the thirst for knowledge that opens the gate

Uneducated and unskilled our communities would unfold

No one to continue the cycle of education, ignorance would be bold

Unlearned and unloved our kids would be left in the dust

No one to give the next generation a future to put their trust

But God in all his wisdom decided to create a group to help us all

He called them “Teachers”, and he equipped them so that our societies would never fall

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Love,

Mrs. Bowers