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

Uncategorized

Learning from Jesus: Message 2

Photo by Oziel Gómez on Pexels.com
Yesterday, as I was frantically trying to plug in my curling iron, I was having a little trouble. I plugged it into the first outlet, and I didn’t see the light come on. I tried it in another one, and I still didn’t see the power light come on. Then, I thought, “I guess it is either broken, or we have a shortage problem”. Finally, I tried it in one more outlet, but this time I grabbed my eyeglasses. As soon as I plugged it in, instantly I saw the red power button. You see, it worked every time I plugged it in previously. However, the last time I plugged it in I actually saw the light because I looked at it closer, carefully and with a different set of eyes. I pray this will be true for you today. Maybe you have looked at this scripture before in Matt 9:36, or even heard it before, but today we are going to look a little closer, with a different set of eyes. It says,

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

He “Saw” them

In this scripture, Jesus saw the crowds… Stop! Let’s pause right there for this message today. First of all, he “Saw” them. Don’t go too fast past this word. You know how you can see somebody sometimes, but then other times you can really “See” them. In other words, sometimes it is a casual glance that doesn’t mean very much, and other times it is an emotional, or spiritual connection when you can truly “See” them in a different way. So in this scripture, when Jesus saw the crowds, that was only the beginning of what he was about to do for them. He didn’t just give a casual glance, he stopped and took positive actions.

Friends, sometimes your kids just want to know that you “See” them. Many of them are so desperate to be noticed by someone, especially their teacher. I know you’re thinking, “I’ve got too many kids to try to stop and “Notice” them. I hear you. But I just want you to consider what those crowds must have felt like, when they heard that Jesus was doing all kinds of teaching and healing in their town. They began to follow him and gather wherever he went, just for a chance that he might notice them. They were desperate to be seen by him, because they knew if he saw them he would change their situation.

Colleagues, I submit to you that your kids are just as desperate to be seen by you. They want you to call them by name, notice their new shoes or their new haircut. And let me just tell you, God saw you first, when he put you in the lives of your students. It is no mistake that you are where you are! And even though they will never say it, your kids are so glad that you are there. You see, just as those crowds were desperate for Jesus’ teaching, your kids are desperate for your teaching too! That teaching, or whatever it is they are supposed to get from you at this time in their life, just might be the ray of hope that they are searching for. And if Jesus, the master teacher, thought it was important enough to stop and see the crowds…surely, we as those who desire to learn from him, will deem it just as important. So, if we, in the midst of all the demands of our sometimes overwhelming responsibilities, can pause and make one student feel like we “See” them, then we have humbly followed the footsteps of the master teacher.

Until next time,

Blessings,

MLB

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