I love the year-end/new year season in the blogosphere. Many of my favorite bloggers (see sidebar for a list of blogs I read regularly) publish special posts or series of posts that feature their most popular posts from the last year. It’s a great time to be reminded of all those ideas that rocked your world this past year and to get reenergized for the coming semester!
As for me…well, I don’t typically do a ‘Best of” list, mostly because I never seem to agree that my most popular posts were my most valuable or important posts. This year, I haven’t even checked yet. But I DO want to do a BEST OF 2017 post…just a little differently. I want to tell you what the best thing that I did in 2017 was!
If you’ve been reading semi-regularly, you know that 2017 was a bittersweet year for me. I said goodbye to Alaska and my life of the last 10 years. I moved to Vermont on six weeks’ notice to start a new chapter of our life. I had a beautiful daughter on June 1, and my brother got married in August. I hosted a workshop in Chittenango but missed out on seeing my friends and many of you at the conferences I usually visit through the spring and summer. I started a new business that is growing so fast that I can hardly keep up with it, but it is totally out of my comfort zone and it is pushing me beyond the limits of what I thought I could handle. So…lots of good things, and lots of hard things.
But what was the best thing?
I saw a counselor for 4 months at the beginning of this year! It was LIFE CHANGING!
I am sharing this with YOU because you are a teacher. On top of that, you are a son/daughter, a friend, a coworker, a mom/dad, a brother/sister, a neighbor, a HUMAN living with other humans. And the BEST THING that you can do in 2018 is to get yourself right.
I decided to start seeing a counselor because I was experiencing anxiety; really for the first time in my life. It was mostly tied up in a few recurring…disagreements…between my husband and I. My counselor, wise man that he is, recommended that I work just on me. And so I did! And it was THE BEST EVER!!!
I learned that anxiety is not an emotion; it’s an impairment of fear. I had some fears that I wasn’t dealing with because I don’t like conflict and I take pride in talking myself out of confronting problems and ‘dealing with them’ on my own. Which is all fine and dandy until they devour your subconscious and make you super anxious! They will get out one way or another, and so I had to start facing my fears and *gasp* talking about them with my husband. I realized that I have had a lot of training in my life in many diverse areas–physical, mental, spiritual, professional–but I had never had emotional training. I had never learned about emotions and how to use their gifts and acknowledge their impairments.
What does this mean for you??
Teaching is hard; HUMANing is hard. How can you be the BEST teacher that you can be?
No method or strategy or management plan or dream teaching job will save you from burnout. Get yourself right so that you can be the teacher that your students need. It might not take seeing a counselor–although if you can, find a good one and GO! It might mean getting up a little earlier to exercise or pray; to take time during the day to BREATHE; to plan a coffee date with a friend or mentor once a week to decompress and look for solutions; to journal.
I wish each of you a HEALTHY, HAPPY 2018 from the bottom of my heart!!