Saturday, September 26, 2015

"I'm so underwhelmed!"

...said no teacher EVER!

Educators are in the unique situation of spending all day every day with children. Sounds like a blast until you realize you are spending ALL day EVERY day with CHILDREN. Children who you cannot vent to, problem solve with, who generally do not get your humor, understand when you are exhausted or know how to give you a little grace when you just are not quite ready to face the day. We get up, cover the bags under our eyes with concealer, fill our water bottles with caffeine and "put on a ha-ppy face" (did you sing that last part like I did?)

Now, don't get me wrong. I've said before how much I absolutely LOVE my job, but if I'm honest with myself, there are just days that I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed. This feeling then quickly turns into guilt which then turns into me feeling like a failure. I don't say this to collect comments of, "You are amazing," or questions of, "Why would you feel that way." I want to admit this so that YOU realize that you are NOT alone!

As much as we push collaboration and learning communities, the bottom line is we are alone with our students and our responsibilities on a daily basis. We close our door and do what we do best: teach (and then judge ourselves because we know we could've done better). When we do get a sliver of time to talk with each other it is always about teaching. Ask my husband what my friends and I talk about when we are hanging out outside of school, and he will tell you SCHOOL. We never stop talking about school.

The problem with that is we still tend to not talk about what we really need to get off our chests. We discuss our lessons. We ask for advice on how to handle difficult situations inside and outside of the classroom. We vent over new school rules that we don't understand (to my administrators that might read this, don't read that last sentence.) ;) We analyze data formally and informally. We talk about how much we love our kids and their awesome personalities. But somehow we never find the time or the words to just look at each other and say, "I am overwhelmed!"

When we do it is simply exhilarating, because the common response is, "Oh my gosh, SO AM I!" Then the snowball of emotions begin. We suddenly realize that we are not alone, and we are not failures. And it is so very true- being overwhelmed does not mean we are failing. It doesn't mean we aren't trying hard enough, and it doesn't mean that we aren't prioritizing enough. It is simply the byproduct of being a teacher. There are days where every lesson is a Bloom's Taxonomy dream, where Rigor meets Relevance, and where we are praised by our PLN for being a teaching guru (check out that name dropping!) And then there are days where we feel like everything is falling apart.

I'll tell you a secret though. Even on those my-nightmares-are-coming-true days, you are so good at what you do that no one else suspects a thing. Unless you fess up, your smiling faces makes everyone around you none the wiser. I've had three different "let's get real" conversations since the start of school, and each one involved us spilling our guts. Once we did and we realized we all were feeling the same way, the healing process began. We shared words of encouragement, we hugged each other, and we even bared gifts of caffeine (Sonic drinks = therapy!)

It's safe to say that no one is going to hang up an inspirational poster that says...
Find joy in the troubles of others.
But boy is it comforting when you find out are sharing the same trials and in knowing that you are not alone. It is so crazy to think that in a job where you are constantly surrounded you can feel so isolated, but it happens all to often.

I encourage you to make a promise to yourself. The next time you start to feel like you are drowning, and you'll never reach the top of your to-do list, go talk to someone. Feel free to keep it short and sweet. Simply open their door and say, "Hey, I'm totally and completely overwhelmed. How about you?" #thetruthshallsetyoufree


Friday, August 14, 2015

Bitter, Sweet or Bittersweet

As I sit here on my last {week}day of summer break, I'm torn between what I feel personally and what I feel professionally, by what I can admit out loud and what I'm not supposed to actually say.

It's 4:15 pm as I type this post. This is the time next week I will be "released from my paid duties." {Am I the only one so immature that I totally just laughed at that? Oh you did too? #instantfriends} Today, however, I got to spend my day a little differently than my very near future weekdays. Let me break it down for you...

I woke up around 8:30 am, and for those of you without kids, that's "sleeping in" BIG TIME! That's it-took-me-all-summer-to-get-my-kids-to-sleep-that-late-but-now-we-will-have-to-start-getting-up-at-SIX-AM which means no-more-sleeping-in-on-the-weekends-either because kids-are-IMPOSSIBLE-to-sleep-train! After everyone made their way into my bed we turned on Mickey Mouse, thank goodness for DVR, and stayed in bed for about another 20 minutes just hanging out with the mouse and his friends, solving puzzles, and doing the hot dog dance. Who's with me?

Then I got everyone some milk, and made my way to the bathroom for some mommy alone time- LOL, yeah right. I did brush my teeth, but I did not put on make up and I did not do my hair, unless a giant messy bun counts as "done." I headed to the closet where even a t-shirt was too dressy for me today. I made it into work out shorts and a tank top. Btw, I still look this way, and it feels awesome!

I did have to run up to my school for a bit, and it just did not feel right. I mean it's the last weekday of my summer break. My head kept screaming, "GO HOME!" So, I left. I went to an 11 am Zumba class, as I was already dressed for the occasion. Oh how wonderful to be able to workout in the middle of the day and not at either 4:30 AM before the sun is even brave enough to come out, at 4:30 PM when the Texas heat is so bad it's a workout just to survive the hot car ride, or at 6:30 PM when I finally have my kids and I really just need to make dinner and play dress-up.

Then we headed home for lunch. Lunch was great, mostly because I didn't have to scarf it down in 15.2 seconds flat. Breathing is fun while you eat, much safer too! Guess what time it was after lunch? That's right...NAP TIME!!! Why kids don't like naps I'll never understand! I guess my kids knew how important today's nap was to me because they all went down (even the 4 year old who has decided she's too old for naps) without any arguments, threats, screams or tears. I got a solid hour and a half in before the baby wanted a milk snack. He fell back to sleep, and I made my way to the computer. When I got out of bed I had to snap this picture as proof of a perfect way to spend your last weekday of summer break...

Not much else to the day. It's not over yet, but we'll spend the rest of the night celebrating my stepmom's birthday by going out to dinner and eating chocolate cake! The literal icing on the cake/day!

This brings me to my whole point...should I be sad or excited about my last day of summer break? I mean who wakes up and says, "Boy, I can't wait to go back to work and leave my ______________ {fill in with sleeping in/babies/long lunch/crafting/free time, etc} behind!" To be very honest, I am really sad about missing out on so much of my kids in the coming months. They will now spend the majority of their day with someone other than me. They might do some "firsts" with someone other than me. When they get hurt they will run to someone other than me. The only part of me they will get throughout the weekday will be the evenings when they are hungry and tired and therefore very irritable. :(

However, to be very honest, I am also really excited about going back to work. I LOVE my job! I feel so very fortunate that since I do need to work and leave my kids at Nana and Grandpa's Daycare, at least I absolutely LOVE my job!! I could list the many, many reasons #myjobisbetterthanyours, but I'm sure Blogger has a character limit that it will exceed. I mean, I get to teach kids! I get to read with them, watch them learn, watch them grow, watch them laugh at my jokes, watch them not laugh at my jokes because apparently only I get them, watch them make friends, watch them discover new things, watch them...oops I promised I wouldn't start listing. Sorry!

So today, I spent the day with my family doing the things I enjoy while wearing workout clothes and no make-up. In the words of Rapunzel- "Best Day EVVVEERRRRR!" On Monday, I will spend the day with my colleagues learning new skills and procedures and working on my classroom. Then a week from Tuesday, I will be hugging, high-fiving and fist bumping my new students! There is so much fun and excitement coming my way in the next couple of weeks.

There lies my feelings about today- bitter, sweet and bittersweet. Thank you, God, for blessing me with a job that I can be truly excited to go back to when I have to stop hanging out with my babies all day every day! I am so very lucky!

For those of you teachers who have already started back or are about to begin the next school year, I wish you a very SWEET 2015-2016!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Becoming a {Teacher} Blogger...

I have always loved the idea of being one of those one-million-followers-celebrity bloggers, and though my venture in the Teacher Blogger world is not likely to get that big, I am very excited about its possibilities in the field of education. We learn so much from each other (understatement of the year,) and my hope is that this blog will become one of those places where I can express my PASSION for teaching, document INNOVATIVE things happening in my room and in the classrooms around me, all while continuing to deepen my KNOWLEDGE of today's educational world by striving to learn each and every day. Anyone see what I did there?

Thus the name of my blog...Teaching with P.I.N.K.: Passion, Innovation 'N Knowledge. The blog name had absolutely nothing to do with my utter obsession with all things pink. It was simply a lucky connection. ;) In hopes that you will continue to visit my blog and not be scared you are going to have to read lengthy novels each time you come, I will keep this post short. I will end with a quote my fellow teacher and blogger friend TX Teaching Geek found for me: "Teaching is not my job, it's my passion; getting better at it- that's my job" -@josepopoff. Teaching truly is my passion, but honestly, so is getting better at it. I think of teaching just like I think of the other hobbies I enjoy (read: the other crafts that are taking over our office.) I find such joy in the process of continuously refining my craft of teaching, knowing I can never truly perfect it. In the end, the goal is not about us at all. Our prize is knowing that we made a difference in the lives of our children (#cliche #thetruth,) and to do that we must be passionate, innovative and knowledgeable in all that we do for them.