How Can “My Creative Inclusion” Help YOU?
Teachers like to post and read open letters to government officials or other leaders in education regarding their decision to resign from their teaching positions. Letters like this have valid points. My problem with that is that teachers are supposed to offer solutions. We are supposed to look our students in the eye and assure them that we are doing our very best for them. What good does an open letter about your personal decision to quit offer that child? What change does that bring about?
About a year ago, this message would have looked much different. You see, just a year ago I wasn’t the same person I am today. I was an empty shell who felt constantly defeated. When you feel defeated for long enough, you begin to feel helpless and when you feel helpless, it’s a pretty smooth transition into hopeless and a hopeless person isn’t very helpful to anyone. The MAIN responsibility of a teacher is to be helpful to others. So, I get it. I understand why people want to do that. If for nothing else, it brings awareness to the problems in education, I suppose it is a little bit helpful.
A year ago, blogging and writing were my escape. Today, I have had time to heal and in that time I have seen many, many other teachers face the same struggles that I was facing. Why do so many of us feel this way? Is it the paperwork? Is it the unrealistic ideas that test scores measure our value in the classroom and to the students? Is it the low pay? Is it feeling attacked and under appreciated? What is it, really?
I feel like in order to find a solution to any problem we need to analyze what the root problem is. In my situation, and what I’m seeing with others is that we lack Work-Life Balance. Our job is never done. There are always more activities to plan, more parents to call, more paperwork to finish, more things to learn to make us more efficient, productive and better at everything. It’s exhausting, right?
In this year, I have found what I am passionate about. I think it stems from being overwhelmed and burned out, and then learning how to bounce back. As the saying goes, you can’t fill the cup of others until your own cup is full.
I’ve learned what fills my cup. I love education. I love my students. They make me happy. It makes me happy when I see them happy. I will often have the kids tell me one thing they are SUPER happy about or proud of at the end of the day. A few weeks ago a student told me that just being in my class was the one thing that he was happiest about that day. Especially since that was coming from a teenager, it made my heart so full of joy that I almost cried. He had no idea that I absolutely live for things like that.
I love helping teachers to make their overwhelming tasks less overwhelming. I’ve been doing that with my Teachers Pay Teachers store, Creative Inclusion, by creating teaching materials that are based on sound educational research and teaching strategies but I didn’t feel like that was enough. In line with the normal teacher philosophy, there was more that I could do to be better and bring more value to my friends around me.
So, I have redesigned my blog and have added some new features. I am working on becoming a Google Certified Educator and I am so excited about all of the technology that is available for students today! However, I know that learning all this new technology at the rate at which it comes out and changes is unrealistic and one of the enormous burdens placed on teachers. As a solution to that problem, I am working on building up a library of tech tips for FREE.
Technology is such an incredible tool, as it can save us time in the long run. However, the learning curve for implementing it can be pretty darn steep. My philosophy on that is to just learn one thing, find out if you love it or not. If you don’t, move on to something else. If you do, add to it. What else can you do to make it better? But ONLY do that after you feel comfortable.
I’m a big Grey’s Anatomy fan and in last night’s episode, Dr. Torez said they needed to be like squirrels. Why? Squirrels have an overwhelming task of saving enough nuts for an entire winter, but they don’t do it all at once. They save nuts one nut at a time and before too long, they are set for the winter. (Also, if you take on too much technology at one time, before you are ready to digest it all, you could begin to feel like a bit of a nut. I know, because that’s exactly how I feel about coding.)
The Tech Tips tab will have videos with short tutorials explaining how to do a lot of the Google Tools with ideas of how to do them in your classroom. I will also include a checklist or cheat sheet with each video for you to print and use right away so you can remember how to use each feature. So, each little video there will be your “nut” to store away!
Another solution is to join the Inspired Teachers Support Network on Facebook. It’s a place where you can share helpful information and learn from your fellow teachers. We can fill each other’s cups so we can go back to our classrooms ready to persevere and make a difference in the lives of our students as well as our colleagues.
We ARE in this together and together we CAN make a difference.
Let’s use a growth mindset. I really think that is fabulous because there are so many areas that can improve, we will see growth more clearly and quickly.
Here is a free gift from me to you for signing up for my newsletter! It’s a little cheat sheet explaining how to use Google Forms to create SELF-GRADING assessments. Pretty cool, huh? That’s just the beginning of what Google has in store for us!
I encourage you to share this post with friends if you agree that together we can fill each other’s cups! Thank you!