When I looked up “resolution” in the synonym dictionary, I was quite surprised at what I found. There were words like “grit” and “fortitude”, “courage” and “persistance”. (Sounds a little like “rigor” doesn’t it?)
When we think of New Year’s Resolutions many of us think of outcomes like “be healthier” or “workout more” or “save more money”. Often there is no plan on how to attain these resolutions so they fail. (Don’t you just hate that word and how it feels?) Some of us have travelled a little farther down the road, changed Resolution into “goal” to make it sound a little more serious and make it a little more attainable. However, without a well laid out plan, often these goals go by the wayside too. As educators, we tend to (often subconsciously) prioritize our classroom and our students over other things in our life – am I right? By the time you get home, you are exhausted and/or you have more marking or planning to do. That goal or resolution to save more money? “Oh, but what about that cute little craft I want to make?” “Those bins would be perfect for organizing my task cards!” I think the average teacher’s balance scale looks a little like this:
Teachers are no different than anyone else when it comes to searching for balance. I just happen to think we need it more!
Balance, yes, that is the common word that I’ve used and hear many others use. I’m very focussed on #teacherwellness and try to live my life with balance. I know that if I’m not healthy and happy, I can’t be a good mom, a good teacher, a good wife, a good friend or anything else. As I pondered about New Year’s Resolutions this year, I wanted to come up with the core resolution that can serve as a basis for all other resolutions. I think I found it. Purpose. Being happy makes me feel like I have purpose. Teaching well gives me purpose for why I do it because I can see the results in happy children. I am a big supporter of mindfulness and when I teach students to be mindful also, they are happier learners, they learn how to self regulate, and their academic performance goes up.
When students are empowered to create their own learning experiences, they feel purpose in what they are doing (especially boys). So, you see, I think that if we have purpose to what we are doing, we will do it well. That includes teaching and your own personal life. We don’t need to get bigger and do more, we just need to be efficient in what we do. We need to provide experiences for our students so that they can feel a sense of purpose. We need to facilitate that learning and learn right along with them. It is then that us teachers can go home feeling accomplished and then put our hearts, and our time into the other things that make up our life and create happiness for us and for the others around us.
I created a visual of my “New Year’s Resolution”. It is what I always strive to do but sometimes, when my scale tips, it is hard to find what is tipping it or where I need to adjust things in my life. That is why I created this so that when I am feeling out of sorts, I can look at it and know where I need to adjust. Here is what my balance scale looks like:
Do you want to do your own balance scale? I have created a template for you to download and get started on your own. The categories that you see in yellow can be anything (especially if you are not a teacher) but the foundation can stay the same or you can add your own foundation that you feel is instrumental in helping you achieve your balance or goals. Whatever it is that gives you hope and is a pretty powerful thing. Get your own balance scale here. or by clicking on the picture below.
Happy New Year everyone and have a safe, happy and “balanced” 2014!
Thank you to Scrappin’ Doodles, Glitter Meets Glue and KG Fonts for their talent in helping me make the graphics for this post.