Celebrating a birthday is a great time to reflect upon your life, and ask yourself some questions. Am I living as the person I desire to be? What is my ideal self? How do I want to live my life?
Sometimes with so much coming at me it can be hard to reflect, especially as I approach mid-life. However, getting older also brings new insights which I am thankful for, especially with my career as an educator.
First, I've realized that I want to be a cheerleader. After working in ministry, I told myself I would never again get into toxic situations. Meaning that many times, I felt that I played the middle man way too much--a phone call from one volunteer and then a phone call from another--all looking to me for the answers to their conflicts with each other. I did not enjoy that, and I felt that it made me turn a bit cynical, which I didn't like. So, I made the decision not to bring that attitude into my new career as a teacher.
It can be difficult though, sometimes you don't even ask or talk to anyone, but people just come with the negativity, the problems straight at you, because they know you will listen. It is good I think to be a good listener, but this sort of talk can be difficult on the listener, too. Sometimes, if I start thinking a certain way, I have to remind myself-- is this me--or someone else's influence on me? I think this is a good question to ask when I get discouraged.
As a cheerleader, I want to be one of those people that supports others and their ideas. Find out how I can help to support them, not sit complain, and not take action like a lump. I don't want to be a grumpy old lady.
So, what can I do?
1. Do It Anyway- I love the poem by Mother Teresa, "Anyway". I believe that the point of the poem is to remember that everything I do is to honor God. Being a strong person, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher is between me and God, first and foremost. Everything I do is to honor Him in all ways. Prayer is so important for me in achieving this.
2. Be Proactive: I hear people get upset about choices leaders or other teachers make all the time. I think there are a lot of misconceptions and people are quick to judge without knowing the whole picture. The Bible states that if we have a conflict with someone we should go to that person first, and not go down the gossip and negativity train. I want to be the person who goes to find the answers and create solutions. I want to be proactive--no blaming.
3. Stay Positive: Life is hard. My mom told me recently that I'm in one of the toughest times in life--marriage, young children, career, bills--house payments, car payments, school loan payments....Sometimes, it can all hit so hard. However, that is when I must think of all the blessings, and do my best to enjoy the little moments and joys within the chaos.
4. Keep First Things First: If I find that I'm working so hard that I'm not spending time reading the Bible, in prayer, not exercising, or eating right I've got a problem. I won't be positive for my family or my students if I'm worn down. I must keep my family and myself healthy and happy first.
5. Just Relax and have fun: Teachers get so stressed about the CRCT!! I cannot say how many times I've heard this year about the students and how they probably won't score highly this year on the CRCT-- I know that it is a different bunch of kids, but let's stay positive! My motivation is not the CRCT-- if it was I would probably just drill and kill everyday. Kids hate that style of teaching. I hated it too as a student. My main goal is to teach the standards in an enriching rigorous way so that my students will succeed in life. Success on a single test is a byproduct.
So, in the year ahead, I will be the cheerleader, the positive person. I will not be a naysayer. I will be proactive-- everyday and in every way!