Self-Reflection, Weekly Musings

Weekly Musings: Hmmm…

OOOOKAAAAYY! If you are anything like me at the start of the year, it is utter chaos in literally EVERY WAY POSSIBLE. Sorry for my absence in the past week, but as you know, the beginning of the year is insane. But in the midst of all of the craziness, it is super important to take the time for yourself. Yeah, yeah, I know people say this all of the time.

My hooray for the week: committing to going to yoga regularly again. I am aware that yoga isn’t for everyone, but do something good for your body. Take a quick walk or recommit to going to that fitness class you love. Your body will thank you later.

I have also been enjoying listening to podcasts that I like. There is a short 10 minute drive from my son’s pre-school to my school. Podcasts are perfect for short trips like that one. I can squeeze it in that short time and feel like I am getting some personal time to myself with something that I enjoy.

Most importantly, however, is that you must self-reflect, something that I am finding is really important this week. The beginning of the year is tough, especially in getting to know your students and building relationships, routines, and procedures. Some days, you may just want to pull your hair out or cry in a heap on the floor. But each day, take a moment to ask yourself:

Commit to this everyday, and you will be able to get through a whole lot. Maybe your one good thing is that a colleague came to help you out or a student made you giggle. Whatever it is, use this to energize you, or at least try.

Take some time for yourself and self-reflect… in this Crazy Teacher Life!

Weekly Musings

Weekly Musings: Hmmm…

The. Jitters. Are. Real. Even after 10+ years, I still get the First Day Jitters. Not because “I can’t do it” or because “Things are new” since neither of those statements are true this year. When I was a newer, “greener” teacher, the jitters were FOR SURE anxiety and definitely fear! HA!

These days, the jitters more because excitement for what is to come and the undeniable unknowns of each year. I want to make a good impression and make strong connections with my students. I hope to inspire students and engage with families. I hope that I can make a positive impact in my school and help be a supportive teammate, colleague, and committee member to my school district.

I, like many of you, spend hours picking an outfit, prepping lunch, looking over plans, double checking my list of procedures to cover, and prepping my family that summer is over. That last one takes most of my energy, LOL!

Why do I do this? Personally, I have many goals and have some really cool opportunities coming up in the near future. I am excited for the year to come and I’m ready… I think?!

So, on this First-Day-of-School Eve, I say to you: Embrace those first day jitters, because this year will be whatever you make it to be. Get excited for this year and ride that wave of excitement, so when THOSE days (you know what I mean) come, you still have so much to look forward to!

Welcome back to school and enjoy those jitters… in this Crazy Teacher Life!

PD, Weekly Musings

Weekly Musings: Hmmm…

This year I have been involved in several district PD sessions as a teacher leader. I have never been more excited about the vision my district has regarding Professional Development. In many districts, PD is seen as an “Uggghhhh…” or “Not this again!”, yet I did not feel this way this year. Our district is working toward creating engaging Professional Development with a more differentiated approach. I had the pleasure of being a part of my district’s #knightshift teacher leadership Professional Development earlier this summer. It was the best two days of PD that I have ever experienced. This was one of the fun activities we did!

Teacher Super Powers!

We focused on new initiatives during PD this year, (yes, we have them pretty much every year, too) but also focused on partnerships and creating a welcoming environment for all. On the first opening day, a friend and colleague of mine (follow her @msthinkaloud on Twitter) lead a #StayingGolden activity about finding our “Why”, originally created by Meg Burke, (@megburkeNPSD on Twitter) who is a friend and colleague of mine as well. Finding your “Why” is so important. Why do you do what you do? What are your goals? When the days get tough and it is often hard to remember why you are here. It is then that you need a reminder of why you are here and doing what you do. We created fortune cookies to remind ourselves of our why.

I also co-lead PD about Pathways to Distinguished in Charlotte Danielson’s Framework. One of the activities was a Goose Chase, an interactive scavenger hunt for educators. I have never heard so much laughter and joy as I did helping to facilitate this activity. Creating an environment for learning starts with creating an environment where teachers are having fun and care about one another. That environment is easily facilitated by creating memorable moments.

Last, but not least, Convocation… I really did enjoy convocation this year! There was a LOT of dancing! We do not always have the opportunity to bring the entire school district together, but when we do, it is really amazing how many people work for our district. The bottom line, it was fun! (Do you hear that word?) Check out one of the videos my district produced for convocation below.

So, what’s my point? The reality is, teachers are learners, too. We enjoy having fun and learning should be fun. So why can’t PD be fun? I have enjoyed being a teacher leader and I will continue to do so because I love what I do. I enjoy sharing my passion for education with others.

Enjoy what you do, become professionally developed, and have fun… in this Crazy Teacher Life!

Weekly Musings

Weekly Musings: Hmmm…

Hello! I hope you have had a great week so far. Welcome to a segment called, “Weekly Musings: Hmm…” where I share some thoughts about something in education that has come up this week. So this week we are talking about being supportive.

While the idea of being supportive should not be something new, I had a revelation today as I was scrolling mindlessly through Twitter at 6:46 AM, avoiding the alarm clock for my last day teaching a summer reading program in my district. I was reading a tweet about an idea that a teacher had put out there for others to see, that a twitter user had retweeted. Great! Well… not quite. The tweet was asking for opinions “Yea or nay?” about this idea. At first I was thinking, “Cute idea, but nay!” and almost tweeted that out as my reply. However, something stopped me from doing so. Some little bird (see what I did there? Huh?) told me this was not a good idea. And then I realized why. Instead of asking “Yea or nay?” about their own idea, they were asking about someone else’s idea. Some of the comments were down right rude to the teacher who had the idea. While the retweeter, I am SURE, meant no harm by asking “Yea or nay?,” the retweeter inadvertently opened a door for people to be unkind and super judgmental. Can’t we just be supportive?

So, while I LOVE (and yes I really mean this) that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I ask myself, “How should we as educators be using social media as a forum for sharing and creating a PLN community?”

My answer is simply this: Before you post, retweet, or comment on someone else’s idea, ask yourself, “Am I supporting this teacher?” If the answer is no, I personally would reconsider even posting or tweeting. If the answer is yes, then go for it! Using social media to support one another in this teaching world is amazing. I have felt nothing but love so far from my PLN, but I am sure there will be a time when someone has choice words… and trust me, it will hurt.

So I leave you with this: Brag away on social media about your accomplishments and the accomplishments of others. Lift up your colleagues who are asking questions about teaching and acknowledge those teachers who are doing amazing things (even small things) for their students.

Can we agree to be supportive, in this Crazy Teacher Life?

Love, Ainsley