Fighting for Grace – As a Child of God, As a Daughter, As a Wife, As a Parent, As an Educator….you name it.
I seriously have fears that my daughter is growing up missing out on something (not really sure what, but something) because I am an educator/parent-AKA “teacher mom” and she a “teacher’s kid.”
I felt so relieved when I read this great article, 7 Ways to Survive the Teacher Mom Guilt because it hit me that there are others that feel this way too! I am not alone. Recently I started reading For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. She uses humor and just plain realness to urge us to give ourselves grace in this unattainable Pinterest life world of impossible standards. It’s like she is encouraging us Teacher Moms to UNITE and stop this ridiculous guilt we place on ourselves. 🙂
It’s not only just the Teacher Mom Guilt. There is the dreaded technology time battle. I’m just going to be real y’all. Sometimes she wants to do something on it and I instantly answer, “You need to do something else.” It doesn’t matter if she hasn’t even been on it that day! #truth I have no reason other than my fictitious belief that a “good mom” is supposed to tell her child not to get on her device and do something outside. Right? Isn’t that how we grew up? 😉 You hear that voice in your head too.
- It takes away family time.
- We played games outside growing up.
- Too much screen time these days.
- It isolates them.
- They aren’t using their brain.
Then the other day something happened. I decided to say you know what, I can fluff the laundry one more time and just “play” with her what she was playing on her device.
Two things happened:
1.) What I judged as a mindless activity, was actually igniting her creativity. She was using her creativity in ways I am not sure I could have done, and quite honestly barely understood! This also led to me see a passion she had for something I didn’t know about. 🙂
2.) I got to see this when I stopped and gave myself grace to just “play” with her, like Jen talks about in her book.
Which leads me to the biggest realization that day, and that is that I realized our children are living in a different time. A different world. That is just the truth. Accept it or not, but it is not necessarily always a bad, evil thing.
Before you mumble under your breath, this lady is crazy suggesting technology time whenever…..please know that I am not advocating for kids to be on their devices all the time.
I am a big believer of everything in moderation, but this was the “quality time” that my child was wanting from me. That was it. Times have changed where quality time CAN happen using devices, and it does way more often than we imagine if we open our minds to it. Think of all the amazing things that come from YouTube creations, and lately the musical.ly videos that all kids are completely loving!
Here is the beauty of the lesson I learned. We were doing something she loved and saw as quality time instead of spending quality time only doing things that I felt met the “criteria.” What criteria, you ask? Oh, just the expectations I felt I had to meet that were not mine! Thanks Jen for giving me that okay to give myself grace to do it our way without feeling like a bad mom!
We had more fun in those moments together than any of the ones I had created this summer on our list! She made the comment about how much she has wanted me to play that with her. That hit me pretty hard. I “play” things with her, but I never realized how many of them are things I encourage because of my own agenda. (Have to multi-task while I play, want her to learn things and create, use critical thinking, practice her talents, want her to read or write, math, etc….teacher mom problems). There go those impossible standards again.
Quality time is not seen as quality time to our children if they do not connect with it, and if they do not view this time together as happy and fun does it really become a precious memory? Maybe. Maybe not.
Times have changed. What some children enjoy and can do for hours is like nothing we could have possibly imagined. Yet, if we open our minds to stop and “play” we might discover just how passionate and creative they are being.
All they want is TIME doing the things THEY love WITH us. Making moments. The moments that will carry us on and become precious memories. These moments might look different than we know from our childhood, but different is good. I know my goal is to embrace it and give myself grace!
Maybe it is just me, but I seem to be constantly working on balance in my life. If you know me, you might have just laughed out loud. Really though, the struggle is real y’all. I feel constantly torn between loving what I am doing and stressing because I know I need to not be doing it.
So, in my attempt to be intentional about getting better I decided to sit down and read more about how people do this. I was headed to the internet app when my ADD finger hit the Twitter icon and no kidding the first tweet that pops up is from someone in my PLN discussing how they need to balance their life better. (I mean, maybe that was meant to be!) I click the comments and it is a strand of 7 people, all people I think highly of and are incredible educators that I feel have it all balanced, talking about how hard this is for them and how they are constantly working on it. I hate to admit it, but I felt relief. I am not the only one who struggles with this!!
Guilty pleasure alert: Aside from turning to my faith, I like to read quotes on Pinterest to calm my mind. 🙂 I ran across this one and it stuck with me as I was thinking about this situation.
It is a little scary, but I chose to be very open about this so that I am held accountable for making time to do more of the things I love with my family and things that make my soul happy. Number one being sitting down! Even if it is just to watch t.v. without multitasking. Reading more fiction novels instead of only professional reading. Not thinking about the list of things that need to get done. As a person who is an “active person” and cannot stop moving, just sitting is a HUGE thing for me. If I am not moving, my mind is going nonstop.
There ya have it. My new word for the next 6 months is BALANCE. I will be very intentional to make more time to do things that make my soul happy. I would love to hear from anyone who struggles with balance as well. We are better together, so all ideas are welcomed! 🙂
As always, my motto is…..
I had to share my newly acquired interest and love for Podcasts! I will admit, I had tried to delete the purple Podcast app from my phone many times, but it just doesn’t go away. I never used it, wanted to use it, or thought I could ever listen to something without seeing it at the same time. I am clearly not a big audiobook listener. THEN….I attended Kerissa Bearce’s Humanities Institute session on podcasts, and my interest changed.
I thought, hmm…this seems fun. I loved the one that my daughter took part of for Student Led Conferences. I will check this out. What I didn’t expect was to walk away with TONS of resources for myself as a teacher to use in the classroom that ties to the curriculum and a list of so many podcasts!
Since this was right before George Couros was coming to our district I decided to listen to one that he was on called Educators Lead, and have my daughter listen as well. We pulled up to gymnastics class and I turned it off. Sofie reached over to my phone to start it back up because she wanted to listen some more! It really surprised me that she would be so into a podcast. Kerissa shared in her class how there are podcasts for children and I cannot wait to sit down and start finding cool things we both can listen to and learn together! I will have to write a follow up as to how this goes. 🙂
I can see how using this with your students can give them a huge sense of ownership in their learning and connectedness by sharing their learning globally. It hits so many components of our Portrait of a Graduate.
If you are considering ways to use podcasts, I highly recommend reaching out to @msbearce (Kerissa Bearce)! She does amazing things with our district to showcase awesome students!
This past week was our district Humanities Institute that ran 4 days! You are probably thinking – What?! Are you crazy? It’s the first week of summer break. Apparently, I am not the only crazy one because there were over 170 educators there to learn and teach incredible sessions!
- Teachers in first, fourth, seventh and high school were sharing best practices they used that could help each other.
- Teachers were meeting new teachers and putting a face to the name.
- Teachers were exchanging emails and ways to communicate and connect their classes.
- Teachers were developing empathy for other teachers…discovering that when we communicate we realize little things we may never have known before.
- (The biggest, in my opinion) Teachers began to understand the links from elementary to secondary and the importance of common language and Common Instructional Expectations!
April came and went…no blog. May is almost over….what have I been doing for the past few months!? Let me tell you.
So with all that being said, I try to think about the blessings through all these tears – tears of happiness, tears of sadness, and tears of pride and joy! I remind myself that THIS is why my heart and decisions are always centered around relationships.
As I watched my daughter’s last soccer games, here is what was running through my head:
“It will never be this like this again. We will never be with such an amazing team like this again.”
You see, this team of girls has been together for years and next season Age Pure goes into place and will split them up. My daughter is 1-2 years younger than the majority of them, so she knows what this means. This puts her in an odd position, and given different scenarios she could remain on the team, but at the cost of being the super smallest, youngest, and not much playing time.
|The bottom picture shows the love and respect they have as a team. Love this!|
After having this realization and pity party because I am heartbroken at the thought of leaving this group of kids and parents who have become like family, my growth minded side steps in and says, “You are right. It will not be the same with any other team. It wasn’t meant to be the same as this team. This is an opportunity for her to be the leader and develop others like she has received with this team.”
Now the hard part comes – convincing our nine-year-old that if she takes a risk and stays down when everyone moves up, she can be the leader and lead others. Believe me, if there is anyone who has “leadership skills” it is this girl!!
It’s scary, though. It’s scary not being with people who you are comfortable with. It’s scary not doing the thing you have done and filling the role you have filled, the one you fit so perfectly into. It’s like having your soothing mechanism taken away. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there, but if we can see the value in developing others and being willing to be developed, we will all learn and grow so much. Easier said than done, right?
I have written about Coach Doug many times and how much we adore him and all he has done to teach these children life lessons. He has a gift of coaching and teaching. He has instilled in these girls the LOVE of the game in a world where competitive at a young age is the way people are pushed. I have never seen a team play as one, truly and utterly sacrificing goals themselves so that they can see every person on the team make one. That is this team, and you know it is because of how they were taught. There is a special place for Coach Doug in our hearts forever.
Just like Coach Doug did for his team, we as educators need to do the same for our teams. We need to seek out those students with leadership skills. Show them how to use these to do amazing things. We need to seek out those teachers with leadership skills and build this capacity in our schools.
I will leave you with this final thought. What are we waiting for?
I was discussing “education things” today with someone and found myself telling the WHY behind what fuels the passion behind my mission. The WHY behind WHAT drives me. You can’t tell that I just finished reading Start With Why by Simon Sinek, can you!? 🙂
Before the word empower even left my mouth, I felt the need to explain what I meant. I felt like it was so cliche. I felt like it is a word that is being thrown around so much lately, and with that people can take it many different ways to mean different things. Yet, this is genuinely how I feel so I wanted to be really clear. I want to empower others – at all levels.
So I began thinking what does the word empower really mean and did what anyone else would do. I Googled it!
1. to give power or authority to; authorize, especially by legal or official means
2. to enable or permit
I look at this and think it sounds more like a “boss” giving someone permission. This is not how I view empowering others. My thoughts align with George Couros’s thoughts in Chapter 6 of The Innovator’s Mindset. I created an acrostic, using the fabulous resource Buncee, to show what empower means to me.
There are so many empowering leaders out there! Teachers empowering students, students empowering other students, and teachers empowering other teachers! When we do this, amazing things happen in education.
I want to give a big shout out to 3 people who have empowered me educationally in some way this year. If you don’t already follow them and learn from them on Twitter, you need to now! 🙂
Whether they see potential in me and give me confidence to see it in myself, give encouragement and inspire me, challenge me to continue learning and growing, or ask me the hard questions to keep the why in focus – I THANK THEM for making me better. I thank them for pushing me to the edge of my comfort zone so that I can be a better educator.
Everyone needs someone to empower them to be better!
It is no secret that I am a HUGE advocate for children who need more than the traditional teaching. In the past 5 years, my passion has grown bigger for advocating for the Whole Child, children with ADD/ADHD, children with characteristics of Dyslexia, Whole Brain Teaching, integrating curriculum and teaching those important soft skills for life. This quote most definitely sums up my mission!
As each year goes by I see more and more need for the Whole Child, Brain-Based background in teaching. When we stop and think, it really is just great teaching. Knowing your students. Knowing their needs. Knowing how to meet each one where they are and help them be successful by using strategies that work for them. Knowing that every child learns differently and taking action to differentiate for their needs. Seems simple, right?
We just cannot forget that these needs include MOVEMENT. (I wrote all about this in another post here.) I am not just talking about brain break movement, but movement with learning concepts.
Here is something I often see: Children who have struggled for years to learn how to read or write. Their self esteem is low. They do not speak up on how they learn best. Is it because they are afraid? Maybe they have never been shown how to do this appropriately? Is it because they have never been given the opportunity? I don’t know.
Here is what I do know. THESE are the children who cannot learn to the best of their ability when forced to sit all day without moving, discussing, singing, making those important connections. Yet sadly, there are still classrooms where this is happening. It crushes my heart and has me upset as to why it still goes on.
Why, when we know what the research says about this? Why do we continue putting our children through this? Little AND big children!
I write this not to criticize anyone, but because I want SHARE some really great research and resources on these topics. My hope is that this reaches one person that may have never considered how this all plays into learning and they try one of these strategies! Our children deserve it!
Have we ever considered that our students are not intentionally tuning us out? They are not intentionally losing focus. They want to remember what we are teaching them. They want to do well. There are just so many other factors that play a part in this Whole Child’s learning experience. What we need to ask ourselves is this:
Here is a fantastic Edutopia article on brain research written by a neurologist suggesting educators have a neuroscience class that updates them on current educational research on the brain. That would be amazing! (In my opinion!)
Here is a great Whole Brain Teaching article on how it is used from Kinder-College with great results.
Here are some of my Pinterest Boards where I house information I find.
I am teaching Summer Enrichment classes that revolve around brain-based learning and movement, wellness and stress management for kids (think yoga) and dancing! I will be posting resources I am using when the time is closer.
Advocating for the WHOLE CHILD is my passion! Like the quote above says, there was that moment I realized, I won’t give up! Our Kids Deserve It!!!!
Spring Break – a time to relax on the beach, clean out closets, and do nothing school related, right? Most people would say absolutely, YES!
This year I decided to visit the freezing, nonstop snowing state of Utah and learn something new! I love to ski and have for years. Each and every year I say, I really want to try to snowboard. However, every year passes and I resort back to what is comfortable and easy for me. Is it because I don’t want to “waste” the little time I have on learning something new and fearing the unknown results? Quite possibly.
So this year when my husband said he was going to board, I said, “Wait a second, I have always wanted to do that. I am too!” This was our daughter’s first time to ski and I wasn’t quite sure how we would all be beginners at the same time, but it worked!
|I’m not sure if you can see the gigantic smile on my daughter’s face, but she LOVED flying past us!|
The pictures reveal smiles and successes. What you do not see here are the moments of frustration. I am embarrassed to admit that I was not the most positive learner in these moments. Hey, first step is admitting it right?!
- My daughter only became upset when her hands were frozen because her gloves did not seem to be working well, so we bought new ones and she was set!
- My husband only slightly showed his frustration with learning something new, or so he says. I didn’t even see him frustrated. 🙂
- I became frustrated at the most unthinkable part of snowboarding, getting myself up to get started! I picked up the form, the turns, the importance of balance and positioning toes, feet, and everything quite easily. (I think being a yoga person really helped make this easy for me.)