Part I: Looking at the Whole Child reflections

I expected to gain new insight on Literacy and Dyslexia.  I expected to tie this all to what I am most passionate about – The Whole Child!  I expected to learn new things, but I did not expect the information to be so closely tied to the other topics I am so passionate about: the brain, positive mindsets, ADHD, and Executive Functioning! Boy, was I in for a treat!
I know that when we learn things we need to “unpack them” and put them in their spots to be able to mentally hold on to the information. So, this post is just Part I of my reflecting about the Whole Child part.  Part II about specific reading skills is coming!! I am going to use the idea that was recently shared on Twitter by Jon Gordon.
L – What LEFT an impression on you?
E – What ENERGIZED you?
A – What do you want to ASK more about?
D – What will you do DIFFERENTLY as a result of what you heard?
L – I was surprised at how the keynote speakers shared how important having a positive, growth mindset is not only for the reluctant readers, but for the teachers who teach these readers.  Personally, I have been preaching this for years and understand the benefit, but I haven’t heard it much in the world of literacy and dyslexia instruction, so it was incredibly refreshing and exciting to know that we are all getting there. 
E – Anytime you go to a learning conference or event in the summer where it is the choice of the educator to be there, you will find educators who are passionate about what they do.  Passionate People – that is what energizes me!  
Learning about how ADHD and Executive Function Deficits link with Dyslexia is incredibly insightful!  I could sit for two days and listen to people speak about these topics and the Whole Child and be completely inspired!  Oh wait…that is what I did!  🙂 
It ENERGIZED me to learn new insight about how these connect and what we can do as educators to help our students.  ALL STUDENTS…whether they are students with dyslexia, reluctant readers, strong readers, or students with active bodies and minds that need a little more guidance. 
A – You know, I am always asking questions.  About everything.  Let me share a quick story of Serendipity from yesterday.  I like to hand write my notes on paper because I believe in the connection between memory and writing by hand.   As I write notes, I star questions I have to come back to later or ask. Then, I go back and reread my notes between sessions to make connections and reflect.  
As I reflecting during a break I saw a question I wrote during the ADHD and Executive Function Deficit session: “HOW? Where do we find ideas of how to directly teach these things?”  This had been sitting on my mind for awhile at that point. 

Humor me for a minute, I promise you will learn something: Here is an example of a minute in my ADHD brain. I decided to google some info on this, but as I went to open a tab to search I clicked on the Tweetdeck that I had open from the day and started reading my feed.  I saw a post from someone I follow responding to someone else. 
Her response made me curious (about what, I don’t know!) and I clicked to see what she was responding to (because that was so on task), which led me to a tweet of a lady talking about a blog. Maybe it was the phrase she tweeted that drew me in? Do you see why I end up learning about the most amazing things, yet I cannot explain how I got there?!  
I ended up clicking on the blog by @StuartShanker and reading this incredible post! Here is the crazy thing…..WAIT FOR IT.…… It was about Self -Regulation!  He gave a few resources to read, which sent me to Amazon, which offered other books that are helpful! The crazy thing is that I already owned 3 of these at home!  
I would just like to document that for once, my internet searching/ open tab ADHD came in quite handy!  The exact question I was searching for fell into my lap because I was led astray!  LOL!
This was MY QUESTION! Where to get info on HOW to directly teach these executive functioning skills that our children need in order to get to the point of Self-Regulation and do this themselves. 
The BEST resource on this is this book!  I LOVE it and refer back to it often!
Here are a few more I have that they suggested that are great reads as well!
                  
D – What will I do Differently? As a Literacy Specialist who serves children with Dyslexia and children who require a little more direct instruction in reading skills, I do not have as much freedom in my time spent with students to focus as much as I would like on teaching these skills.  I will do what I do best, and share all of the information I learn with my friends and do what I can.  Little by little.
However, as I reflect I also know that I will be even more mindful of my actions on how I respond when a child comes to me already shut down or with a negative mindset.   Learning how this originates, why it happens, where in the brain it starts, and how even when we think the child “knows” and “should be able to control this”….there is so much research that shows they truly don’t.   EVERY little interaction we have with a child can be the ONE thing that outlines their path of success.  
If you have never considered the role Executive Function Deficits plays in a child’s learning, I strongly urge –  no, I BEG you to research this a little more! 🙂


 

Give Yourself Grace and the “Okay” To Play

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!

Balance: The Struggle is Real Y’all


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. 

Funny story, I went to coffee with my dear teacher friend after yoga the other day and I said, “Here are my steps I am taking in July to take a step back and you know, spend some days where I am not doing something all the time. I am constantly going.  I want to really try to not constantly do stuff.”  She looked at me and said, “Do you mean relax?”  We couldn’t stop laughing!  So sad, but it’s the truth.  


Here is the problem with passionate educators: We find JOY in reading and learning about education. It just runs together.  It IS RELAXING for me to learn, create things, and read things on Twitter and blogs. 

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.

At first I thought, I AM doing what makes my soul happy.  I really love learning and using my creativity.  I love reading about how to do more exciting things to empower kids.

Then, I began thinking about this more.  I need to be really honest with myself and have no fear of being judged.  I asked myself, “What things do I do outside of education that make my soul really happy?”  Here is what came to mind.
I realized that music is a huge part of my life in so many ways.  I know a good beat starts my morning off right! The perfect song can take a bad mood and shake it off! I knew this, but wasn’t aware that it is so influential in calming my soul.  I need to make more time for this than I do already.  I know when I consistently read God’s word and do not let anything get in the way of my devotional time, I am truly fulfilled. I know that I love hugs and time with the ones I love the most.  All of these things are what makes my life pretty amazing!

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.  

I know the first step is admitting it, right?  Likewise, making changes will require small steps. I am taking baby steps.  The first step is a BIG one for me.  I am headed to the beach soon.  Every summer we go with our same group of super fun friends and seriously have the MOST AMAZING time goofing around and doing nothing! While on the beach that week, I normally catch up reading my professional books.  This year I am taking a fiction novel!  (I’ll let you know how that goes!)

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…..

Learning To Love Podcasts

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!

Elementary & Secondary Teachers Sharing Best Practices….(gasp!)

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!  

Let me tell you the best thing about this week.  Elementary and Secondary teachers shared best practices in the same room!  (gasp!)  That’s right, we all shared and learned together! It was professional learning, discussing, connecting, reflecting, and sharing across district from Pre-K to our Collegiate Academy! 
I want to publicly thank our fierce leader, Dr. Suzanne Newell, for taking this approach this week.  I am not sure if she realizes just how powerful this one little thing was.  As I listened to others and talked with people, the most amazing thing happened….we connected the dots between elementary and secondary.  This still is my most favorite quote because of how true it is!
  • 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!  
We have heard of these Common Instructional Expectations many times, but SEEING exactly how they begin in kinder and extend all the way through was incredibly powerful!  Having time to discuss with others and time to reflect made all the difference in securing this learning.  
I know this might seem obvious, simple, and you might already do this….but if you think about it, there are not many opportunities that place Pre-K through HS in one room to learn together and share vertically how things apply.  Powerful!  So incredibly happy I was able to be part of this and learn so much!  I walked away from this week with many new connections, more secondary knowledge than I came in with and how to start connecting elementary and secondary goals so that we can transition our students effortlessly.
One of the most amazing educators I have the privilege of learning from in my tribe is Bethany Hill.  You can find her on Twitter  @bethhill2829  This quote came from her and how true it is.  
I just posted an article by @SaneeBell about leadership at all levels and how much she learned from being given the opportunity to be an elementary principal when she had only known secondary.  As she exits she feels she is a better educator having spent her last few years in elementary learning so much!  It was a great connecting thought for me as I thought about how much elementary and secondary already do that is similar and could really help one another if we verbalized these connections with our students.  It also made clear how we could tweak a few little things to help our students even more.  All it took was communicating in the same room with others and developing a strong personal learning network right here within our amazing district! 
I look forward, even more now than ever, to the awesome things to come in GCISD.  Thank you Dr. Newell!  🙂

My Heart Can Hold Them ALL!

April came and went…no blog.  May is almost over….what have I been doing for the past few months!?  Let me tell you.

It is no secret that the end of the school year is full of responsibilities, meetings, events, awards, planning, and everything else.  So, here I am tonight writing about something heavy on my heart because writing helps me work through things.   I have been struggling through something that I know many teachers who have left the classroom feel constantly.  It is a normal thing when you start having students and parents express their gratitude at the end of the year.  Every year I cry like a baby at the end of the year because I can’t imagine my kids leaving me.  They are MY kids.  Always.  
This past month has been an emotional one, but especially the past few weeks because of the different situations in my life.
The first one: I attended the high school graduation of a student I had in first grade and then looped up to second grade with.  Spending two years with your students makes for a tough release. 🙂  I was thrilled when I was invited to drive to Oklahoma for this graduation and see him graduate Valedictorian and all the honors he received.  We were able to talk about fun times in my class and he told me things he remembered about me and my class.
The second one: I switched schools this year and so all of my babies are not here at this school. However, just the other day the Dove Dynamic Drummers came to my new school to perform.  It was a reunion of kids and families I had!  When I saw my kids and parents with tears in their eyes, I knew it was going to kill me…but I kept it together.  I hugged them so tightly and we caught up on things going on.  I held it together pretty well, until they walked out the door. I walked back to my room and broke down.

The third one: I drove back up to Oklahoma to attend two more graduations of students of honors and Valedictorians from that same 1st/2nd grade loop class. (You know, it would be too easy to have them all graduate from the same HS!)  Not only did I attend the graduations, but I was able to attend their family functions and parties to be able to have face time catching up.  Like the first trip, we all laughed about things and they retold stories about what they remembered about my class and how much I meant to them.  I felt incredibly old sitting there with these little adults now!  These kiddos are my babies (still) and their families are family to me.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

All of that makes this an extremely emotional end of year!!  I don’t even want to go into the fact MY own child is completing another school year, making her grow up even faster.  She’s my baby.  The only one.

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.

Building RELATIONSHIPS.
Nurturing RELATIONSHIPS.
Growing RELATIONSHIPS.
Keeping RELATIONSHIPS.
This is my number one focus.  When all of my students tell me what they remember are things like: how I loved them, how I told them everyday I loved them and we are family, how we hugged every morning when they came in and afternoon before leaving, how we cried when I told them I was not teaching them in 3rd, how they had fun in my class, how it was always fair in my class (funny, given we know life isn’t always fair!), how we danced and sang and it made them feel better…..I know I am focusing on the right things and glad I have made that impact!  I know they learned and it was BECAUSE we had that relationship first.  
I am so proud of all of my babies….past, present, and future!  I hope they know they will always hold a special place in my heart.  There truly is room for them all!! 🙂
Cherish these last days with your babies!

Developing Leaders

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?

Who Will You Empower Today?

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!

EMPOWER:
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! 🙂

George Couros

David Kinney

Matt Arend

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!

Who will you empower today?

I Won’t Give Up

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:

What are WE doing to help them?

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 article from the Integrated Learning Strategies website on Brain-Based Learning Crossing Midline activities that help all children.  It puts the brain research into action!

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.

Follow Bridget’s board ADD/ADHD on Pinterest.

Follow Bridget’s board Brain Research on Pinterest.

Follow Bridget’s board Dyslexia on Pinterest.

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!!!!

Things That Are Worth It Are Not Always Easy

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.)
Snowboarding really is an all around different mindset than skiing. With skiing you can cruise off the lift and take off.  When snowboarding, you ride the lift with one foot strapped in and one out. So when you get up to the top, you have to sit and strap the other foot in before you go.  THIS was the part that got me. Every time.  
My frustration grew every time I went to pull myself up and I would get so close and fall right back on my bottom. Hard. ***Cue the embarrassing moment music……
I actually sat in the middle of the slope (where everyone on the lift and skiing could see me very clearly) and dropped my head between my knees and began to cry in frustration.  It was pitiful.  I didn’t think I would ever get up.  BUT, it didn’t last long because I caught myself in this thinking and had a little conversation with myself, “What are you doing?  Stop crying. This is ridiculous! This isn’t going to change anything. I can do this. Breathe. I just have to keep at it.”   I am sure I looked like a fool as I talked to myself as I got up and kept going.  I was going to do this.  I was going to succeed.  I would push on until I did because that is what I do.  I kept thinking…

Why share that embarrassing moment?  The reason: It really taught me a lesson in positive thinking.
So often, as teachers, we want to try something new, but we never do.  We always go back to what is comfortable and easy, either because we know it 100% works or in fear of the unknown.  When we finally do try something new, we sometimes realize it might not be as “easy” as we thought and become frustrated.  Our old thinking and old mindsets quickly become what we turn to and how we react. However, my experience shows that even if our old mindset and way of reacting kicks in, we CAN change it.  We can use positive talk and talk ourselves out of this.  We can talk ourselves into remembering we can do whatever we put our minds to. 
Maybe you are already a positive self-talker in many situations.  Maybe you need to surround yourself with other people who are great at talking you through something difficult. Either way, I just want to express the importance of having positive thinking to help you work through difficult times in the classroom.  Think: Will it be easy?  Nope.  Worth it?  Absolutely!
There is no better time than now to have your cheerleaders around ready to nudge you as you make a difference in the lives of our children! Just think of JT when you wonder what you are meant to do. 🙂
Take the Challenge! It is worth it every time. I am so glad I did.