Sunday, November 23, 2014

How to Beat the "I'm a Failure" Blues

Let's face it friends, teaching can sometimes be the most frustrating profession, not because we don't love what we do, but sometimes because we feel ineffective.  Maybe it is administration that causes us to feel this way, or the particular combination of children that are in our classes, or the crazy amount of work that has no bearing on our effectiveness in the classroom, but takes almost all of our time leaving us with little energy to plan those highly engaging, memorable lessons. (English teachers please look away from that sentence).  Sometimes, it's difficult to put one foot in front of the other because you just don't feel like you are making a difference.

You've been there, I've been there, we've ALL been there and will be there time and time again.

So, I've thought of ways that I brush the funk off of myself and remember that I really am good at what I do and my students really do love me.

1.  Find your focus - There are days where all you can do is focus on the behavior problems or the lesson that didn't go the way you hoped it would, or the math concept that fell on deaf ears when you were being observed.  That may have all happened in one day, BUT there was something good that happened that day.  Find the positive and focus on it.  It may be the one liner that one of your students mumbled when you passed by.  It could be the child who walks up to you at the beginning of a Monday morning and says, "Mrs. Looper, I just wanted you to know that I pray for you every day because I know that teaching is the hardest job on the planet and you are really good.  I love being in your class."  Use that focal point as your center.  If it is one student in your room - begin to look at them periodically in the day and make eye contact.  I promise, that one glance will make the funk fade quickly.

2.  Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, but that you can also make feel good about themselves.  It may be a group of teachers in your building, but it may be your family.  The days where I just want to pull the covers over my head find me driving home just to sit with my husband and my little pup.  They make all things better.

3. Put school away for a day, or even - GASP - the entire weekend.  I know, I know, it is almost impossible.  I mean, I just spent 6 hours on a Sunday morning grading a pile of work that I put off because I set a boundary last week.  But, that break is needed, even if you aren't aware of it.  Remind yourself that you are human, not Wonder Woman or Superman.  Teachers need to take care of themselves too.

4.  Rejoin the world.  It kind of goes along with #3, but sometimes we need to step away, get out of the house and do something that is not remotely related to our profession.

5.  Take a walk down memory lane!  Remember the faces and the hugs of those students you've taught in the past.  Pull out the letters, the emails, the cards that you've tucked away and reread them.  They will immediately remind you of why you do what you do.  Mine are taped to the inside of my back cabinet in my classroom.

So, if you are in a funk, know that this too shall pass.  You are good at what you do and your students love you for it!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Sunday Scoop

I stumbled upon a new linky that may be just the kick in the pants I need to keep me active in the blogging world.  My class is taking a lot of time outside of the school building this year, so there has been very little left for me.  That's all changed this week though.  I have committed to turning email off at 6:00 pm and to try to leave work during the daylight.  In addition, I've let myself accept the fact that not every single paper has to be graded and returned on Monday.  Some can wait a week.  So instead of working ALL day on Sunday to get them graded, I have a cut off now.

Anyway, I visited with Teaching Trio this morning and discovered "The Sunday Scoop."  I decided to jump on board and test this one out for awhile.

Head over to Teaching Trio to see what the scoop is with everyone else!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Currently

My favorite blog post all month long is Farley's Currently series.  It's the one post I know that I can tackle with consistency and I like the quick reflection format.

Listening It's my Sunday morning tradition so to speak, it was born out of necessity of time to grade the mounds of paper that I'm unable to get through during the week.  This week, the movie is Sixteen Candles.  Most mornings on the weekend it is my tv from the previous week or another 80s movie.  But, don't you just love you some Jake?   

Loving Fall is here friends!  I'm crossing my fingers that we don't see temps in the 90s anymore.  We had snow this week!  What?!!! I love the fall - cool evenings, jeans, warm socks, and flannel shirts.

Thinking I was out 3 days this past week and now I have a bag full of work to complete.  It's terrible to procrastinate, but I find myself wanting to do so.  If I could teach without grading, I'd really be a happy girl.  

Wanting Sweaters and boots are my favorite.  I love that I live in a state that actually has cooler temps so I can wear them.  My outfit of choice is a pair of great jeans, a flannel shirt, and a good pair of boots.  I have "athletic" calves, so my boots are usually short.  Wish I could find some tall ones that fit. 

Needing A magic trick to curb the talking in my classroom.  I feel like I'm on my children all the time for talking and I don't like the way that makes me feel.  But, I need a trick that will help it stop.  So, if you have one, let me know!

Reading Unbroken by Laura Hildebrand.  One of my favorite authors and one of my favorite subjects.  I love WWII era history, fashion, television, etc.  So, this book is right up my alley.  I started reading it last year and never finished it for some reason, but I bought it this week and I'm enjoying it immensely.  Add in the trailer of the movie that is due out soon and it's the perfect combination.  

Head over to Farley's to see what everyone else is currently up to this month!

Five for Friday/Sunday...

And here we are on the 2nd day of November!  Hard to believe that November is here and Christmas is almost here.  The month of October FLEW by and I honestly have very little memory of all of the events and experiences that happened.

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs for Teaching again this week to reflect on the craziness that was Halloween week!

I teach at a STEM school so we try to implement STEM into everything that we do.  We have specific engineering units that we use, but this week I wanted something quick and holiday appropriate.  A friend of mine, Beth Turner, from Oklahoma sent me an activity that required students to create a free-standing mummy using newspaper, toilet paper, and masking tape.  We upped the ante and limited the time to 30 minutes.  I may have shot myself in the foot with that constraint because only 2 groups were successful.  Wouldn't you know that my camera battery died before I was able to take pics of the finished projects.  Here is the only pic of one that made it to the standing position.

I rolled out Google Classroom with my 5th graders a couple of weeks ago.  It has been an amazing experience.  Students are not required to complete assignments using Classroom, they may use the traditional paper pencil approach if they cannot access wireless anywhere, but it is an option.  As I was sitting on my couch one evening monitoring Classroom, I ran across this comment:

Later in the week, students were discussing the use of dependent clauses in their own writing and asking for feedback from each other.  Definitely made me smile!

I spent Wednesday-Friday at SC Ed-Tech in Greenville this week.  It was exciting to see new technologies and network with other teachers who are passionate about technology.  I was able to sit in on sessions by my PLC friends on Twitter and meet them face to face.

Friday night was Halloween and for the first time in 15 years, my husband and I lived in a neighborhood that had trick-or-treaters.  We sat out on the front porch and watched some adorable little people come up and ask in precious little voices for candy.  My favorite was the little dragon.  I dressed up too. I love me a little Rosie!

That night, we went to bed to mild weather, but could tell it was getting cooler.  When I woke up at 6:00 AM, this is what I found!

It went on to snow for several more hours and we ended up with a few inches on the ground.  By lunch time it was raining and the snow was gone.  But, really?!  I live in South Carolina and we had snow before Alaska!

It was a great week here and I can't wait to get back to it with my kiddos.  I missed their smiling faces while I was gone.  I dread the pile of work that was accumulated while I was out, though.  Looks like those Monday folders won't have as much in them because I didn't go back to the building on Friday.

Head over to Doodlebugs and check out the rest of the great reflections!

Have a great week, friends!