I hit a bit of a rough patch this week. I felt rushed and a bit anxious. I could feel my blood pressure rise when I had numerous interruptions to my mathematics lesson and then my interactive whiteboard stopped working. I heard myself say “I shouldn’t have even got out of bed this morning”. On the same day a good friend posted on The Centred Teacher Facebook page about the struggles she was facing, juggling the demands of the classroom (and the 25 or so souls she is nurturing there) with her own family and health needs.
We have both been teachers for 13 years. We are both compassionate and dedicated. We both put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We are both deserving of and in fact NEED to have downtime, time with our own children, time to do what makes our heart sing – to recalibrate so that we can keep on giving.
But this week (and possibly the weeks prior) we weren’t giving that to ourselves. We are the only ones who can change that.
What finally lifted me out of this 24 hour state of “blahness” was the following:
- A new perspective: at the time, the whiteboard pen not working was a major catastrophe but in the scheme of things going on in the world it was insignificant. My lesson changed but the kids still learnt what they needed to (or maybe didn’t). Try and see the challenges of your day within a bigger picture and maybe even with some humour.
- Gratitude: I went home and wrote down 5 things I was grateful for. If we focus on the negative we start to only see negativity as it keeps showing up in our life. By focusing on the beauty of my life that I sometimes take for granted I tend to see more beauty.
- Making chicken noises with my class: this was done to imitate a character in a book we were reading – it made us all laugh and we ALL loved it.
- Meditation – silence and breathing calm the nervous system and bring us back to a state of centredness where we can connect with what we know to be true.
- This insight from Dr Wayne Dyer:
‘It’s crucial to remain independent of both the positive and negative opinions of others. Regardless of whether they love us or despise us, if we make their assessments more important than our own we will be greatly afflicted.’
We worry what people will think if we leave at 3:30pm some days to go for a surf or swim. We worry that others will consider us slacking off if we voice our concerns about how much is being asked of us. We are boosted and love it when a parent or another teacher praise or affirm what we are doing. But how often do we praise and affirm ourselves?
We want to be seen to be doing our best and giving 100% to the students in our care but giving 100% leaves nothing left for ourselves. Maybe this week we can give 10% to ourselves – it’s not selfish. We are just as deserving as all the beautiful children in our lives of receiving our care.
It’s time to start making your own opinions of yourself more important than anyone else’s. Boost yourself with positive feedback. Tell yourself you are worthy of that nap or walk along the beach without feeling guilty. That does not mean you won’t listen to the opinions and feedback of others, it just means that no matter what they say you will stay true to your own inner voice knowing that you are doing a brilliant job.
NB: When all else fails… chicken noises ALWAYS help.