I have sustainability on my mind at the moment having received a grant for $1000 to bring my vegie garden / sustainability project dreams out of my head and into reality. Having never grown a vegetable in my life (surely eating loads of them counts?!) I am truly spending this year stepping out of my comfort zone. So it got me thinking about that word….SUSTAINABLE…and what practices might be high on the list for ensuring teachers have longevity (and joy) in their careers, rather than just applied as an environmental buzz word.
Here are my current personal sustainability practices:
- Rest when tired – I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it, don’t push through. I need constant reminders of this but it is so important and always works.
- Work on something that lights a fire in your belly (like a pot belly stove sustaining you through a chilly winter) – no more “grinding” through tasks. In Nischala Joy Devi’s translation of the Yoga Sutras she interprets Patanjali in Sutra I.39 as saying:
“Dedicate yourself to anything that elevates and embraces your heart”.
It can be hard to find time in our profession to dedicate to projects we are passionate about (whether for school or personally) but anything that elevates your heart will lift your energy too, supporting you on a daily basis.
- Food that sustains – when I think of sustenance food immediately comes to mind. Eat well. You know how. Just pick a meal or snack to focus on making really healthy for a week or two before moving onto another. Natural = life giving.
- Let something go – we cannot get everything done that we would like to. Let’s just accept it. Pick something that you feel is not at the top of the “must do” list and accept that it won’t happen (and that’s fine).
- Prioritise tasks on a weekly (or daily) basis – that way you won’t get side-tracked by every little thing that pops up. You don’t have to reply to every email immediately.
- Accept the present moment – where you are, where your kids are and where your colleagues are. We are all on our own learning journey. Decide what you have the ability to change and get to it (let the rest fly). Remember making a change takes more energy than continuing on as you have been but it will be worth it.
- Get Strong – muscles sustain you. Strong body = strong mind. Exercise needs to be prioritised (especially in winter to combat lethargy).
I hope you will consider adopting your own sustainability practices to carry you on the journey and ensure your career is maintainable in the long run.