quote of the week & finding balance

I’m a strong believer that as teachers, we need our down time as well! I feel like teachers in general work really hard, around the clock. I always struggle with finding the right balance between work and everything else, because I do love my job and want to do all that I can to be the best teacher for my students. However, that does take a lot of time and energy.

Some tips on keeping balance in your life as a teacher:

1) Prioritize what commitments you make in school.

It is tempting to try to get involved in all these extra committees, activities, and events. Instead of spreading yourself thinly across 10 different things, commit to a few that are important to you. However, really devote your time and energy to those things you committed to.

Every year I keep coming up with new ideas and things I want to see in our school, but I have to remind myself that I am not superwoman.

2) Get your lesson plans for the following week written by Friday. This is probably one of the best tips. I usually start writing my lesson plans for the following week on Tuesday/Wednesday, so I don’t need to stress about them over the weekend. I try to keep my weekends as free as possible from school work.

3) Pursue interests outside of the teaching bubble. Learn something new.

There’s just something exciting about trying something new. I think for me it would have to be joining the hip hop ministry at my church here. Seriously, I am not a good dancer, but after overcoming the initial fears, I’m so glad that I’ve been part of it for the past few years. It was definitely not an easy thing at first, but I’ve made good friends, faced fears, and have fun doing it.

4) Make time to exercise.

This one seems kind of random, but I believe that having a healthy body will help keep things balanced. If you can find the time to exercise and keep your body healthy on a daily basis that’s a good sign. I mean it’s just hard to argue against exercising.

5) Take vacations!

Yes, you deserve it! Don’t commit your entire summer or winter vacation to professional development, programs, classes, etc. Plan trips and some down time to rest and not think about school.

In a few hours I will be on an airplane and going on vacation. More on my travels when I get back from Shanghai! 🙂

Anyone else have any good ideas on how to maintain balance in your life? 🙂

quote of the week

In the book Half the Sky, they end one of the chapters with this well known story:

A man goes out on the beach and see that it is covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide. A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water.

“What are you doing, son?” the man asks. “You see how many starfish there are? You’ll never make a difference.”

The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean.

“It sure made a difference to that one,” he said.

quote of the week

This quote reminds me of my first year as a teacher. I thought I wouldn’t make it for year two. I remember I was so surprised when my principal asked me to come back for another year. However, I did manage to survive my first year while teaching in an urban public middle school in Manhattan.

I remember when my mentor teacher came into my class to try to model good teaching and afterwards she was like, you have a really hard class. I remember breaking up a fight between two 6th grade girls in the highway and finding chunks of hair on the floor(not mine). I remember trying really hard to not break down in front of my students.

There were good memories too! I had some really sweet students that year as well. They also taught me the milkshake song, which I quickly realized was not about drinking milkshakes.

I can definitely say though that those rough first few years of my teaching career definitely did strengthen, challenge and toughen me. I’m so thankful for going through all that because it did make me become a better teacher.