4. Give yourself grace.
5. Create a “stage persona” for stressful situations.
6. When things get tough, lean on your support system.
Why Highly Sensitive People are Drawn to Caring Professions Like Teaching
1. Learn to let go when your lessons don’t go as planned.
2. Give yourself permission to say no.
3. Your empathy is the superpower your students need.
That was the emotion I thought I felt. I know, I know.... exhaustion doesn't sound like an emotion word, but I felt it in my bones, I lived it day by day and hour by hour.
That weight of never being done practicing or lesson planning. The long hours under fluorescent lights, trying to study through the pain or finish up cleaning recorders before running home to teach lessons and finally collapsing in bed after scrambling to put a semblance of a meal together. The loneliness of working non-stop, rushing from class to class without true connection with another adult.
The lack of deep friendship and understanding. The never feeling good enough. The push push push without relief, without let-up. The feeling like "classroom" teachers aka grade level teachers (I never liked that term, don't I teach in a classroom too?!) were superior just because we provided their prep time during the day to have a full, uninterrupted hour to plan while we were left with the scraps of 10/20/30 minute chunks to try to get something meaningful accomplished before running out to do bus duty.
This was the biggest thing, though, that I felt when in the rat-race of the typical college education degree and subsequent years of teaching in public education: Exhaustion.
This is why burn-out happens so quickly and easily, especially with the younger generation. Why?
Because we've pulled back the curtain, we've seen that it doesn't and shouldn't have to be this way.
In particular I have created a space where I no longer have to feel caught in the middle to provide for my family.
I can have BOTH. I can experience the joy of teaching AND make a good income (a lot more than I did as a young public school teacher). I can experience rest AND meaningful work. I can lesson plan AND have time to use the restroom whenever I want. I can enjoy kids and their smiles and laughter in large or small group settings AND go home at a reasonable time of day to make dinner for my family and enjoy the sunshine and snuggling my dog. I can get all I need to done and more AND have my weekend to myself now!
There's more to this life than work. But I wanted my work to be fulfilling and meaningful and have IMPACT.
I can choose how to run my schedule now. I choose my hours. And I don't have to teach private music lessons unless I want to (which I do, but it's my choice, not my duty to make a few extra $).
And you can too. It's not rocket science. :) But there are practical steps and considerations to make. Come learn with me how.
Does your kiddo struggle with math? They (and you!) are not alone. Sometimes addressing non-math issues can really help the issue at hand, speaking from a teacher lens. Here are a few non-math ways to help your child experience success in math. Read on to the end to get a free recipe for my concentration roller blend.
1. Encourage a Growth Mindset
Growth Mindset is not a new concept, but it is especially important when tackling difficult tasks or subjects. Studies show that if people believe they can do something, even if it is difficult and they may not get it right away, they learn it better, retain it longer, and stick with the hard task longer if they have a growth mindset.
Encourage your child to use phrases such as "Mistakes help me grow." or "My intelligence can be developed." or "I keep trying and never give up!" instead of "I'm not good at it." or "I give up easily.'
2. Get Good Sleep
“Daytime thinking is a building process, whereas nighttime thinking is a sorting process.”
― Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health
Did you know that children with sleep issues are often misdiagnosed with attention or learning issues? This is because our brains make sense of and sort our experiences at nighttime from during the daytime. When we don't get enough good sleep at night, our brain isn't able to "download" and synthesize what we took in from the previous day. So maybe your child did a lot of great learning of math and made progress the day before, but if he/she didn't sleep well or long enough, that learning may be lost. There are so many other reasons sleep is vital to health and wellness and learning! Read a scholarly example here.
Set a bedtime routine and stick to it! If you need ideas, I shared 11 tried and true ways to get better sleep here that can be adapted very well for kids.
3. Strengthen Left- and Right-Brain Connections
Does your child enjoy some activities that are completely unrelated to math? Of course they do! There are many studies that show certain activities (like music) strength the pathways in the brain between the two hemispheres. What does this have to do with math? Well, math often requires that these pathways be strong. When practicing using these pathways, it's like exercising a muscle and will get stronger with use. The stronger you build a muscle, the stronger you feel when something heavy comes along that you have to pick up. By building strong pathways with something more "fun" -- like music -- your child can come to math work feeling stronger, like the math work is a bit less heavy than last time.
In the middle of math work (or perhaps even right before it!), have your child do this active listening + movement piece to activate those multiple areas of the brain.