Three Things to Do to Avoid Burn Out

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I have known of way too many teachers - many new, young teachers, who have quit the teaching profession due to burn out. Let's face it. A miserable teacher really shouldn't be teaching. 

So, today I am going to write about how I have avoided burn out. At least, it's a guess of why I have avoided it! I'm not 100% sure - I just have some hunches. 

1. Give thanks.

There are so many things to be thankful for. When we focus on what "could be" or "should be" rather than what we have, we get the poor-me-syndrome. A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting a small orphanage/school in a rural part of Mozambique, Africa. It was fascinating. The classrooms were all painted a weird red/pink color on the inside and consisted of benches and a front chalk board. That's all. The teacher stood in front of the class and spoke with no manipulatives, no technology, no paper or get the picture. And you know what else I noticed? The kids were happy. They sang, clapped, danced, answered questions, smiled. They were "doing school" with nothing and it worked. I went back to my classroom and instead of complaining about all the things I wasn't happy with, I started listing all the blessings I had. There were many!

List your blessings, daily. Give thanks. It will cheer up your day!

2. Be a learner.

Strive to learn something new each day! Learning helps us grow and improve in our profession. Subscribe to blogs, follow awesome fellow teachers on Twitter, try a new class from Skillshare! Earlier this year I tore my retina and was bed-bound for weeks. I took tons of Skillshare classes. They weren't related to education, but I can use some of the things I learned in my career. Love. It. 

3. Balance.

Finding a balance between work like and home life can be very difficult for a teacher. Most teachers I know are also the hardest working individuals I know. You have to keep a healthy balance in order to avoid burn out. As a past teacher, I spent my summers getting ready for the next school year. I had a hard time saying no -  to myself! I was constantly working, planning, creating. Nonstop. I admit. Balance is a hard one for me. One thing I DO do, though, is make time for myself. I love to ride my bike, run, cook, draw, write, and paint. I make time for the things I love to do. Even though I work like a crazy woman most days, I work hard and play hard. My exercise time is built into my day and it naturally adds the balance I need. 

drawing on my iPad

a quick ride on a backyard trail

I'm sure there are many more ways to avoid teacher burn out. I've enjoyed working in education for 33 years now. Although there have been up and down times, I know that if I continually strive to learn new things, live a balanced life, and count my blessings, I won't burn out. I love it too much. 

What are your thoughts? What works for you?


Paper or Digital Planner?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Digital planner or paper? As a new principal, I have a lot of things to keep track of. Right now I am using both. Yes! And I know I just need to pick one and keep with it.

I researched and researched planners and decided to buy the Panda Planner as seen here.  I love the simple, clean design and the fact that I can number the dates as I go. If I don't write anything one day, it isn't a blank page in a journal. I just write the next date. As a former teacher, I have loved my Erin Condren planners as well. But this one may be a new favorite. Yet, I find that I take notes on each day so that I will have a record of what I have done, fully intending to use the notes. But I never look back at them. Hmmm.

But then...I love using my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. They work together flawlessly and the pencil writes beautifully. I love the fact that I can snap a picture and add to it, or record while I write. Recently I took some classes by Holly Pixels.  She just makes planning (and writing) fun! I think that's the problem. I get so sidetracked with my iPad planner. I start using it, then end up drawing pictures, looking at email, etc. As much as I love using my iPad planner, I don't stay focused with it well.

I do think I will use my iPad for drop by visitations. I created a simple form using Keynote and saved it as a jpg. I can pull it up in Good Notes and write directly on the page, then send it easily via email to the teacher.  I also bought an observation checklist from Principal Principles that I think I'll enjoy using!

Oh - and the first picture? I designed staff t-shirts this week. It's so easy using the Cricut! Just design, let the Cricut cut, and iron on. I hope my staff will love them!


New Office Space!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

I'm starting a new chapter and I am so excited!  Most of my career I have worked in (and attended) Christian schools. A couple of years ago I decided to try a local charter school. I loved the experience and learned a ton about teacher professional development, Common Core, and standards based grading. My students were awesome and I received wonderful pay. But, the experience confirmed in me WHY I love Christian school education. There is nothing like being able to openly pray with students and disciple them in biblical truth. And although I truly believe that Christian educators belong in public schools, I knew it wasn't for me.

I am stepping back into administration and am blessed to join a wonderful Christian school. Usually at this time of the year, I am posting pictures of things I'm getting ready for my classroom. So, this time I am posting changes to my office! I'm not quite done, but it's a start! First...the before pictures:

Wallpaper tan on the top and blue on the bottom. Nothing wrong with it! I just wanted an updated look. It also didn't quite feel like me.

Love the closet space!

We started by moving in my tiny desk. It's a little, old desk I bought a few years ago off Craigslist. I like the old feel and clanky drawers.

We removed the wallpaper (thanks, Linda!) and painted the top part cream. We aren't done with the bottom portion yet so ignore it in the pictures!

I bought 2 adorable chairs from Target. Someone noticed that kids might pee in them. Eeks. So I bought stools in cute colors for the kids. 

I bought a cute coffee bar from Wayfair and made a coffee sign using my iPad. I brought in my old Nespresso machine and bought a new one for home. I want to be able to serve yummy espresso!

Finally, here is the back of my desk. Of course, I have to have a lamp and essential oil diffuser. The chair is also an old one I picked up from a garage sale and had at home. It's not super comfy but I hope I'll be up walking around a lot. 

Finally, I've been having fun following Principal's Principles! I love her tips and goodies. She has a great book I purchased with fun ideas for staff morale throughout the year. I'm having a great time working on engaging in-service days. 

I'll post more pictures when we are done with the bottom portion!