2018 is approaching fast! Are you ready???
Most people are thinking about the goals they would like to accomplish in The New Year, which is great, but it is also important to think about the things that we will leave behind. I've created a list of 5 things I believe we should all commit to leaving in 2017. Check them out, and then let me know what you would add to the list!
1. Complaining with No Action
As educators we deal with many different frustrations. Not enough pay, no parent involvement, micromanagement, lack of autonomy, etc. etc. etc. When we first start sharing how we feel about negative situations, it feels good! It feels like we are finally getting a heavy weight off of our chest and taking the first step towards acknowledging that there is a problem to begin with. When we share our thoughts with other people, we are able to find other like minded individuals and no longer feel alone. But, at some point venting or expressing your feelings can turn into complaining. If you're not careful, the people that you have built a tribe with can add fire to the flame, because after all, your tribe is there to support you and sometimes support is confused with having a "yes man/woman".
Let's allow all the complaints about education to be left in 2017. This does not mean we ignore that there are issues within our educational system. This means, we move past the repetitive coping mechanism of seeking validation, and start creating actionable steps that enforce change. Is it fair that the victim has to be the one to solve the problems they didn't create? NO! However, that is not reason enough to allow your abuser (whoever or whatever this may be) to win.
Last year, I used the Second Step program to teach students how to become Social Emotional Learners. While it is a great program, it is important to note that many of us as adults have trouble with solving our own problems and controlling our own emotions. (Side Note: If you think the students don't notice this, you are sadly mistaken. They know just how much of a hot mess I...I mean you...are) I am on the record many times stating that educators need to participate in the same type of "morning meeting" reflective sessions as our students. The Second Step image below is what we used with our students to help them think through problems. It is a great tool for people of any age.
Meditate.com also shared an article from Tim Hicks that uses a similar 7-Step method for solving work related issues.
1. Identify the issues.
2. Understand everyone's interests.
3. List the possible solutions (options).
4. Evaluate the options.
5. Select an option or options.
6. Document the agreement.
7. Agree on contingencies, monitoring, and evaluation.
You can bring this information to your coworkers, administrators, or teacher tribe and start to map out each step. If working alone is your jam, or what needs to be done, focus on what's important (your mental health) and don't be discouraged. I know you want to be a part of making a major difference, so don't ever believe that what you are experiencing won't change. Change ALWAYS starts with self and radiates outward.
2. Remaining Quiet about the Things That Matter
But...I thought you just told me to stop complaining!? Yes, I still want you to stop complaining. Using your voice to bring awareness to important topics is definitely different than complaining. In this case, we are actually just going to call people on their BS. Thankfully, over the last few years, online and local media gave many people, that typically weren't getting news coverage, a platform to advocate for what is lacking or being covered up in various arenas. Now, is definitely not the time to stop or get too comfortable.
There has been a very loud call for whites to address their privilege and check family and friends that haven't. The sexual harassment that countless women (and men) have experienced at the hands of family members, coworkers, friends, and employers was exposed thanks to some FEARLESS WOMEN stepping forward. Mass shootings by Americans have made many realize that we need to push for stricter gun laws. American Citizens embraced the title of being a "Nation of Immigrants" which resulted in them uniting to stop the travel ban and protesting the removal of DACA.
Over the past few years, there have been many more amazing times that we have seen the positive effects of not remaining quiet about the things that matter. I am so proud to see countless educators share their stance on what is going on in the world, and find innovative ways to bring this information to the classroom, in order to create caring citizens. So, if this is you, KISS YOUR BRAIN and keep fighting the good fight. If this is not you, please take the time to reflect on how your silence speaks volumes!
3. Jumping on the Bandwagon
I can't even count the amount of times I saw this happen in 2017. I'll even admit, I've jumped on and off a bandwagon or two this year as well. BUT, PEOPLE!!!!! We have got to start fact checking and stop reposting everything that is shared by a "reliable source" or that comes down our social media timeline. Specifically, I would like to focus on the amount of misinformation posted on the internet.
Here's the thing...technology has eyes and ears, it records everything that you like, look at, agree with, purchase, etc. Technology is even so advanced that it can tell what you PROBABLY would like based on all the different areas it collects information about you in. So, when you are on a website, the type of ads/information you see are tailored to your specific interests. The popular page on Instagram and the friends you see posting on Facebook are all selected based on this information. This tends to cause opinions to be skewed because both sides aren't being analyzed and accounted for. Additionally, there are people that take pride in creating (actual) FAKE NEWS or creating memes and posts in an effort to go viral. #staywoke
Here are a few viral posts from 2017 that weren't actually 100% true or were missing a significant amount of information, yet no one really cared until after the fact.
So, what do we do when social media keeps leading us down a rabbit hole of misinformation? We take it upon ourselves to fact check! Thankfully, people like Awesomely Luvvie have got us covered. Click the image below to read beyond the headline and receive additional information about how we can all Avoid Passing on Fake News on Social Media.
4. Traditional Professional Development
SNORE SNORE SNORE! We are tired of the same ole' same ole' when it comes to teacher education. We want practical, hands-on, real, and relevant trainings for teachers. We want professional development provided by people with actual experience as opposed to hiring educators with a filing cabinet of degrees. Educators deserve to have their training differentiated just as students do. So, we hope to leave traditional professional development in 2017 and see more educators taking advantage of non-traditional professional development.
Currently, Teacher Magic, offers two options for non-traditional professional development. We recently hosted our first online Productivity Workshop: Week of Magic that focused on personal and professional GROWTH. We also have a 100% FREE Facebook Book Club and Study Group. Click the images below to sign up and take control of your own learning in 2018.
Also, be sure to check out our blog post about Affordable Professional Development for additional ideas.
5. Teacher Guilt
I'm going to have to very quickly shout out these 3 lovely ladies: Shana R., Jenna C., and Kelsey H. They started the hashtag #STOPTEACHERGUILT and turned it into an Instagram challenge. This challenge started on October 1st, 2017, and has since racked up almost 1,000 posts simply because we all have experienced it!
I'm not even in the classroom right now and I still struggle with Teacher Guilt. Honestly, sometimes I feel guilty speaking to you all from a position outside the classroom. I worry that I will become one of those educators that are so disconnected from what is happening in the classroom that I am no longer relevant. I worry that other educators won't take me seriously because of my short stint (4 years) in the classroom. I get anxious when I haven't posted on Instagram, written a new blog, or shared a freebie -- because I want to always be a constant support system for you all. However, I'm leaving all those feelings behind in 2017! I know what my mission is as an educator, and I will continue to trust it and step into my purpose.
In 2018, I want you to do the same. When you feel that teacher guilt building up, stop it in its tracks! Allow yourself to enjoy weekends and holidays off. Take time for self-care and make memories with your family and friends. Leave work on time and don't sweat the small stuff. Put your all into your work and celebrate both big and small wins.
Looking for some more ways to show yourself appreciation? Check out one of our first infographics and get to it!
I would like to personally wish you an amazing NEW YEAR! Please take the time to comment what you plan to leave behind in 2017.
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