Last week I gave a workshop on Mindful Self-Care and started by asking the following question:
Isn’t teaching so lonely?
Heads nodded! I sensed the relief flooding the room – this is going to get real!
Nobody ever talks about how lonely teaching is. In fact, when I mention it to friends they’re confused. I explain, you have one adult, with 30 kids, in charge of all of them, virtually alone up there. Co-teaching helps a lot! When you’re alone though, you look up to an imaginary friend, shaking your head as your students run around like animals, or sit lethargically at desks completely unwilling to work.
It’s a damn TOUGH PROFESSION!!
Sometimes just giving people the space to admit how they feel makes all the difference in the world. So, I do just that in my workshops. I’m real (to a fault – sometimes I swear!) but my intention is pure – I want to serve teachers so that they can enjoy their jobs more. Plus, I want students to feel more connected to their teachers so that they will succeed and not fall through the cracks.
I help teachers self-care. I’m even writing a book about it!
Now’s the part where I toot my own horn. Here are two reactions from the BCTF New Teachers’ conference workshop where we had a truly sacred time sharing our frustrations, woes, disappointments, lack of a life, and all that goes with being a teacher. Self-doubt depresses us as we awaken to yet another day when the students will disrespect us. It’s all so disheartening. So, coming together, as a community, to simply share (and gain practical advice to survive this profession) can make all the difference. My experiential workshops do give people the chance to speak truth without fear.
I wasn’t sure what to expect during your workshop but I left feeling incredibly empowered and so ready for Monday. Like I said, I am a brand new teacher and sometimes I wonder if I am good enough to teach this next generation of tiny humans with huge potential, but after leaving your workshop I realized that I can totally do this and that I am allowed to ask for help when I need it without feeling bad. We as teachers are more connected than I thought and there will always be someone who is feeling the same way I am feeling – no matter how many years of teaching experience they have under their belt.
Teaching my students mindfulness, kindness and empathy is just as, if not more, important than teaching curriculum. The students need someone to listen to them and make them feel valued but it’s also important that I take care of ME and listen to MY needs… aka go get a massage!! I can’t be a good teacher and fill my students cups if my own cup is empty. I loved how real you were with us about being REAL with your students. They just need someone to be honest and level with them. They loved the sharing circle and asked if we could do it every day!
-Katherine, Vancouver educator
TOOT TOOT! Here’s another one:
I felt your workshop was the most valuable part of that conference and I so appreciate you giving us the time to talk about our struggles. It was emotional but valuable and I was so relieved to know that I was not alone in my struggles. – Brittany, grade 6/7 BC teacher
Get in touch about some self-care for your school community. My aim is and will always to be to make a difference. Let me lighten the load for your staff and give you all strategies to self-care to improve your school community as a whole.