Yep! I’m going going to try and do another feature, in addition to Money Saving Monday. I have been grappling with the beginnings of feeling burned out for a couple years. Not about working with kids and creating, but about all the other stuff that comes with our jobs – you know. I have been reading a couple really great blogs on finding balance in life – and that was my word of the year.
One blog I love and find always has great advice is Zen Habits. Recently, Leo Babauta, the author, wrote a post called “Questions of Priority”. This post had two questions that I think are important to ask as teachers: "”When you start work, do you start with your most important priority first?” and “How much of your working time is pent on your priority?”
In teaching, we can’t always build our day around our instructional priority because our jobs and days just do not work that way. But this post led me to reflect on the fact that my students are my priority. I so often get caught up in all the things that need to get done and the curriculum that needs to be “covered,” forgetting about the fact that I work with kids. They need me to care about them more than all the other stuff. This week, I consciously worked to talk with each of my kids and think about how I am reacting to them. It was an amazing feeling to talk about books and interests, and show that I value their thinking, instead of chugging steadily on to the next lesson.
The message in this post was that we need to make cuts and cut the things that are not important. When I stopped to think about this, I realized that there are tons of things I do in my classroom that do not really have an impact. They are things I do because someone thought they were a great idea (the math journals that are a headache and take up tons of time cutting and gluing, only to fall apart) or things I thought were soooo cute on Pinterest. What I sometimes forget about is doing things that have substance and make an impact on student learning. I have slowly let go of some of the committees that I have been on and spend less time in my classroom (gasp!) Really, it is okay to work the hours you are supposed to work, as long as you are doing your job well. I have made it a priority to arrive and leave about a half hour outside of the actual expected hours.
I don’t claim to have any knowledge of therapy, I am only trying to make my life more balance so that I can enjoy what I have and what I do.
What are your priorities? What can you cut? How do you balance?