Friday, July 22, 2016

maintaining teacher balance

Hey all y'all! It's the BigTime Blogging Challenge. I'm writing every day in July to celebrate my blog's three year anniversary! Join me - write your post, link it up with mine, leave some love for blogging friends in the form of comments!

Hola friends, can you believe it's day 22 of the challenge? I'm so proud of myself, even during the Slice of Life challenge, I usually miss a day so I'm happy to be back every day this month!

Today's topic is teacher balance. It's so important to stay balanced so we don't burn out, so please share with me how you do it!

My first six years of teaching were in Phoenix and I loved it and learned so much. Except I said yes to every request and did everything and in those six years, I didn't do much besides teach. I dated a guy for one of those six years, but otherwise was single, and as I look back, I think a big part of that was because I was so wrapped up in honing a new set of skills in my new teaching life.

Saying Yes
So when I moved to Chicago, I told myself, "Michelle, you don't have to say yes to everything, and you shouldn't feel bad about it. You need to take care of yourself, too!" After all, a yes to more work is a no to something else in your life that might bring you joy, right?

One of my new rules is that I will not take on extra projects without sleeping on it first. It's not that I don't care about the school and kids I teach, but I don't want to burn out and so I have to make certain that what I say yes to will work with my schedule.

I was so happy when one of our principals sent out this blog at the beginning of summer. And, upon seeing another principal just last week, and telling her, No, I'm not teaching and summer PDs, she said, "Good for you."

Because really - I love teaching and learning, but I understand how important it is to recharge, too!

Food and Fitness
It's so important to also take care of our bodies, both with the way we eat and with exercise. So, I almost always prep a week's worth of salads every Sunday evening and try to schedule time for exercise, too. I do so much better when I plan things out, and actually put them on a calendar, so I think with exercise this year, I'm going to try and be better about scheduling my week on Sunday, so it's just something that I know I have to do. And like I wrote in another post this month, motivation follows action, so I need to keep that front and center when I just don't feel like going for a run or to yoga!

Thoughtful with my Thoughts
It's really easy to let our anxieties spin out of control, and a lot of time we create all that drama on our own, in our heads before the thing we're really worried about even happens. So, I work really hard to tell myself things like, "Michelle, it's not time for that meeting / conversation / PD Session, so don't ruin your moments now because you're worried about something in the future." I'm like everyone else who stresses out, except I have gotten pretty good at talking myself out of those destructive thinking patterns. Usually, the biggest conflict is in my mind, and things go better than I expect!

Approach Conflict Directly
This is hard, so so hard. But after reading Brené Brown, I understand that the most compassionate people are also the most boundaried. Boundaries are good! So when something happens that upsets me or hurts my feelings, I make it a point to go approach it within a reasonable amount of time. Usually problems and misunderstandings are solved, and in the very least, the person who said or did something to upset me is at least then aware of my boundaries. I truly believe that what you ignore, you allow, and so I think it's so important be be honest and up front with people. The upside of this? You never have to wonder if I'm upset with you, because if I am, I will tell you!

Appreciate the Small Things
Kids are awesome! Teaching is a ton of work and it's a grind, but it's so worth it when kids email you saying, "Ms. Brezek, I revised my memoir a little, can you tell me what you think?" and "Aren't you going to Middle School with us?" and hugs bright smiles from firsties. With so much technology, I think it causes us to want to capture moments and save them, but better, I think, to live them and then put them in a notebook or on a blog or in your Sunshine File. Any way you can live in the moments of your teaching life, and appreciate them for all that they're worth, will definitely lead to happy, wholehearted teachers!

How do you stay balanced with such a demanding career?
Please share your tips!


  1. I want to say "yes" to everything! But I'm realizing that sometimes "no" or "not now" is appropriate so I don't burn out!

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