Sustainable Self-Care (and 90 minutes of FREE coaching)

Dear Friend,

It’s here.

The real secret behind my sustainable self-care – The Healthy Happy Sane Teacher Home Study Program has finally arrived.

And it’s not just for teachers… it really can be for anyone who is looking to refine their self-care program and to feel more at home in their life.

We see summer as a chance to unwind from the rapid fire nature of the school year.  A chance to finally release all that tension in your shoulders.  A chance to decompress before the “every day feels like Sunday night” anxiety of the August back to school countdown clock kicks in.

change your life

We know you love your work.  We know you are living on purpose.  But we also know that how you are living while living your mission is probably not all that good for you.

Skipped meals.  Lack of sleep.  Too long to do lists.  An overworked mind frantically holding onto all the details.

What if it didn’t have to be that way? 

What if you could have a whole new way of being in the world WHILE still doing this work that you love?

What if you could set it all into place this summer so that next school year is a completely different experience than ever before?

It is time for you get to healthy, happy, and sane with

The Healthy Happy Sane Teacher: Sustainable Self-care for a Successful School Year Home Study Program.

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The idea behind The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher program is that with a bit of a time investment up front, your schedule – YOUR LIFE – will feel less overwhelming.

In the same way that long-term – semester or whole year – planning can help guide your academic year with your students, HHST can help you finally embrace self-care in a way that makes you happier and even more successful in the classroom.

How?

Just that – long-term planning.

The reality is taking time RIGHT NOW to plan for your health, happiness and sanity can help create a healthier, happier, saner school year and LIFE.

Here’s your chance to change how your school year goes, to start and end the year with enthusiasm and energy. To feel healthy, happy and sane.

With the home study program, you will get:

5 Illuminating Audio Recordings: One-hour recordings where we provide powerful guidance for you on creating a healthy, happy, sane life and map out the steps for the action plan you will be creating and putting into place.

5 Powerful Workbooks:  Weekly workbooks with all the exercises you need to create you healthy, happy, sane life action plan and the guidance to help you put it all in motion.

And the opportunity to join a private HHST Facebook group for additional support.

AND THERE’S AN INCREDIBLE BONUS OPPORTUNITY!

THE FIRST FIVE PEOPLE to sign up for The Healthy Happy Sane Teacher Home Study Program by July 1st will receive 90 minutes of coaching (to be done in either three 30 minute or two 45 minute phone/Skype sessions) from either Tami or Rosie.

Here is what every good teacher knows: nothing changes unless you decide to change it. It would be our honor to offer you support on your journey!

Click here to register today.

With lots of love and compassion,

Tami

xo

PS – If you find this helpful or know someone who would, please be sure to pass it on. Sharing is caring!

Other posts you might like:

The Secret to Being a Happy Classroom Teacher

Learning to Set Boundaries and Getting More Comfortable Being Less Agreeable

Road Map for Resilience: 8 Steps to Get You Back on Track

The Secret to Being A Happy Classroom Teacher

giraffe

I found my life’s calling when I became a teacher. Finally, I thought, a job I could see doing for the rest of my life. 

And pretty much as soon as I found my calling, I lost my f*king marbles.

I’ve always been a super productive, perfectionist, ambitious, go-getter and stepping into a new career wasn’t going to change that fact.

My plan was to be the best teacher ever in the history of the universe.

Even if I had to do ridiculous things to get there.

My first year I worked the first 72 days of school straight. No weekends, no evenings, no friends, no exercise, no fun. I was in it to win it, friends.

Work, work, work. You name it, I did it:  lesson and unit planning, curriculum and classroom management trainings after school and on the weekends, seating charts, weekly progress reports, calls home and community building activities. 

I limped to the finish line that year with the promise I’d do better the next year. Teaching would get easier with time I told myself.

Turns out my second year, was harder than the first. I had an exceptionally challenging class, and I again told myself teaching would get easier when I had more experience under my belt.

By the end of my third year, I was exhausted from teaching and some personal grief, and if I’m being totally honest, completely unhinged. Mentally and physically exhausted, I knew something had to really change if I was going to stay in this profession.

A couple more years passed pretty much the same way. I was doing the same thing and expecting a different result: working too much, too hard and promising to do better “next year” and each year I just got more and more exhausted.

The worst part? It was affecting my ability to be a good teacher. Resentment was building and I was becoming less flexible and fun, both inside and out of the classroom.

But let’s be honest, not much changed because I didn’t know where to start. Knowing something needs to change and actually making real changes are two very different things.

Time and experience were not going to be the only thing to help me stay healthy, happy and sane in the classroom. That much I figured out.

Midyear, my principal called me into his office to basically stage an intervention. He asked me if i was happy being a teacher.

Keep in mind, this guy thought I kicked ass in the classroom. He knew I excelled at all the teacher work, but he wanted to know if I’d be happier doing something else because he didn’t see a single ounce of joy in my face.

*GULP*

<cue tears>

I cried. Totally ugly cried. Because, the answer was no. I wasn’t happy being a teacher. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else for a living because I still felt I was called to be a teacher. But I wasn’t happy doing things the way they were being done.

Something had to change.

It wasn’t pretty. 

I was embarrassed because apparently I wasn’t the best teacher in the universe after all.

Then I got mad.

And then I got real.

Real immature.

If “they” weren’t going to appreciate all the time and effort I was putting into my classroom, then I just wasn’t going to any more. I’d show them…

So instead of spending every free moment of my life working, I started going to yoga class in the afternoon. I started cooking dinner and making sure I had good leftovers for lunch. I started making plans with friends for fun.

That’s when it all clicked.

When I was happier in my life outside the classroom, life in the classroom was happier. My patience grew, my appreciation for my students grew, my resentment disappeared and we ALL did better.

Let me repeat that last part: My students did better at school when I took better care of myself.

Maya Angelou is famous for saying “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Teaching is a marathon and requires some serious training. And not that kind they cover in your credential program.

Enter: The Healthy, Happy Sane Teacher.

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What’s your secret to being a happy classroom teacher?

Image Source: Drawing Digital Print Mixed Media Illustration Print … by CocktailZoo on Etsy

So You Think You Want to Teach School: Open House Edition

Here’s 5th part of the So You Think You’d Like to Teach School series. The idea for this series came out of some questions I’ve gotten from folks interested in making teaching their profession.

open house

How to Rock Elementary School Open House

This post could also have been titled “How I Used to Dread This Annual Event, But Since I Figured Out The Secret, I’m Good”.

Also: Why Didn’t Anyone Clue Me In?

So my first few (seven to be exact) Open Houses didn’t go that great. I was a nervous wreck! Something always felt like it was about to go wrong and sometimes it actually did.

There was the year a parent decided to name call (rhymes with itch – I wish I was kidding), the teacher shopping (aka the job interview), and my personal favorite – the impromptu teacher conference. And finally, the year I came home to find my cat had died.

No wonder why I dreaded Open House!

So I did what any reasonable professional would do and asked my smarty pants co-workers about their experience with Open House and  in asking, I got the secret to a successful elementary school Open House.

The Open House SECRET: Give EVERYONE in the family a job to do.

IDEA #1 – The In Class Scavenger Hunt

Materials You’ll Need:

Student work posted and on their desks

A student check list

Pencils/markers/stamps – something to mark their found treasures.

One your scavenger hunt ask students to find specific items in the classroom and explain them to their families.

IDEA #2 Math Minutes station (aka students success center)

Materials You’ll Need:

100 fact worksheets – I used addition, subtraction, multiplication and division 100 problem fact timed tests I found by Googling math fact worksheets.

A cup full of sharpened pencils.

A bunch of 5 minute timers.

Clipboards or empty desks where people can work.

Students challenge their families to finish the all facts tests in five minutes.

Side note: This was by far my students’ favorite station because they loved watching their siblings and parents struggle to finish something they excelled doing.

IDEA #3 A Reading Fluency Station

A stack of fluency reading sheets (ours were provided by our district, but we could use Read Naturally or counted text from readers or science texts)

Timers

Pencils

Students read a passage as quickly (and fluently) as possible in one minute marking where they stop. Repeat two more times on same passage and note how much farther they read with each repeated read.

Students love to show what they know and their improvement, even in 3 minutes.

IDEA #4 Build 3D Shapes Station

Materials You’ll Need:

Geometric Shapes Nets (I used the set provided in the teacher materials of our district math program. I just made extra copies).

Colored pencils, markers, crayons.

Multiple pairs of scissors.

Clear tape.

Everyone chooses a shape net, colors, cuts out and precisely folds their net on the lines. They use the tape to hold their shape together.

I found that families talked a lot about how parents hadn’t seen this kind of geometry until high school. My students were incredulous they were doing “high school” work and parents were impressed with their students’ work.

IDEA #5 Display all the digital photos from the year as a slide show

This one relies on all the photos from the year being in one place – hopefully your computer or camera, so if not this year start planning for next.

I take a lot of photos during the year and love being able to show them off during this event.

Some years I was able to project them onto my big screen and other years the slideshow was a single computer monitor in the back of the room. It didn’t matter how big the presentation, my students (and their families) beamed with pride seeing themselves hard at work all year long.

I hope these ideas help you get creative during your next elementary school Open House.

What are your Open House success secrets?

Please leave comments to share with others what you do to make yours a successful school community event.

Image source

Classroom Teachers Who Inspire

i heart teachersOne of the best parts of being a classroom teacher is being inspired and awed by your co-workers – the big ones and the little ones.

Classroom teachers are freaking amazing, multi-talented people. And these teachers are truly inspirational. They not only spend their days in the classroom, they also spend time on a yoga mat.

Find out who and what inspires them:

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Jenna Francisco of This is My Happiness:

People who are kind, simple, and interested in the betterment of all humans.  People, especially quirky or creative ones, who are 100% comfortable being themselves.  Societies that value slowness, simplicity, and equality.

I’m inspired to be in the moment every day, whether it’s just relaxing, spending time with my sons, or even going to work.  I’m inspired by history and art, and I won’t lie—I love to travel and want to live overseas, (both very outside-of-the-moment!), so I’m inspired to see as much of this world as I can in my short life.

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Amy Estes (formerly of Just a Titch) and now Coffee and Sunshine

I think working in a profession where I’m forced to be creative is good for inspiration—teenagers see the world so differently than I do, and also, kids are brutally honest about how they’re feeling, which definitely inspires thoughts. Otherwise, I find inspiration in a good book, a song that makes me want to dance or cry, conversations with my closest friends, a long drive on a sunny day, in cooking or baking, during a long bath or shower and the things that I write off-line, in my paper journal.

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Jed Brewer of Lather Records

I’m drawn to people that are smart, creative, and weird.  Occasionally, I need some boring down time to recover from everything, but I like watching, hearing, and talking to people that let it all hang out.  People that risk embarrassment or being misunderstood to do something that’s a little different.  Not the Jackass people, but creative or even political people.

I also get off on stuff from the natural world.  I’m fascinated by topography – land shapes, gorges, mountains, rivers, etc.  And animals, of course.  The Amazing Yans inspires me just about every day.

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Ryan Fong of Deep Homework

I have many people who inspire me. 

  • My partner, Eric, inspires me to see myself in the way that he sees me—with unconditional love and compassion. 
  • My uncle is an inspiration for a life lived well and very mindfully.  He’s a friend, mentor, and model in addition to being my blood relative. 
  • I’m inspired, as I think many of us at IAY are, by the way the community there supports us in experiencing the challenges and joys of really embracing it *all* as yoga. 
  • But mostly, I’m inspired by the universe’s generosity in giving us this present moment to do and be right.  Not right as in correct, but as in right here, right now and just right.

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Who or what inspires you?

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Want to learn more about the Teacher Goes Back to School Featured Teachers? Here’s the full archive.

Do you know a kick ass yoga practicing classroom teacher? Is that you? Please let me know!

Image source: Abstract light photography pink heart bokeh photography … by mylittlepixels on Etsy

So You Think You Want to Teach Part 4: Classroom Management

Here’s 4th part of the So You Think You’d Like to Teach School series. The idea for this series came out of some questions I’ve gotten from folks interested in making teaching their profession.

Classroom Management

How does one teacher get a room full of students to all cooperate at the same time? How does one teacher get a room full of students from the classroom to the library and back? How does one teacher coordinate a classroom full of students of all abilities, temperaments and backgrounds to work together as a community?

In a nutshell, that’s classroom management.

One of my teacher credential text books asserted 90% of student misbehavior is teacher caused. If that us true, we have a lot of responsibility for how our school days go, regardless of who is in our class.

Some of the books I have used over the years, I’ve included below. Please click on the book image for more information on each title.

I consider these books to be an essential starting point for effective classroom management. Obviously you’ll find your own way, but these books can help get you started.

I’m not going to lie, I have a little crush on Fred Jones. His sense of humor kills me. If you have the opportunity to take a training with him (or his videos), please do. My students have always responded well to daily (sometimes twice daily!) Preferred Activity Time (PAT). It keeps students focused on completing their tasks as teams in a timely manner and me focused on positive behavior.

“Pay now or pay later” is Mr. Wong’s philosophy about spending time in the beginning of the year to teach (and practice – over and over and over again) procedures in your classroom. Effective procedures make for an organized, structured and sane classroom.

This book was my bible while I was sub teaching. I read it twice during that year and again while I was student teaching and have returned to it again and again during my career.

Fair, firm and consistent is the message I got from Setting Limits in the Classroom. This is another training I felt worth my time. Lisa Stanzione’s presentation brought the book to life – although I think it stands on its own.

The text for a graduate level classroom management course and it gave such good advice I sent it to my dad. It is as much a parenting book as it is a teaching book.

Another book that is written primarily with parents in mind, however these methods can easily be used in the classroom.

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What are your favorite kid management books? What is your go-to read for classroom management or parenting? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Do you have any teaching questions? Curious about anything related to classroom or yoga teaching? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it here.

Stay tuned for more in the So You Think You Want to Teach series: Taming the Homework Beast, Parents: Friend or Foe

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Be sure to click on the Life as a School Teacher link below for all the posts in the series.

So You Think You Want to Teach Part 3: Before You Take the Credentialing Leap

Here’s part 3 of the So You Think You’d Like to Teach School series. The idea for this series came out of some questions I’ve gotten from folks interested in making teaching their profession.

Volunteer or at least observe 20-40 hours in a classroom, preferably in the same one. If you have to take vacation time from your job, please do. It is remarkably illuminating watching someone work. Plus you will get a head start on what is expected when you are in the front of the room. It will also help you get a head start on your credentialing school application.

Read teacher books and blogs. 

Books I found inspiring:

Read some blogs to get you thinking about what issues teachers are facing today. Here are some of my favorites.

It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages

Blogging Through The Fourth Dimension

Teaching With Soul

Informational interview all kinds if teachers: ones who love their jobs and those that hate them. Find out why. It is better to know what you are getting into before you find yourself in a career you hate.

Make teacher connections on Twitter. New teacher chat #ntchat on Wednesdays at 5pm PST is a treasure trove of excellent ideas. Other helpful hashtags include: #mathchat #edchat

Read 20 Tidbits for New Teachers from Lisa Dabbs.

Substitute teach.  Sub teaching was as beneficial {or more} than my credential program in a lot of ways. Kids will never be more ill-behaved than with a sub, so you get a sneak peek into future behavior issues now. It helped my classroom management a lot. Plus, being paid to practice teaching? I’d say a pretty good gig.

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Did I miss anything? Have a question about teaching? If so, leave me a note in the comments.

Stay tuned for upcoming topics in the series: Classroom Management, Taming the Homework Beast, Parents: Friend or Foe?

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Interested in more about Life As A School Teacher? Be sure to click the Life As A School Teacher category link below.

So You Think You’d Like To Teach Part 2: Time Management

Here’s part 2 of the So You Think You’d Like to Teach School series. The idea for this series came out of some questions I’ve gotten from folks interested in making teaching their profession.

Time Management

My first couple years of teaching were intense and exhausting – mentally and physically.  Changing my career in my early 30’s meant I had something to prove {at least to myself} and so I set out to be the best teacher ever.

The first few months of my new career I went to every single afternoon, evening and weekend teacher training offered because I wanted to, no, needed to KNOW IT ALL – NOW!  As a result, I worked a ridiculous number of days in a row without a break.

Something like 62. Completely nuts, I know now.

I assigned loads of homework and stressed out about the mountain of ungraded work quickly filling my otherwise empty filing cabinet. {I ended up just tossing it all in the recycling bin ungraded at the end of the year}.

Days started before sunrise and most nights I came home ravenous after dark.

I agonized over lesson planning, parent interactions, and special education plans.

Even though I had a mentor and was married to a teacher who kept telling me to slow down, to take care of myself and to understand I was still learning, I just kept going and going and going.

Looking back, I’m not quite sure how I survived.

I set out to be the best teacher ever and instead I got strep throat by Labor Day and pretty much stayed sick all year.

Strawberry Twizzlers were consumed by the pound.

I gained weight, slept horribly and developed an enviable case of stress acne.

My stomach was constantly in knots, as was my back.

My students were nervous around me, by winter break I was convinced I didn’t have the energy to finish the school year and someone’s mom called me a bitch at Open House {true story}.

Why am I telling you all this?

I hope you can learn from the mistakes I made my first years and learn how to take care of yourself while you are becoming the best teacher you can be.

How much time did I put in to teaching my first year?

All of my time. I wouldn’t let myself have any fun. I just worked. I barely had time to groom myself because I was completely obsessed with school work.

My friends told me they felt like school year widows because they never saw me anymore.

Would I do it like that again?

I would hope not! Old perfectionism habits are hard to break, but my aim would be to not run myself ragged.

Here’s the thing, teaching is like a marathon – slow and steady really does win the race. It is physically, mentally and emotionally impossible to sprint a marathon.

Time Management Tips for New Teachers

Do not expect to know it all right away (or ever). That is ok. You are human and a beginner. Be nice to yourself.

Look beyond your school for help and community. You may find kindred teaching spirits online, so develop your tech muscles. Twitter has changed the way I think about teaching. I no longer feel completely dependent on those people I know in person to give me some direction in my classroom.

Ask for help in your classroom – what can you delegate to parents? Some really do want to help.

Suggestions for things in the room and ideas for things for them to take home:

  • grading quizzes
  • filing your papers (if you choose to handle your papers like this)
  • updating your class website or blog
  • updating classroom bulletin boards
  • writing your class newsletter (edited by you, of course)
  • making copies
  • making academic posters for your room
  • organizing class parties/field trips/class speakers/libraries
  • teaching art lessons
  • coordinating the garden project you’d love to do, but simply don’t have the time to do all by yourself
  • reading one-on-one with students
  • running a math center station
  • tutoring students with specific gaps – addition/subtraction facts, fluency.

Ask yourself what can you do LESS of? Grading homework? Having perfectly crafted bulletin boards may look lovely, but it is worth your sanity?

Decide what you how you will handle your papers before you get your classroom keys- I was astounded my the sheer volume of papers coming into my classroom. Please for the love of god, whatever you do, don’t just pile it on the corner of your desk or dump it in a filing cabinet. Take it from me, you’ll want to make it a priority to only handle papers once. Also: get a huge recycling bin.

Seek out a mentor who you admire their work/life balance – again, you may find this person online rather than at your school site.

Set a time limit for the number of hours you will work each day and then stop. Finally in my third year I decided I had to leave school by 4:00. I could work a little at home and on the weekends, but 4 was my school limit. I found after that I was just spinning my wheels, chatting with other teachers and generally not getting much accomplished anyway. I promise, the work will wait for you.

Exercise daily. Can you combine obsessive teacher talk (we’ve all got it at some level) with a brisk walk? One of my friends walks every morning before school with her grade level partner thus killing two birds with one stone.  Absolutely brilliant if you ask me!

Go to bed early. About 5 years ago while trying to battle yet another illness, I started going to bed in the 9 o’clock hour instead of 10. Changed my life! So much less need for caffeine and sugar when I am properly rested.

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Did I miss anything? If so, leave me a note in the comments.

Stay tuned for upcoming topics in the series: Classroom Management, Taming the Homework Beast, Parents: Friend or Foe?