How to Prevent Teacher Burnout (Or Dig Yourself Out of the Teacher Depression Pit)

“I declare/commit/will think consider that I will breathe each day when I arrive at school. I will look at my students through the lens of love, the lens that remembers that the last voice they heard as they left for school might have been harsh, coming from a stressed parent or that some of my students may have gotten themselves out of bed and on a bus independently. I will remember that some of my kids do not have running water or electricity or a suitable bed in which to sleep. I will speak encouraging words to them, helping each child understand that he/she is special and created for a purpose.

Top Ten Words of Advice for My Teacher Friends or You Are Tired Already, Aren’t You?

Ok, so inservice or “PD” as it is now called is barely over and you are exhausted already, right? I know. As Miranda Jackson said once,“This is way beyond college exam week tired”. I see it in the eyes of our neebies on staff–that excitement mixed with raw FEAR. So, here’s the best advice that I have never forgotten from some of the best teachers in the world.

The Journey Through the Christmas Seasons of My Life

As a little girl, Christmas brought Santa, lots of shiny, new things and time spent with family.As I grew older, my Christmas presents grew more mature, but it was always a season of celebration. Santa faded away, and the story of Jesus came alive each year, as I began to understand a Creator God Who loves us and sent a Savior.
I began to realize that I need a Savior seeing that my life can sometimes, most of the time, be a hot mess. I am sure that my parents sometimes couldn’t quite figure out what to do with their curly-haired, freckle faced, prone to giggles daughter. It is easy to see that I need a Savior.
Learning the entire story of Jesus through our church, my journey of faith began, finding that I only needed to believe.
Adulthood came and brought marriage and two kids, again changing Christmas.
But later, Christmas was to become a very dark time for me. It was Christmas 2005.
Two Christmas parties, a massive stroke, days in the ICU, more days in the hospital, even more days in a transitional center, and finally, months later, home with life very different for my mom and dad. Love was personified for nearly twelve years, as my mom cared for my dependent dad. Then, my dad left us, finally to be free from the body that trapped him for his final years.
Christmas lost its joy, bringing painful memories of white lights making a huge Christmas tree on the outside of Jackson General Hospital.
A Savior is born…
“Save me, God. Bring back the joy of Christmas.”
And slowly, He did.

Let The Joy of Christmas Return

This morning I got a message about a family whose 16 year old son died in the night. He had leukemia. Be still my heart.
It has brought on a flood of emotions, and as I sit in my church parking lot today, I am trying to dry up the tears.
For me, this is the week. The week my life changed forever. I don’t celebrate this anniversary but I am always reminded. I am attaching an old blog post for those of you who don’t know about the pain I am speaking of.
But I rejoice. I rejoice because right now I hurt. It feels as though my God is silent. But He is not.
My King came in the form of a manger. He went to a cross one where Mary watched her son die. So I am going out on a limb, but I say that before we can know great joy, we must know great pain.
The greater the pain, the greater the joy. The gratitude. The awe and wonder of how a Savior came for me.
And one day… oh yes, one day, He is coming back.
He is coming back for those who are His. That’s me.
If I am still here when He returns, he will look at the masses and say, “Let’s go!” But He will look at me and say, “Let’s go-ready to see your dad again??”
Now I am squalling. Thanks God for this image this morning. Tears are good.
So is waterproof mascara.:)

A Teacher’s December Playlist

At a time when we teachers are totally serious about everything, wait no. We are half crazy with Energizer bunny like students, that we know leave parents each morning who are saying, “Ha, ha, there you are. Do something with this why don’t you” as they drop them off at school.While in carpool lines, we are certain we are seeing parents push them out the car door, and throw their backpacks out as they race out of the parking lot. We can almost hear them crying for joy to not have to spend five more minutes with them, as we prepare to spend seven, yes, seven hours with their little bundle of joy. As they walk past me, entering school, there are days when I am thinking, “And someone was glad when you started talking.”
If you happen not to be a teacher, you might say, “Is it really that bad?”
Yes. I do like my job, and there is some sarcasm there, but I will let you figure out where the sarcasm ends and truth begins.

It’s Christmas-Time to Celebrate or Is It?

It’s December-can you believe it? This morning I have begun Christmas decorating. I turned on the Christmas music because it’s time to celebrate, but with the first song, I found myself crying. Not crying, squalling, big, ugly cry.”Why was I crying?”, you might ask. December 12, 2003, fifteen years ago this year, my mom and dad went to a Sunday School Christmas party. While there, my dad had a massive stroke. That year was a blur with days in the ICU followed by more days in transitional care only to be sent home that Spring with a whole new normal. My mom cared for my dad in their home for the next nearly twelve years until he passed away. Understand now why for years Christmas just literally turned my stomach?
Friends, God did so many miracles during that time.  The biggest one was to bring back the joy of Christmas for me.  Believe me, it is still difficult, but I choose joy.  Period.  Joy. Going to explode joy.  Unexplainable, only God can do that joyEvery Christmas I find myself at one point or another getting alone while I just lose it completely. It comes out of nowhere, but the dark sadness hits. It hit this morning as I started up the celebration.

Manic Monday:The Giant of Rejection from Goliath Must Fall by L. Giglio

We have all felt rejection on some level at some point in life.  Do you live with it always in the back of your mind?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverancethe race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.   Hebrews 12:1-2

“Stop Blocking Your Miracle” by Dr. Tony Evans

“You will not see God do miracles until you believe He can.“

“You will not see it in the physical until you believe it in the spiritual.”

“You and I are blocking God’s miracle when human logic, if it’s correct, trumps what God said.“ Dr. Tony Evans

Manic Monday: The Giant of Fear Must Fall (from Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio)

I am a terrified flyer.  What’s your worst fear?  Yours is probably much deeper, but all fears must fall.  As Christ followers, we cannot allow our fears to cripple us.  What kind of follower of the One Who overcame everything would we be?
This is Manic Monday.  My cat loves to steal the show, but since it is Halloween, she’s the wrong color to steal much of the show.

Reaping What You Sow: 10 Words of Advice to Parents

If you’re reading this blog and saying “Amen sister! Preach it!”, then your responsibility is equal to those of parents of children and teens. Our responsibility is to help. Our responsibility is to lovingly teach, assist, do whatever it takes to help a struggling parent around us who needs support. Many moms or dads are single parents and in this alone, and they need our loving support, not our judgment and condemnation.

How to Lose Your Mind as an Educator

I am an expert at this. As I sit here on Sunday afternoon, you know what I am feeling: impending dread, a tidal wave about to crash. I am looking at lesson plans that are congruent and Common Core Aligned(buzz words that get on my nerves), Rachel McBroom)If you are an educator, you are also. Since there is release and freedom in sharing our burdens, let’s release this one.

Top Ten Words of Advice for My Teacher Friends, or It’s August and You Are Tired Already, Aren’t You?

I am a good teacher. No, I am an excellent teacher. God has equipped me and called me to teach these children. They may be a well disciplined class or not, but God has me right where He wants me and I have a job to do. I can change a child’s life forever by educating and loving him/her.

Great Link on Rights of a Christian Teacher in the Classroom

Not long ago, as I prepped for the Fueled Retreat where I will lead two sessions on being a Christian teacher in a public school, I came across this great article and wanted to share.  DO not be discouraged:  pray constantly about our role as a teacher, for our fellow teachers, admin and for our students.  We cannot and are not supposed to know how far our influence goes and in what ways God will answer those prayers.

Week One Augustamania-I Survived. Did you?

Week one: the Keurig in my classroom bit the dust, I found 4 rose plants that I had bought last Saturday and remembered them a week later, I lost 2 lbs.

Ode to the Cake

Go, teachers.  It’s only bad because that good teacher is back, school is now in, and we are going to change lives every moment of every day.  If you are a Christian, then the enemy is mumbling, “My goodness, is it time to start school again? Time to get busy.  I got some destruction to cause.”  

Holy Toledo-First Year Teachers, Get Ready!

Those first PD days will make you wonder “What in the world did I get myself into?” We are taught to give students little bits of info at a time not to overwhelm them, and then great intentioned professionals from that central office come and do the opposite to us. We all feel that pain.  Walk away and daily list your priorities.  Some of that stuff does not matter-shhhhhh….

“What Happens When We Die?” Dr. Tony Evans

“If you are a believer, the only Hell you will ever experience is the hell (let’s say, for example,  a sugar free diet) you get in this life.” If you are not a believer, the only heaven you are going to experience is the heaven you get in this life (such as a Cadberry milk chocolate bar).” *Parentheses part added by me.

The Perfect Man

So for those of you who are like me and want to go to the last page to see how…

Youth Camp or Not? That’s the question (Sharing a blog from ByFaithShe)

So, should I send my elementary, middle or high school child to camp?  What if we don’t attend church regularly?  Is it still ok?  What if we can’t pay for it?  Is my child ready to get away for a week?  What happens if he/she gets homesick?  Will he/she be safe?  Are they really paying attention to my child at a beach?

These are the questions that can make any parent lay awake at night while his child is off, possibly 7-8 hours away, at some camp that they wanted to go to because ALL their friends were going.  Is this a good idea?  

Top Ten Words of Advice for My Teacher Friends or You Are Tired Already, Aren’t You?

I am a good teacher. No, I am an excellent teacher. God has equipped me and called me to teach these children. They may be a well disciplined class or not, but God has me right where He wants me and I have a job to do. I can change a child’s life forever by educating and loving him/her.

Reaping What You Sow: 10 Words of Advice to Parents

If you’re reading this blog and saying “Amen sister! Preach it!”, then your responsibility is equal to those of parents of children and teens. Our responsibility is to help. Our responsibility is to lovingly teach, assist, do whatever it takes to help a struggling parent around us who needs support. Many moms or dads are single parents and in this alone, and they need our loving support, not our judgment and condemnation.

The Sounds of Freedom

When our children were young, every summer my family would make its annual pilgrimage to the beach. Over the years we have watched our daughters and their cousins grow up with interests changing from sandcastle building to skim boarding. I love to awaken early and walk along the cool, white sandy beach, spending time with God. When our girls woke up, they would hit the beach, not wanting to miss one precious moment of fun. I loved to lie back in my chair listening to their laughter and screams as an occasional wave overtook them. At the end of the day, nothing that swam was safe as we hit out favorite seafood restaurants. These memories we will all cherish forever.
In the summer of 2008, I had the great privilege of visiting another beach as well.  Traveling with an amazing group of high school students from West Tennessee and Arkansas, we visited Omaha beach in Normandy, France. No sounds of laughter could be heard there.