How to Lose Your Mind as an Educator

This is a previous post, but it still stands true-hang in there, teacher friend.  August is almost over, and I promise in September you can breathe again.

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.

So here goes:  How to lose your mind as an educator.
1. Try to incorporate more than one idea at a time in your classroom. Every PD (Why can’t we just say the words?) has the latest, greatest strategy. Some of them are great, but we have enough to do already without adding more. When you have time, add one idea that doesn’t require hours of prep, but seems to engage learning.
2. Try to score exemplary on your evaluations. This is a great goal to work towards, but I have been told by more than one administrator that I must be marked lower on one category so that growth can be shown. There must be a PGP,(I will just let you wonder what that stands for) and this cannot be done if all is perfect. Imagine us telling our students a grading scale that included an “A”, but we told them that no one actually gets an “A”. Point: strive for your best, never thinking that you are doing it all right. After 24 years, I wish I thought I had it right.
3. Never take a day off because of your dedication. Save all your sick days so that at the end of your career, you can receive a portion of what they are actually worth. I am feeling a cough come on even as I type this:) Take some days off so that you will still be alive to see retirement.
4. Take all student remarks personally. Kids (and adults) only mean about half of what they say, so listen with a “how can I improve if this is a credible source” ear. When you realize the source is someone who is not an adult (or even some adults), don’t waste your mind time.
5. Try to teach all the standards. Listen to this veteran! The same things that matter today are the same things that mattered 50 years ago. Students need to be able to read very well, write clearly and do basic math. There was a year that I had to teach popular foreign phrases because it was a standard, and I really couldn’t figure out how the boys in my farming community where I taught at the time needed to know joie de vivre. Seriously? Oh well-c’set la vie!

Here are some web sites that I currently use that are awesome and worth trying:
Kahoot
Gradecam
If you have google, google classroom and so many other things google will do-do some research there
Quizlet for students’ personal review
Vocabulary.com

Now remember, friend. You were called to teach precious children, not standards. No great song and dance in the classroom can ever replace your smiling face, showing them a loving adult each day.
When you feel that you will lose your mind, first, eat more chocolate, and second, relax. It is ok if you have days that you feel were not your best performance, or all you feel you did that day was hone your survival skills. Some days not committing murder is an accomplishment. (You know I am kidding, right?)

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13
Don’t forget to love.
Kathy McBroom

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