Begin with Bravery, Meaningful Work and Self Care

This weekend teachers and students are anxious. The new school year for many begins Monday. Floating in teachers’ minds: What will the class be like? Will my colleagues, new parents,  and the administration be supportive?  Endless to-do lists float in mid air behind your eyelids as you try to fall asleep. The work is never ending, and the school year hangs in the air like a floating question mark.

Stop the barrage of thoughts. You are ready, and you know what to do. Please read this poem for teachers, and know:

The time for sacred work is here.
It matters. You matter.
We lift each other up.
Walk on, tribe.
Go, live love.
The world needs you.

We at the Tarrant Institute for Innovation  Education see the incredible work you do, and we want to celebrate it.  We’ve launched a campaign called #everydaycourage to showcase the ways you and your colleagues show up for students, each other, and our communities. We hope that you will share your photos, tweets, comments and ideas about your colleagues showing everyday courage (use the hashtag #everydaycourage so we can see them!). Here are a few moments of #everydaycourage I have been inspired by in recent days.

Have a new team launching? That takes #everdaycourage to show up and be your truest self and to connect with others. Check out this new post about how to launch new teacher teams (always bring snacks).

We have also started chatting on Twitter about starting the school year with meaningful, relevant student work that connects deeply to students and communities, inspired by the release of a new edition of my book, Real and Relevant: a guide for service and project-based learning. The slow chat is focused on the powerful pedagogies of service and project-based learning, and how these can empower students to make deep personal connections to their work and communities, while growing empathy and self-efficacy.  Please join us to share ideas, questions, resources and thoughts about how to make learning #realandrelevant for students!

Lastly, a word about teacher self care. You are about to go back into the arena, as Brene Brown calls it. (If you haven’t heard Brene Brown’s take on putting your creative work and self in the arena, take a minute to watch this clip, or the full version. I’ll wait.)

You are about to dive into connecting to each one of your students, and to discover ways to help them learn and be better humans. You will be getting back into game shape after summer. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Try to get enough sleep. Try to leave some work at school. Try to check on the new teacher down the hall. This is hard, hard work.

In one district in Baltimore, according to this article in Edweek, the staff focuses on self-care at monthly meetings (although teachers should do self-care daily!). They did yoga, mediation, and read-aloud a book called 12 choices to be a more balanced teacher. The ways to do this, from The Happy Teacher Revolution include:

  •  I choose to make time for sleep.
  • I choose the battles worth fighting.
  • I choose to disconnect and detach with love.
  • I choose to get outside and get moving.
  • I choose to schedule and prioritize what really matters.

Whatever you do to get enough rest and recharge, try to it in during this back to school month. You have 9 months ahead of you and this beginning of the year is all-consuming. Pace yourself.

Please let me know if you have thoughts, ideas, questions about #everydaycourage, making learning #RealandRelevant, or about teacher self-care. Please join us over on Twitter to share ideas and resources.

Wishing you a year full of learning, laughter, growth, transformation, and support.


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