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Ideas and strategies to have a good school year...
Old 08-01-2014, 04:53 AM
 
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I had a rough year last year. I have decided that it will be better this year because everything I have read talks about mindset. How do you control your thinking?


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Old 08-01-2014, 05:43 AM
 
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A couple of years ago I made a conscious effort to trust that my principal and fellow teachers all have the same goal I have for kids.
I stopped getting mad when the principal made decisions I did not agree with, instead I tell myself that he has information I don't have that may have influenced the outcome and I trust that he has the best interest of the students at heart.
I don't judge other teachers teaching. I acknowledge that everyone has their own style and own life experiences that they bring with them. They may have things going on in their life that I am unaware of that is effecting they way they interact with those around them. I give others the benefit of the doubt.
This shift in thinking has brought me a lot of peace. I don't spend time talking trash about anyone and instead try to lift others up. I find I have a lot more time to work on myself, my classroom and my own teaching.
I have no idea if this is what you are looking for but I wish you a great year, full of fun and learning!
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This sounds good to me.......
Old 08-01-2014, 06:25 AM
 
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I need to do this. I was in a situation last year with two strong personalities. I understand your ideas. It gives me the permission to just be me and do what is best. Very wise.
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:39 AM
 
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One thing I have done is to get to know my P very well, through general observation, informal conversation, and really listening. Over the years I have learned they are often under as much stress as we are. That said, I have never had a truly bad P.

I also stopped hiding in my room. Sometimes I would eat lunch there, then go hang out in staff room, or vice versa.

And lastly, I am comfortable speaking my mind, usually filtering it. (But not 100%!) There are days I just shut up, listen to everyone, and go on my merry way.
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Looping mindset
Old 08-01-2014, 07:17 AM
 
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I teach the highest grade at my school so looping isn't possible. However, I still go in with the pretending set that I will loop with these kids. It helps me find the best in every kid, develop stronger more positive relationships with both students and parents, and enjoy everything more...after all with this mindset, I'm teaching these kids for two years so I might as well enjoy it! Haha maybe that's weird since it's not even possible, but seriously it works!

I'm also one to get upset about administrators decisions. However, this year, through much committee work and leadership roles, I have gotten to know administrators better and this relationship has really helped me see them as people. It's also helped me ask for more information when something comes up. I do it respectfully and more from a get to know you standpoint not a defensive/argumentative standpoint. They even appreciate it and have told me such. It's really helped me and my stress level!

Lastly, this year I want to set a goal for myself to do more for myself outside of school...taking a craft course at Joanne's fabric, going to movie on a school night, reading more for enjoyment, small weekend getaways, funding a television show to follow, etc.


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Stay Out of It
Old 08-01-2014, 08:45 AM
 
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My recent keys to happiness are to just stop trying to fix other peoples' messes. For example, we get all these bizarre and conflicting emails anytime there is a change of schedule. I tell the kids that we will go when they call us which is never the time on the email. No big deal. I do print out the emails and then just go down with my class. There have been times where people all out of sorts but I just go with the flow. Seriously, how hard is it to figure out when each grade gets called? Every assembly is confusing but I don't let it get to me.

Secondly, I don't email admin. unless I have to. They really don't have the time or care to get involved or care. I used to contact guidance or at least keep them (now just him!) in the loop. Everyone is so swamped that I often get no response. I used to email a lot and communicate with my team about students. Now, we have no time to meet or common plan time. I will still call or email if it is serious but I just pulled back a lot. I was less stressed because I wasn't "waiting" for a response. I just dealt with it.

Thirdly, I relaxed a bit in class. After the first few years of being observed constantly and having walk-throughs all the time, I realized that no one visited anymore. I became more likely to cut an unsuccessful activity, busy work, "time filling" things like exit slips that I never had time to "assess"...So if we had a few minutes left at the end of class, we'll listen to a song, watch a book or movie trailer, or just talk. For the first six or seven years of teaching, I lived in fear of not teaching or engaging bell to bell. Ironically, one day I had a meeting right after my first period. We had worked hard all class and I said, "I have to go to a meeting so I need to leave first. You can sit by a friend until the bell." I thought I had a minute left but the clock was wrong and it ended up being five minutes. I had the lights off, had my cart by the door and was ready to roll out. The kids were fine just sitting and talking. Guess who walks by? Yep, the P. She glanced in the room with a rather sour expression and I was like unbelievable timing. She didn't say a word. I felt stupid but the world didn't end.

I feel better just feeling that everything doesn't have to be perfect. I can't control other people or also do their jobs. I no longer say yes to everything. I am a helpful person so I still end up getting sucked into stuff. Yet, I know I can now say "no."
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:47 PM
 
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Thank you Mshope! That's one of my biggest problems. I let all of the scheduling and incorrect info get to me. I'm going to do what you do..just go with the flow and move on.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:12 PM
 
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I'm going to work on balancing my personal life more w work. I worked 10 hr days at school last yr and even came in on weekends. It was my 10th yr but felt like my first at this new school.... I hope to get parents to help me more w correcting/grading since that's what's so time consuming for me.....
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Thoughts...
Old 08-01-2014, 03:26 PM
 
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One thing I have found helpful is that having my room ready for the next day really makes coming in each morning so much easier. I make sure my desk is organized, date is on the board, materials are run and ready for teaching, anything that needs to go home the next day is in mailboxes, materials that might have been used that day are put away, and plans are completed.

I also get to school plenty early. I would rather work ninety minutes at the beginning of the day when I am fresh than ninety at the end of the day when I am exhausted. I keep my door closed, and only turn on the lights I need. Early means very few people are there to interrupt me.

I keep up with correcting that I need to do, but I do not correct everything. If I have correcting to do, I make sure it is done within two days, and put in mailboxes to go home soon after that. I look for ways to have kids correct unimportant things as we do them so they have immediate feedback. I cruise the room to see what I might need to reteach, or what small groups I might need to pull before kids move these items to their mailboxes. It helps to not collect what kids corrected...just another pile on my desk that I do not need.

I think the previous comments about not getting involved in "bitch sessions" is a good one. If it does not affect you or if there is no way you can change what has been decided, move on. Take a walk after work to unload it rather than joining in on the grumpy discussions. Just let it go...

I hope you have a great year!

Last edited by ConnieWI; 08-02-2014 at 03:23 AM..
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thoughts
Old 08-01-2014, 08:07 PM
 
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One think that helps me control my thoughts is to remember that most of what happens at school isn't about me. When students aren't behaving correctly, it's much more about them than me. When administrators can't get their various acts together, it's not about me. When the fire alarm malfunctions and disrupts instructional time 3 times in one class, it's not about me.

I was blessed to hear the Dalai Lama speak a few years ago. He described how the ocean might be having storms and huge waves on the surface, but in it's deepest depths there is only calm, soothing motion. He encouraged us to be part of the calm depths instead of the surface storm. I try to keep this in mind at school; the storm isn't about me.


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Sure, teachsp2008!
Old 08-02-2014, 06:17 AM
 
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It is not easy to "let go"...I was always trying to fix all the messes and confusion. However, once I quit, I felt so relaxed. There are times I even type out the email to the P or a team member and then don't send it!

One of my grade level partners was like, "Wow, you are really calm this year. What happened?" I said, "Oh, I took your advice and stop caring!" He just laughed because he told me that was my "problem." That I always cared too much. He was right. Of course I still care about students but I don't spend all my time on the one or two of the most troubled students anymore.

I think just recognizing the issue is going to help you a great deal. Calm feels great!
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Great question
Old 08-03-2014, 07:04 AM
 
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This is a great topic!

For me, I have had to learn to be myself. I am never going to be that super strict teacher who cracks down on the "problem" kids. When I felt judged by other teachers because I was "soft" on kids, and i try to get more strict, the behavior of the whole class gets worse and my stress level us through the roof. Other teachers mean well with their advice to not cut students any slack, but it is not me and the kids see through it. I am a get-more-flies-with-honey kind of teacher. Other teachers believe in no smiling til Christmas, but I am only happy and calm if I'm grinning on Day One.
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Helped me
Old 08-03-2014, 08:33 PM
 
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One thing that really helped me keep a calm attitude was to eat lunch in my room at least once a week. I'd turn out the lights, play some relaxing music and just breathe. My teammates are great but the quiet time to regroup is nice too.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:07 AM
 
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Could not agree more with Annie - be yourself. I don't believe everyone I work with has the best interest of the students at heart in many of their decisions but that doesn't change how I am to behave toward my kids.

I decide to love them before I meet them and it makes things so much more pleasurable and effective.
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