Starting Anew, Finding Some Headspace
The beginning of a new semester offers so many promises. I have always loved that first day back, the professional development day where smart administrators have set aside loads of planning time. I usually spend the first chunk of that in organization mode. I create calendar events in Google Calendar for every single class and I start planning out the semester's narrative:
- Where does the class start?
- Where does it end?
- What are the milestones along the way?
Using Google Calendar in this way helps me understand what's coming up each week, but it also helps me to think about the narrative arc of my classes. (Hm. I'm thinking I might need to post more fully on this later down the road...)
But not all of us are ready to go back. While many of us are coming off of winter breaks where we had the opportunity to rest and recharge, this is not the case for all of our colleagues. Some have had enormous personal challenges; others have spent much of their vacation in worry mode as they contemplate (with some kind of dread or doom) the reopening of school in January. (See "How I Hold It Together" below for some ideas there, friends.)
Even if you fall into the camp that's had a relaxing break, we all need to be aware of what we are stepping back into. Simply because the calendar has turned to a new year does not mean that the situation in our schools have changed. The news this past month was filled with stories about teacher shortages and teacher anxieties. Here's a couple of examples:
In these pieces, you can see that the debate about teacher mental health is still very real and very present. While it is no panacea, I'm a big fan of meditation as an important part of my mental hygiene routine. I know you can Google around and find a billion articles about the benefits of meditation, but, for some people, the science of it isn't the blocker: it's the hurdle of learning how to do it.
Thankfully, the good folks over at Headspace offer free access to teachers through their Headspace for Educators program. I signed up for it earlier this year and have clocked over 100 hours of meditation time in the app. If you are just diving into meditation practice, the Basics courses are very useful, easy-to-learn, and quick: 10–15 minutes each day is all you need. Alternatively, you can choose from any number of courses and Andy and the gang will walk you right through it.
You might also try Mandy Froehlich's free course: "Self-Care for Educators":
(If you know of any other great teacher freebies out there? Please feel free to reach out to me via Twitter.)
This Month on ROOTED
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