As teachers, we are in the service of giving—we give from our hearts, from a place deep inside that is generous and loving and giving. We are an anchor for our students, our colleagues and our supervisors. Through this crisis, we have had to show up for our students, parents, and colleagues—not really giving ourselves the time we need to manage the new normal.
According to the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition, there are 5 stages to the adult learning journey. Novice stage, Advance Beginner, Competent, Proficient and then Expert. It usually takes a few months to get from being a novice to an expert. Novices posses little or no ability to put ideas into practice in a reliable way. They apply their learning by following a set of rules without regard for context. Advanced Beginners start to understand the scope of the subject area and acknowledge their lack of knowledge about the discipline. Adults have reached the competent stage when new skills and capabilities are being internalized with the ability to go beyond rule-bound procedures in a highly structured setting. The proficient stage of learning is when tools and concepts have been internalized and can be applied to a variety of situations without great effort. Finally the expert stage is when things are going normally, all work is routine, doing what works. Reaching this stage involves a close relationship with another expert where additional learning is gained through continued exposure, observation, conversation and other interaction.
Most teachers have moved from the novice stage of learning how to teach online to almost reaching the expert stage of learning in a matter of days—in order to support students while they are isolated at home. While schools have provided teachers expert support, the bulk of the learning has had to fall on teachers so they can continue to show up for their students as though nothing has changed. In essence, everything has changed. Teachers are exhausted and tired—and while the move into the expert stages of learning provides relief, teachers haven’t really had a break.
Self-care is important each and every day—in order to fill us up and during this crisis, self-care is even more crucial. In our profession, it’s easy to push us aside, to focus on the giving. When we give to ourselves, we think we are being selfish or uncaring. Believe me when I say that self-care actually goes hand in hand with giving. That without self-care, we can’t give authentically or realistically.
Imagine two buckets. One is empty--nothing inside. The other is full of shiny, colorful marbles. Imagine the feelings in the empty bucket and the feelings in the full bucket. One is empty and scarce. The other is full and abundant. Imagine functioning from a place of emptiness versus functioning from a place of abundance—the difference is palpable.
The situation is be the same—but functioning from an empty bucket versus functioning from a full bucket brings a completely different energy to the situation. When our hearts our full, we give wholeheartedly, with excitement and abandon,
authenticity and lightness. When our hearts feel empty, we can give but it the energy is resentful, angry, exhausted, and heavy.
When we take care of our insides, we create expansiveness inside and our giving feels easier and lighter. We need to continuously fill our buckets with shiny, colorful marbles. Can you make sure to take care of yourself? Self-care doesn’t have to take up a lot of time—but it does mean taking some time to honor you.
Here are a few self-care ideas for our beautiful teachers:
- Listen to your favorite music for 10-15 minutes
- Dance in your room to your favorite song
- Meditate for 5, 10, 15 minutes using a guided app or simple silence
- Write 3-5 gratitude ideas every day in a journal and then adding one or two sentences on what you appreciate about yourself.
- Journaling and expressing our authentic feelings in our journals.
- Reading a fun, light book
- Reading a spiritual book
- Taking a walk or biking outside alone or with a friend/partner
- Doing a yoga class online or going to a yoga class
- Creating—collage, vision board, arts and crafts, knitting
- Playing with pets, children, friends
- Exercising—running, biking, walking, etc
If you have other ideas to add to our list, please let us know. Remember, you matter!
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