I truly love being a teacher more than I love being most things in life. Albeit the obvious that it is extraordinarily, incomparably fulfilling on a day to day basis – there are incredible perks. As if the internal reward isn’t enough, there are so many things I’ve found to be surprisingly glamorous as a teacher. Two words I never would have thought could live in the same neighborhood.
One of the less glamorous undertakings of being a teacher, however, lives in the week leading up the school: meetings. Now, don’t get me wrong, the momentum is palpable, we’re excited for the fresh start, and the nerd in me totally loves note-taking a little too much. However, it is arguably the most tedious, meticulous time of year – for everyone – making sure that everything is as perfect as can be for the big day.
This year’s meetings revolve around a new way of thinking for our school entirely; philosophical rationale, if you will. It is honestly more fascinating than I could ever explain, and more applicable than the Pope studying Catholicism. Or, at least somewhere in that ballpark. I could make a great case for being one of the most committed day-dreamers out here, and even I have remained fixated on the screen these past few days.
All that said, as always, I’ve managed to find time in between highlighting and stretch breaks to make some tabs in my thought journal. Yes, I have a thought journal and you should try it.
I love my co-workers. I love their strong hearts and unbelievable brains. I love how evident their love stays for our kids, our community. I love the time we take to prepare for them, to be our best selves, our best teachers. But as I looked around today, I couldn’t help but wonder why we don’t, wouldn’t even entertain the thought of putting this energy into how we treat ourselves – how we treat each other. And I don’t just mean in that room of educators. I mean all of us, everywhere.
There are so many things we are cautious with – subjects and people who push us into life-long learning simply because we are terrified of hurting, losing, or misguiding them. This is a beautiful thing – don’t get me wrong. This type of learned empathy should always have a home on our planet. But what about you? What about the way you’re treated, the way you treat yourself – the way we in turn learn to treat each-other?
I wish someone out there ran a workshop on how we should speak to ourselves – and maybe that already exists somewhere out in California, naturally – but I had the aggressive urge today to run around my school gym and make sure everyone knew how badass they are.
Here we are, learning, doing our best to be better at what we do because it’s what we believe in. But I am certain some of us are still going home thinking it’s not enough; we should be doing more. Giving more.
We are so hard on ourselves – we make ourselves heavy with obligation, responsibility, worry – the list puts Santa’s to shame. So I don’t think it’s virtuous or radical of me to suggest we be careful with how we talk to ourselves – how our conscious talks to our subconscious. Why can’t that be one of the things we hope not to misguide, lose touch with, or take appropriate care of? We deserve that type of adoration and attentiveness, too.
I think the teacher in me would remind you to point out strengths in yourself, to remember that a mistake is merely an opportunity for growth, and that taking time for reflection is sometimes all you need.
To me, the most important thing I could ever teach my kids is how to rely on themselves, and in turn, each-other. To love themselves the way they want others to love them. To be kind, inside and outside. I’m not offering a self-love workshop, and I couldn’t be less qualified to propose advice – but I do hope you know how extraordinary you are, today and every day.