i love a good fresh beginning

And so it begins.

Tomorrow, my kids walk through the door.  I am excited and overwhelmed and thrilled and terrified, which feels like a fairly appropriate mix of emotions for the first day of school.

But honestly…this is the most prepared I’ve ever felt for a school year.  This is the most excited I’ve ever been about a school year.  This is the most hope I’ve ever felt walking into a building on day one.  And that’s beautiful.  I know that this year has so much to be learned inside its minutes, and I know that the choice to learn is mine.

I want to look back at the end of this year and see a different teacher, a different person than I see today.  Someone who’s better and stronger.  More aware and more effective.  And to that end, I have three major goals for myself this year.  I always start out the school year with goals for kids; but it’s harder to think of and stick to goals for yourself, especially when your job is so others-centered.

But what I’m learning is that my kids only grow if I do.  They won’t be challenged by a teacher who refuses to challenge herself.  And so here, I write my goals for myself for this year.

I want to become a better time manager.  Teaching is one of those crazy jobs that I’m pretty sure you could funnel every single second of your day and night into, and still be able to think of more things that would make you a better teacher.  But here’s the thing: I won’t do that.  I love teaching.  I love my job, and I love my kids.  But I have a man at home that I love more, a family of my own that I’m trying to create, dear friends that I am not willing to lose track of.  So how do I make the most of my time, so that I’m able to be an effective and committed teacher without sacrificing everything else in the process? That’s going to be a learning process, I know.  And I don’t have all the answers.  So for today, here’s my plan…

Action Step: Get into my classroom a half hour before I have to be there every morning.  Over a cup of tea, list the three most important things I can do that day outside of literally teaching.  Use my planning period for those three most important things.  

I want to take better care of myself.  Y’all, I am TERRIBLE at this one.  When I get busy, I get stressed out.  When I get stressed out, I eat crap food, whether I am hungry or not.  I don’t want to work out, because I feel like all my stress means I’ve earned the right to not work out.  I don’t want to go to bed on time, because I want to stay up doing fun things.  I don’t want to get up on time, because I didn’t want to go to bed on time.  So I start the day rushed and busy.  And when I get busy, I get stressed out.  And the cycle rolls on.  I feel like I could set a BILLION goals for how I want to take care of myself better, but if I set a billion, I’m not likely to actually accomplish even one.  So, for right now…

Action Step: I want to establish a bedtime routine, starting at nine pm.  One that ends with me actually being in bed with the lights off by ten.  I know myself well enough to know that if I’m lacking in sleep, every other area will suffer for it: my eating habits, my workouts, my stress level, my attitude, my relationships, my career.

I want to show love to the people in my life.  I’m an autopilot girl.  This is not really something I consider a strength.  I get so focused on tasks and taking care of what needs to be taken care of that I forget that I want everything I do to be motivated by the love I have for the people around me.  But tasks aren’t a great expression of love for most people.  And I want to be the kind of person that expresses love.

Action Step: Each weekend, I want to take the time to consciously show love to one or two of the people in my life in the way they experience love the most.  Writing a letter, doing a craft project, cleaning the kitchen, baking cookies…however the people I love experience love, I want to take the time to show them that way.

I have a great feeling about this year.  I’m looking forward to the day about ten months from now when I look back and see all the things that have made me laugh and made me cry and made me grow and made me see.

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