The Balanced Teacher: Purple Cows

What are Purple Cows and why do you need them in your lesson plans?  Take a look as I share a few highlights from chapter 12 of Justin Ashley's book The Balanced Teacher Path.

Happy teaching!  :)

The Balanced Teacher: Thank You Notes

This is a simple, but powerful, idea for helping you achieve happiness at work... and it comes from Chapter 10 in Justin Ashley's book, The Balanced Teacher Path.  

It's about writing thank-you cards.

But it was born out of frustration.  

(Like so many of our good ideas, right?)

And it kind of goes like this:  In a nutshell, Justin found himself becoming increasingly challenged by a disruptive student... a student who blurted out constantly... a student who was continuously a distraction during lessons.  One day, after a completely interrupted lesson, and while deciding how to redirect this student, Justin walked to the back of the classroom, thinking he'd surely come up with a new (or old) way to deal with this student.  But as he stopped to think, he noticed every (every) student was working productively on the assignment.  

(Well, every child but the one.)

He realized he was spending a lot of time thinking about one problem and maybe missing the bigger picture... the majority of the class was doing the right thing.  

He writes in this chapter, "The biggest problem with calling out a student isn't the distraction they cause for other students.  It's the distraction they create in you.  Deal with them quickly and turn your attention back to where it belongs: on the good stuff."

So, he invited his little chatterbox to work outside the room and then had the idea of writing thank you notes to the other students.  The response was powerful and not only did it impact the students and their families positively, it also shifted Justin's focus to the good things happening around him.

Note:  He was only able to write a few notes during that time, but it became a teacher-habit of his.  His tip?  Keep track of who you're giving cards to and how often.  Without giving false praise, be fair and make sure everyone gets acknowledged with a note at some point.  

I think that's part of achieving balance in this profession.  We have to be intentional about remembering why we became teachers because knowing that is the key to staying motivated and feeling purposeful.  Without those feelings, we can easily feel under-appreciated and become burned-out.

He ends the chapter by reminding us, "In life and in class, don't let the bad outshine the good."

How do you maintain an attitude of gratitude?  What strategies do you find helpful for focusing on the positives? 

The Balanced Teacher: Part 3

Teachers... It's time to take your weekend back!  

(Unless you're one of the lucky ones who never gave it away. And, if so, tell us your secrets!)

In this video, I share the author's ideas for being intentional with your weekends, so you can rest and re-energize for the week ahead of you.  It's also about striking a balance between your professional life and your personal life, making time for yourself and your family and friends.  

Check it out and comment below:

1.  What do YOU do during the weekends?

2.  Do you PLAN your weekends or freestyle?

3.  What are some of your favorite family field trips?

I think it's so important to protect your weekends as much as is reasonable.  Let's get a conversation going and help each other out... share your experience and your best tips in the comments.

Happy teaching!

The Balanced Teacher: Part 2

The Balanced Teacher Path by Justin Ashley

I really liked this chapter (I hope you will, too) because it's about BTFs... or Best Teacher Friends!  Having a really good BTF can help you create balance in your professional life.  And who doesn't need a little more balance?    

• Do you have a BTF at work?  

• What makes this person your BTF?

• How does that relationship positively impact your teaching life?

If you'd like to share your thoughts, leave a comment below for others to read.  Who knows... you might even find a BTF here! 

Happy teaching!

Fun Fall Pinterest Boards!

I'll be the first to raise my hand and say, "Yes, I miss the sunny days of summer."  But there is something fun and new about those first fall breezes.  Autumn sort of marks the beginning of all my favorite holidays... they're right around the corner! 

I have 5 GREAT Pinterest boards that are loaded with ideas, lessons, games, videos, and more for some of the big "themes" or holidays coming up soon.  You can click on each board to go directly to it or follow my whole Pinterest page HERE.

Happy teaching!

The Balanced Teacher: Part 1

The Balanced Teacher Path by Justin Ashley

Hi Everyone!  Thanks for joining me!  So this first chapter kind of hits home because it's about our habit of constantly saying "Yes" and our tendency to become overcommitted, especially at work... leaving very little time for the other people and priorities in our lives.

Guilty?  Yeah, me too.

Take a few minutes to watch the video.  It's a quick recap of chapter 1, Be Wonder Woman, Not Superman.  (I encourage you to buy the book so you can delve more deeply into the topics. Plus, that way, you can add stickies to important parts you don't want to forget and you can write all over it... because it's yours.)

I can't imagine not writing in my book.

When you're finished watching the video and reading the chapter, think about these questions.  Let's get a conversation going that might not only help ourselves, but others too.  Feel free to write anything you're thinking about regarding this topic.

Or, if you're studying this book with a friend, or in a small group, talk to someone about your thoughts. 

• How do YOU tell the difference between what's good and what's great?

• Have you said "No" to someone?  How did it go?

• If you're already having some success here, what are some of your strategies that keep you from becoming overcommitted?

• What is one GOOD thing you could give up right now to make more time for something GREAT?

• Who are the people in your inner circle worth fighting for?

"Don't overcommit.  Don't get chained up trying to be everything to everyone.  Save yourself so that you can continue fighting for yourself and your inner circle."  -Justin Ashley, Author

Happy teaching!  

The Balanced Teacher: Introduction

Hi Everyone!  I just ran across a new book (©2017) called The Balanced Teacher:  How to Teach, Live, and Be Happy by North Carolina teacher Justin Ashley. 

To be honest, I bought it with my daughter (future-teacher) in mind, but as I started looking through it, I was reminded of myself (and so many of my teacher-friends) who really struggle to balance their professional and personal lives.  We are trying to be Superman and it's costing us.  

So I thought I'd do a short video series highlighting a few of my favorite parts of Justin's book... parts that resonated with me and I'm thinking will with you, too.  But I recommend considering this book for professional development or for smaller teacher book clubs.  Each chapter is brief, but to-the-point and will lead to great conversations among a group of people who are truly interested in achieving balance in their lives. 

Take a look at the Contents.  He addresses many issues we all face, categorizing them into 4 kinds of happiness:

•  Social Happiness
•  Career Happiness
•  Physical and Emotional Happiness
•  Financial Happiness

If you'd like to join me, watch for new videos to come out each week.  The videos will be short, but they'll give you an opportunity to: 

(1) reflect on your own schedule, practices, and priorities.

(2) talk to colleagues about strategies for achieving balance at school and at home.

(3) consider starting a professional book club where you and other faculty members can dig deeper into the content of this book.

So much good information to think about.

The videos can be viewed here on My Blog or over here on My Facebook Page.  By following both, you won't miss one.

Oh, you should probably know... I'm not an expert video-maker. And I don't live alone.  So sometimes you might hear the doorbell, the dishwasher, and the dog.  If that won't bother you, then we're good to go!  :)

See you soon!

And happy teaching!

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