Sunday, October 11, 2015

How to Feel Less Stressed or Frustrated, With One Sentence

By taking a moment to slowly repeat a phrase or sentence (often called a mantra) -- even just a few times -- you can calm yourself and be mentally sharper. You can do this even during class when all the kids are at work or reading.

Like any profession ours can get stressful or frustrating. So when -- not if --
you're feeling stressed, take a moment and slow your breathing. Then, with each breath, say the following in your head:

"I am helping people grow."

If you like, you might try saying internally "I am" (a potent thought in itself) on the in-breath and "helping people grow" on the out-breath. Do this three to four times slowly, then return to the task at hand.

Simply doing any mini-meditation is helpful in and of itself. It can interrupt your body from a cycle of tension and incomplete breathing if you've fallen into one. Plus, the truth and positive message of this particular mantra can help you remember the value of your work, a factor that raises happiness long-term.  Some years I've even posted this as a sign near my desk to remind me that I'm not just putting in time or earning my daily bread.

Because, it's true. You are helping people grow. Say it one more time in your head, before we part:

"I am helping people grow."

Peace and well-being to you, colleague.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

These two Labor Day thoughts can help you enjoy the holiday.

Happy Labor Day!

Here in Michigan it's the Day Before School. For many of you, it's an already-welcome mini-break.

Let's remember a couple of things together.

1. We stand on the shoulders of giants. Both "teacher" and "principal" used to be significantly less well-compensated than they are now. There was a time in the '70s and '80s when our predecessors braved retribution to take action and increase the status of our profession. Much of what we enjoy, they fought for on the picket line and at the negotiating table.

2. A lot of people work for a company they wouldn't care a bit about, were it not their employer. We, on the other hand, have the great privilege of being engaged in a high calling: increasing knowledge and ability, combating ignorance and mean-ness, and helping to create contributing, collaborative citizens.

Enjoy the day and remember your mission is hard but important -- quite a gift considering the alternative, isn't it?

Monday, August 31, 2015

This one sentence from Dr. Wayne Dyer can help you interact more positively with every single person.

Dr. Wayne Dyer -- whose words on thought, spirituality, and positive intent towards others blessed so many -- passed away yesterday.

I want to repost a sentence he wrote that changed my life, and can change yours, if we will remember to do what he recommends.

This one sentence of his really helps my whole outlook and all interactions with people, from strangers, students, and parents,  to colleagues and family. It helps me keep love at the center of what I'm about as an instructor and encourager. I hope it helps you, too. Here it is . . .

"See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A slightly scary (but very inspiring!) back-to-school message for you . . .

I know some of you in other states have been back to school for a while. Others like us here in Michigan won't be back at it until September.

Whatever the case: Happy New Year!

Here is the annual re-posting of one of my favorites. A few years ago Matt Reeves, then my assistant principal, read this to the staff on the day before school. So now I 'm passing it on as a back-to-school thought that is both cautionary and inspiring:

"I have come to a frightening conclusion.

I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child's life 

miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis
will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized."

~ Haim Ginott 

from Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers, 1972

Saturday, April 11, 2015

This one thought (from the often cynical Kurt Vonnegut) can actually make you a lot happier.

photo by Steven Daniel, w/ permission
But for integrity's sake, I'm not going to post his words here, since I found them at the great Brain Pickings, written and compiled by Maria Popova. There you'll hear Kurt relay what fellow sardonic novelist Joseph Heller told him when confronted with the wealth of a super-rich person. He's got me reviewing my situation this morning. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

12 Ways to Fight that Burned-Out-Teacher Feeling

photo © 2015  Elizabeth Lynch
Feeling like ol' Rosie there on the left? Vicki Davis has posted 12 good ideas HERE to help avoid burnout as we enter the homestretch.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This one sentence from the Sultan of Swat could change your life, no lie.

True, he had 1330 strikeouts. But: 714 home runs! Plus, the ol' Sultan of Swat changed the game of baseball and American culture along the way.

His words of wisdom?

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."

Is there something in your life you're thinking of trying? Remember it's the things we don't try that we usually regret the most later: the "what-ifs" and "if-onlies." Even if you try and whiff (that's "fail" for you non-baseball-lovin' colleagues out there) . . .  you've still learned something: what doesn't work.

So: what is that thing you'd like to try, but are worried about?

Step into the batter's box, O colleague. Not to try insures failure, doesn't it? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Best wishes on it.