Saturday, May 19, 2012

For the teachers out there....

I teach. Some of the high school students I teach give me (and everybody else) a good run for my money. This morning I was thinking about why so many teachers burn out. I, personally, am not burned out. ...not by any stretch of the imagination. I actually enjoy what I do, but I am, of course, looking forward to the end of the school year because who doesn't love vacation?

So back to the burn out. The thing about teaching is that, as far as students go, you get what you get. Some will be easier than others. Some students will consistently buck every one of your systems, directives, and desires. That overwhelmed condition known as burn out can easily be caused by a teacher's belief that he or she can (metaphorically) whip kids into shape. During the course of my career, I've seen teachers' veins bulge out of their necks and foreheads, cry in the restroom, and plead with administrators.

I'm here to say, you have to know what is possible and what is not. You should learn as much about classroom management as you possibly can because that is what will ultimately save your hide. You should get to know the students as well as you can (which is largely dependent on the size of your classes) in order to target your strategies appropriately. Of course you should know your subject areas so your lessons aren't so boring or disjointed that you deserve to be given a hard time. Those are basically the tools of the trade.

So, if you have your tools, and you use them wisely, know that you still won't get all the students to do exactly what you have in mind, and no amount of stress and strain will make it happen. Students are people too, and they have personalities and goals and sometimes what you're selling isn't exactly what they want on their plates. There are days that I actually laugh out loud at how incorrigible a particular student has proven to be. Sometimes it's a whole handful of incorrigibles who sort of band together as a sort of anti-class posse. Because that's just how life is, and that's how school is.

Soooo... recognize when you are doing your very best, then cut yourself enough slack that you can actually enjoy your work.

And for teachers who are mothers, you have to realize that most of your little darlings aren't always little darlings, so they sure don't miraculously change into them once they're in the classroom.

So know your trade, do your absolute best without working yourself into a stupor, keep a sense of humor, and move on......

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Problem-solving for real....

I'm at a conference that tackles issues related to teenage pregnancy. Since I work with a number of pregnant and parenting teens, I see the importance of this issue firsthand.

Dr. Michael Carrera and Dr. Joycelyn Elders are the speakers at the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of NC. The great thing about people like them-- accomplished individuals with a vision, is that they have a long history of figuring out how to deal with the problems that people find overwhelming. What I heard today in their really inspiring speeches, were testimonies and examples of how they made things work.

Dr. Elders has reached all kinds of milestones and still has the down-to-earth wit that kept the audience entertained. She is unabashedly honest about sexuality-- and how Americans stick their heads in the sand when it comes to the truth about sex. (
Dr. Carrera has implemented 50 adolescent pregnancy prevention programs in more than 20 states. We know all this crap about basketball wives and Atlanta Housewives (well, I don't personally), but we don't know about the amazing strategies that really do change people's lives. And while people are trying to reinvent wheels all over the country, there people who know how to do what so many keep revisiting-- with little success.

I'm inspired by their commitment. We have to be committed to the things we find important in our lives.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's Heart Time

Yesterday I woke up feeling like the bottom of an old shoe-- just worn all the way out. So I went to my naturopath and herbalist, Margie Mulholland (   
Timberlake Herb Store

(Isn't this place a gem in this age of overkill?)
She wasn't surprised to see me because "I'm on the path" and I'm "sensitive." She told me it's heart time. It's the time of the year when the atmosphere heats up, and our hearts will feel it the most. Those with heart issues of any and all kinds might need some extra support. It's a time to stay cool and not get too overheated.

Ironically, I'm increasing my use of cayenne pepper and taking cayenne capsules because it stimulates the system and improves circulation. I'm also up-ing my CoenzymeQ10 which is something of a miracle in itself.

Today I'm feeling way better; luckily, my remedies are most often found in nature. My tips: Know your body. Listen to your body. Respond when it talks to you!