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We know that as teachers we serve others before ourselves. We pour out empathy for our students and what they’re going through. We take on their anxieties and their fears and their worries. This can make us feel as if we are a never-ending reservoir of support.
But we know that this reservoir will dry up if we don’t take care of ourselves. But how do we do that when so much is going on? There’s constant change and planning for each day’s instruction. There’s anxiety over a pandemic, over politics, and over the upcoming holidays. And there’s the worry of never knowing what is coming next.
What is needed is empathy—not only empathy for our students but empathy for ourselves.
Empathy is the ability to share another person’s feelings and emotions as if they were your own. Brene’ Brown puts it this way, “Empathy is not connecting to an experience. Empathy is connecting to the emotions that underpin an experience.” In other words, if we are to truly serve our students, we must first connect with our own emotions, examine our thoughts and feelings, and determine what supports we need for these experiences.
It’s important, then, to stop, take a moment, self-reflect, and breathe.
So, this week take a moment for yourself to reflect and evaluate what’s going on and what you need. Then take a little time to direct and control those supports. When you do you will not only be elevating your learnership, you will be elevating your students too.
Ways to stop and take a breath…
- Reflect on your experiences since March of 2019. What was the best academic experience you offered your students? Take credit for this and pat yourself on the back.
- Think about how you know when to stop and take a breath. Share this thinking with your students. Have them practice with you. And make sure you allocate time for them to stop and take a breath.
- Now that we know what this school year is looking like, build into your schedule specific blocks of time for you to regenerate.
- Have your students share what they do when they get overwhelmed. Our kids are as anxious as we are—it is good for them to hear from their peers that everyone can have worries. And it lets them know that they are not alone.
When we launched the Learnership Review in January 2020, our goal was to create a community of educators dedicated to elevating achievement through increasing ownership for all learners. The way we would achieve our goal is by providing you with content, resources, research, strategies, and tools that will increase your own learnership. And, we have strived to do that through our articles, webinars, podcasts, and website. You have been with us reading, thinking, sharing, growing, and learning each week.
This week our focus was a little different, but just as critical. So we’ll wrap up this article, so we can all stop and take a breath.
The Learning Brief
In this article you learned…
- As teachers we serve others before ourselves, but we can’t be truly effective if we don’t first own what we need for ourselves.
- It is critical that we take time to self-reflect and self-evaluate our needs.
- Reflection and evaluation are key parts to elevating learnership.
Can you imagine building an environment full of motivated, engaged, and eager students who own their learning?