Friday, April 3, 2015

Taking Care of You

Kirsten is a homeschooling mom of a second grade boy and administrator of the Natomas Charter PACT homeschool Academy. You can contact her at kspall@natomascharter.org.

Many of us have started to feel the wear and tear of running the household, raising kids, teaching our kids, driving to workshops or sports, and trying to be a good spouse or partner.Where did the enthusiasm and anticipation for the new year and new curriculum go? You are not alone.

Homeschool teachers and classroom teachers face this struggle. Yes, even the "professionals" go through cycles of anticipation, disillusionment, and rejuvenation. As a mentor for new teachers to the profession,  I often show my "newbs" the chart to the right and tell them that all teachers feel this way, go through these emotions. It doesn't mean that you aren't meant to homeschool or that you are not doing a good job.

It means that you have put your heart and soul into an imperfect process. It means you care so deeply for your children that you want the best for them. It means you are a thoughtful, reflective teacher who is constantly thinking about the how and why of teaching.

It means you shouldn't quit!

It also means that you should take care of yourself! The teacher (and parent!) side of you needs a break.

Take a 10 minute bath, check out a book from the library for YOU to read to yourself, connect with a friend online, attend a church group you enjoy, go to Target all ALONE, or walk for ten minutes at night before the sun goes down. The point is that you need to do something for yourself before you can be fully present and ready for the rest of your day or the rest of your school year.

This Spring Break, instead of trying to charge through two more weeks of learning, we have taken a total break. A TOTAL break. My son can hardly believe it. Each morning he asks me, "No school work today?"

I have also taken a break from lesson planning, assessing, getting his work ready for the next day, answering work emails (okay maybe a few emails!), and thinking about how to be better, more.

Yesterday, I played with Robert and his friends, laid out by the pool, and watched way too much Housewives. I don't think I did anything productive. Oh wait, I did mail out a letter.

Giving in to my need for self care has felt a lot better than giving into my own self doubt.

So take a few deep  breaths this Spring Break. Enjoy a moment for yourself. Give someone an extra hug. Enjoy a moment with your favorite cup of coffee or sit in the sun.

Next school year, is only a few months away.


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