I cannot believe we are already into 2018. It seems like just yesterday I was holding my brand new niece and saying goodbye to 2016. Now, she’s a year old and we’re halfway through January of 2018. 2017 brought so much change for me, both in and out of the classroom. I’m proud of who I’ve grown to be in the last year and excited to continue on that journey this year.
If there’s one that I embraced last year, it was the power of discomfort. I had to step outside of my comfort zone to find a place I felt like I belonged. It’s easy to experience burnout as a teacher and fall into a rut. Doing the same thing over and over is bound to take a toll on your passion and effectiveness in the classroom. How did I combat that this past year?
I let my teacher leader flag fly.
By no means did I wake up one day and say, “Hey, I want to be a teacher leader.” It didn’t quite work out like that. But I surrounded myself with like-minded teachers and educators who had a passion for students and a craving for innovation. I got involved in a grassroots teacher-led engagement group in my school district called JCPSForward and built my #TeacherTribe. For the first time in my career, I led district-wide professional learning on topics I was passionate about, including literacy, technology in the classroom, and using social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to expand your teacher tribe. For the first time in my career, I felt as if I had a voice in the current education landscape.
I went for it.
In 2017, I also made the decision to go back to school to get an Educational Specialist degree in School Administration and Leadership. This is something I have always known I might want to pursue one day in the future, but I decided to go ahead and take the plunge. I am thrilled that I did because I am loving every second of it, even though it can be extremely overwhelming. I am eager to learn how to harness my leadership skills to create a larger impact for more students than just those within my own classroom.
I expanded my business, my brand, and my teacher tribe.
With a little push from my real life teacher friend, Kelsey (www.kelseynhayes.com), I breathed new life into my blog and my TeachersPayTeachers store. This experience, in and of itself, brought new life back to my teaching career and my passion for the job I love. My business side hustle is so much a part of who I am as a teacher and as a person and I love pouring myself into it.
A large part of growing my blog and TeachersPayTeachers store began with engaging with the larger teacher community on Instagram. I have met so many fantastic teachers and TPT sellers through Instagram and I will forever be grateful for the passion and enthusiasm they share daily.
I enjoyed the little moments with my students.
Teaching can be stressful. There’s no doubt about that. But I can almost guarantee that 100% of teachers started the job because they love kids and they love being around kids. Even when they’re not listening to you and they’re really struggling to understand the content, you can always count on them to crack a funny joke or give you a hug when they can tell you’re not having the best of days. My students are the reason I do what I do and I can always count on them to remind me why I love my job.
I hope you continue to renew your passion for education on a daily basis. I’d love to hear about how you’re keeping your passion alive. Let me know in the comments below!