Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Boost of Encouragement As You Head Back to School

I have a sneaking suspicion that not all teachers are excited to go back to school.  Maybe I'm wrong.  But I don't think I am.  For those of you who are insanely excited and giddy to head back, some teachers envy you.  They wish for those days where heading back to school was thrilling and invigorating.  But some years...some years are just hard to go back.  It's not that you hate teaching.  If you did, you probably wouldn't go back.

Maybe you had a baby recently and will be heading back after a glorious summer with your little infant.

Maybe you have a baby and toddler at home (like I do) and you hate to see those precious moments go.

Maybe the morale is down at your school.  Nobody wants to be there.  Your admin is tough, they don't understand, they put too much pressure on you, they don't understand you, nor do they care...about any of it.  Just test scores.

Maybe your district is struggling.  Financially, they've hit rock bottom.  You're dealing with bare bones for staff.  Your plate is full.  You don't know what the year will bring.  Will you even have a job at the end of the year?  So much is riding on levies, bond issues, whatever you call them.

Maybe you've recently lost a loved one.  It's too soon.  It's all you can think about.  The last thing you're thinking about is school.  All you can think about is someone that's no longer with you.  And it's hard.

Maybe you just sent your child(ren) off to college.  Your house will never be the same.  It will be so quiet.  You'll wonder and worry about them.  You'll miss them.  You can't wait until the next time they're home.

Maybe your teaching team is tough.  You don't always see eye to eye and they don't want to listen to you.  You feel left out.  You try to be nice, but for some reason you feel like an outcast.

Maybe you're going through a divorce.  Life is just upside down.  You don't know what to think or feel.  You're frustrated, upset, angry, depressed, and so heartbroken.

Maybe your best friend at school took a job somewhere else.  Maybe they retired.  Maybe they left teaching.  You feel lonely stepping back into your school.

Maybe you're dreading the busy schedules.  The packed planner.  The grading.  The meetings.  The events.

Maybe you're broke.  Summer utilities, vacations, school supplies, and unexpected things that chewed up every single penny.  You feel like you can't get off on the right foot because you can't afford anything you need for your classroom, let alone treating yourself to a new first day outfit.

Maybe you look at your class roster and know that your class will be a challenge.  You're tired just thinking about it.

Maybe there's just too much left to do at home.  Too much summer to be had.  Too much time to enjoy with those you rarely get to spend time with (or not enough time) when school is in session.

Maybe, just maybe, you aren't ready to go back.  If you're like me, you might even still be worn out from last year!  ;)  You feel terrible about it and you *WISH* you could hype yourself up for what's to come.  But you just...can't.

Friends, it's OK.  No, really.  Every year brings something new to the table.  Some years you're eager with anticipation, other years you're filled with dread and sorrow.  It happens.  Don't beat yourself up over the fact that you aren't "into it" yet.  It might take going into your classroom and working, it might take looking around on Pinterest and some blogs, or it might just take showing up and doing the thing.  I'm hoping and praying that we all find our niche this year and are truly blessed.  We honestly have one of the most incredible jobs.  Let it be your safe place.  Let it be a time where you focus your thoughts and energy elsewhere.  I'm not saying that life might not be hard anymore, but sometimes when we do something else, we forget (even if just for a little bit) our struggles outside the walls of the school.  And if your struggles are INSIDE the walls of the school, it might take YOU being the light in a dark place.  Not an easy task (and quite honestly, it can be harder than anything else), but I'm a true believer that we are placed where we are for a reason.  No one ever said it would be easy.  But it's where we are called, at least for a season.

I was talking to some friends who were feeling down and negative (um, my life story a lot of times, let's be honest).  In a rare moment of positive thoughts, I was encouraged to make a set of teacher notecards to keep on our desks to lift us up throughout the year.  It was a glorious idea and I whipped it up within a couple days.  So if you need an extra boost of encouragement, head on over to see my Positive and Encouraging Teacher Notecards.  There are 100 notecards (60 positive and uplifting quotes, 20 Bible verses, and 20 Christian quotes) for you to print and keep near in your room.  I have mine sitting right by my computer.  I got a $0.95 acrylic frame from Wal-Mart and it works perfectly!  You can even use a fun or pretty 4x6 frame (hello, Hobby Lobby!!!!).

Another idea is to print them off and pass them out throughout the year.  You might notice when someone else needs a little boost.  Just cut one out and write a little note on the back. 

Or you could go REALLY crazy and tape them all over your desk area!  If you do that, I'll need a pic.  ;)

Teachers, you've got this.  Just take a deep breath and know that it WILL be ok.  Don't feel guilty if you're not ready.  You will be.  :)


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