In yoga classes, we start out by offering an intention to our students. This word/idea/phrase is something that can be used throughout class to focus your energy and therefore your results.
Teachers have a unique situation - summer vacation is like a mini New Year’s. Here’s an opportunity to set some goals, make a new start, and create a word of the summer. I’m offering the idea of INTENTION to you.
Make each day and each activity intentional. Even if you’re catching up on your Netflix or your favorite series from the library, sink into each day and activity with the knowledge that this is exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.
QUOTE: "Teachers: We need you to focus on your mental wellbeing during the summer with the same intensity and intention that you focus on your students during the school year. " ~Matt Weld
At every moment, the future starts.
I would urge you to be intentional in three areas this summer.
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: 68 Fun Summer Activities - Some of these aren’t so practical, and certainly seem like a lot of work. But then there are ones that involve eating and playing that certainly sound like fun!
DAD JOKE: I'm a social vegan. I avoid meet.
Have a fantastic summer! Jumpstart will jump back in the first week of September.
Keep in touch over the next couple of months - I’ll be in the office or at one of our events for most of the time, although visiting family in Montana, California, and Georgia is also on the list.
~ Matt Weld, ROE #40 SEL Coach
Huge Shout-Out to all our school nurses, especially during these last couple of years with increased health protocols!
Saturday, 5/14 is National Buttermilk Biscuit Day. Our family always talks about our Deserted Island Food List (if you could only have 10 foods for the rest of your life list). Biscuits would be near the top of mine. I don’t have a preferred recipe for these since they are a pain in the hiney to make. I just use the frozen ones in the blue bag.
QUOTE: When you outsource self-love to others, then you're in trouble. ~Sara Kuburic
Self Acceptance and Self Love are foundational to our ability to accept and love others.
We can’t love others until we can love ourselves. We can be accepting of others until we can accept ourselves.
In a podcast I listened to this week (linked below), they were talking about how the Millennials and Gen Z’ers don’t have the skills to identify their own emotions. The guest on the podcast was a Millennial and a therapist.
Instead of sitting with themselves and learning who they are, they look to their phones and social media for validation.
But there is a difference between being noticed on social media and being acknowledged, between being liked and being validated. Validation and acknowledgement really come from in-person interactions.
This week, try this: Why do you pick up your phone? Is it because you’re feeling the twinge of boredom, or angst, or ‘something’? Next time, stop and think about WHY you want to retreat into your phone. Sit with it and accept it, because that’s all part of accepting and ultimately loving yourself.
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: A Bit of Optimism Ep 43: Setting Boundaries with Sara Kuburic. Today’s quote appears at the 27:12 mark, and the idea of validation vs. acknowledgement at 24:45. Overall, it’s an interesting exploration of boundaries, social media, and Millennials - with a Millennial.
DAD JOKE: I'm not passive aggressive. Unlike *some* people!
Have an excellent week!
Everyone has a mother! No matter what other differences there are, we can all connect with the experience of having a mother. One of the first relationships we form is the trust between mother and child. Where that goes from there may be another story, but learning to trust starts very young.
QUOTE: A healthy relationship is built on unwavering trust. ~Beau Mirchoff
With TRUST, there are two roles, trustor (the one who trusts) and trustee (the one who is trusted).
The trustor gives up control over actions that will be performed by the trustee some time in the future.
At this time of year, the relationships you have formed with students over the course of the year are fully realized, and the trust that you have built has come to fruition. Unfortunately, that all starts over again in August.
Often trust happens as a way for our brain to find solutions to problems that would otherwise take too much energy. For example, we trust the cafeteria will make meals for the kids, otherwise we would be micromanaging and worrying.
This week, try this: Think of all the interactions that require trust in your daily life. Attach a face to each of those relationships, and extend gratitude to those people. Hopefully, you’ll find there’s a lot more good in the world than it seems.
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: 10 Trust-Building Exercises for Kids. We’ve probably all been to some sort of retreat, or summer camp, or college class and participated in trust exercise. Here’s a whole list that may make it into a field day somewhere… (Personally, I never like them, but that’s neither here nor there.)
DAD JOKE: Happy Mother's Day to all the teachers who have been called 'Mom' at least once. Even as a male teacher, I've been called 'Mom' many times.
Shout-out to all the administrative professionals!
Let’s face it - where would your school be without them?
Monday is National Zucchini Bread day. Maybe you can make a loaf to celebrate your favorite secretary on Wednesday.
QUOTE: "Apathy is the self-defense of the powerless." ~ Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Apathy literally means ‘without feeling’. That’s just not healthy since humans are emotional beings.
I’ve been receiving a lot of emails and comments recently about student apathy.
My initial thoughts: I saw a quote recently that apathy is a learned behavior. Is it? Could it be a natural result - the easy road - from too much or too little for too long? Feel free to email me your thoughts.
People care and work for what is meaningful to them. Is school one of these things?
Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Safety and security come from structure and real (as in non-digital, imho) relationships.
Helpers can’t help if their basic needs aren’t being met.
This week, try this: Start small. Instead of trying to create an end-of-the-year extravaganza, what about taking the time to circle the desks and have an open conversation about things like, “What are you afraid of?” “What brings you comfort?”
Today is Leg Day!
Mobility is key to a healthy life. Make sure you keep your legs - front, back, upper, lower - flexible and strong. Studies show that mobility prevents disability.
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: Student Engagement Strategies: Encouraging Behavioral, Emotional, and Cognitive Engagement in Your Course. Focusing on student engagement is one way to decrease apathy in the classroom. This article gives ideas plus 9 more free articles on the subject.
DAD JOKE: A limbo champion walks into a bar. They are disqualified.
Have a great week!
It's half-way thorugh April. That means it's OK to start imagining summer!
QUOTE: "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." ~ Lewis B. Smedes
While we tend to think of forgiveness as an act of grace toward the other person, it’s really for us.
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.
I saw a news clip of a woman who forgave her son’s murderer and offered him tenancy in her building. Here is a similar story.
While you don’t have to go to the same measures upon forgiveness, realize that the psychological and emotional burden is lifted from you. The other person could feel nothing, but you will definitely feel release.
This week, try this: Practice with small things. The next time someone says something that hurts your feelings/pride/ego, tell yourself what you need to to let that grudge go. Maybe it’s looking at it from their perspective, maybe it’s actually saying to yourself, “I will not let your words hurt me.”
Will you forgive me after this yoga sequence?
Unlike your hip joint, your shoulder joint is really just a bunch of bones meeting at one point to act as places for muscles to attach. This means there are all sorts of tendons and cartilage to get messed up. Take care of your shoulders!
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: Forgiveness with Ashley Monier and Abigail Haloftis on the Teachers’ Classroom podcast. These two students at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville talked about what forgiveness is and isn’t and why RE-forgiveness is something we all need to practice.
DAD JOKE: I used to be addicted to the hokey-pokey. But then I turned myself around.
Have a great week!
It’s Cheese Fondue Day!
I can totally get behind a holiday dedicated to a socially acceptable way to eat warm melted cheese by the spoonful.
I promise to show a lot of grit by finishing off the whole pot (especially if it’s this recipe that I got from a friend who used to own a fondue restaurant in St. Louis).
Nothing brings out the grit in teachers like December and the last weeks of the school year.
Grit is the perseverance and passion for achieving long-term goals.
In my mind, there is a fine line between grit and perfectionism. It takes willpower and sacrifice to achieve goals. What happens when one becomes so focused on the product that the joy of the process is lost? What happens when the goal is met but the process has consumed so much of one’s life that one can’t let go? What happens when grit keeps one on a path of improvement to a point where there really aren’t anymore gains left to be made, and perhaps energy and skills learned could be better used elsewhere?
I would also argue that the biggest barrier to grit is distraction. It’s much easier to give our time and energy to a fleeting, meaningless distraction than it is to put the same energy and time into building something worthwhile.
This week, try this: Be intentional with your actions. You have a limited amount of time and energy. What will you bless with it?
It takes grit to keep doing abs.
You don’t realize how much your core supports pretty much every move you make until your abs are sore. While this short sequence shouldn’t get your abs to that point, it’s an exercise that will get your blood flowing and your focus on something different for about 5 and a half minutes.
Getting Real About Grit: 6 Things Every Teacher Needs to Know. I highly recommend you check out Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers podcast wherever you get your podcasts. With the link above, you can either read the transcript on her blog or listen to the full episode. Even if you just listen to the first 7 or so minutes, it’s time well spent!
I own the world's worst thesaurus. Not only is it awful, it's awful.
Have a great week!
Not sure why there’s a whole month dedicated to celery…
Good thing it’s also National Gardening Month and National Decorating Month!
When was the last time you were really fired up about something? How productive were you?
Our brains are structured in such a way that we process information emotionally before our forebrain can apply any sort of logic. Therefore, everything has gone through an emotional filter before anything else. If we don’t know our emotions, know what they feel like in our bodies, and know how to process them, our productivity will tank.
One hack you can try involves the Zeigarnik Effect, which says that our brains latch on to incomplete tasks. While this may be a source of stress, it can also be a great way to make sure things get done. Just start them, and your brain will make sure you finish.
This week, try this: The next time something seems overwhelming, try starting with a super-small chunk. Maybe it’s just starting a document, getting ingredients out of the fridge, or grading that first paper in the stack.
New Video Series!
We’ve done breathwork and meditation. How about some Chair Yoga to finish out the year? Thanks to Moonbird Yoga in O’Fallon for letting me borrow their plant (as well as space and sound system). Almost all of their classes are both live and virtual. [I promise that next year, the square will not be in the middle of the screen - camera user error!].
SEL Side of Time Management Think Sheet Use this think sheet to understand how your emotions affect the way you manage your time. It’s one I’ve used in a couple of my online sessions.
Have a great week, everyone!
~Matt Weld, ROE 40 SEL Coach
It’s that crazy time of year. Here’s how to say, “No.”
There’s an art and a power in declining.
But I’m declining to say no to crunchy tacos while reading poetry by myself, thank you.
The key to saying no is to just say it and then STOP TALKING. You don’t need to give excuses, an apology, or an explanation.
THIS WEEK, TRY THIS: The next time someone asks you to do something that violates your boundaries (last week’s topic!), simply say, “Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that.” Notice that there is no ‘but’ in that sentence, nor is there an explanation or an apology. Let the other person show their character by either accepting or asking you to do something that goes against your boundaries.
If you feel the need to say ‘no’ a bit more eloquently, try one of these 21 Ways to Say No.
National Bunsen Burner Day (31st) & Lemon Chiffon Cake Day (29th)
The science teacher in me has to tip my hat to bunsen burners - everyone should get the opportunity to have a lab of 32 12-year olds acting like they’ve never seen fire before.
And Cake! The 28th is actually Black Forest Cake Day, but Lemon Chiffon cake reminds me of the PTO moms we had when I was an administrator. They made the BEST potluck lunches for the staff. One year, Julie B. brought in a lemon chiffon cake that was so good, I hoarded the leftovers in my file cabinet. Then she gave me the recipe.
Empathy is when you are able to feel what others are feeling either through emotional empathy (that gut feeling when you feel sad when others are sad, for example) or cognitive empathy (when you can understand the other person’s perspective and attitudes through knowledge rather than emotion). It’s really easy to get tangled in another person’s emotions through empathy.
Compassion, on the other hand, allows us to take a step back and while we understand or feel what the other is going through (good or bad), we are able to make rational decisions on how best to help them. Educators are master helpers, so compassion is nothing new. The trick is to help others without getting sucked into their emotional vortex.
This week, try this: the next time a coworker talks about how stressed they are, instead of discounting their emotion (“Cheer up!”) or trumping their feelings (“Oh, yes, I’ve been through that many times. One time…”) try extending some compassion. “We don’t have to talk. I’m happy to sit here with you.” or even “I don’t know what to say.”
Compassion For Kids: (from PositivePsychology.com) This extensive article contains definitions, 8 activities to do with students, 7 compassion videos for students, and 8 more activities for adults to do with kids (many of which could be done in the classroom).
Even with all these reasons to celebrate, boundaries are important.
Setting boundaries is part of self-care and good coping skills.
Therefore, I’ll have just one piece of pie, 2 handfuls of chips, and a 3-hour nap, thanks!
I like to think of BOUNDARIES as an extension of your identity that are set up for your protection. For example, as a teacher, I might set a boundary that I will not hold myself responsible for all aspects of my students’ lives. If I don’t have boundaries, then who am I? Am I willing to do anything for anyone?
How to Create Healthy Boundaries from the University of Kentucky not only talks about what boundaries are, but also what some of the barriers may be, such as guilt, safety, or fear.