Go Be Happy!

Go be happy!

These were parting words to me from a colleague as I left work today. It was at the end of a conversation about how in teaching there is so much to do and that it is ok that it’s not all for you. Some of it is and some of it isn’t.; whatever you do though, just go be happy!

For some of us teaching kindergarten is our thing and for others it makes us squirm, others love Year 6 while some of us would never go there, some teachers teach PE while others teach art, some love science, while others would rather teach poetry, for some of us teaching in public education is important while some prefer private, some of us have themed classrooms while others leave it to their students, some of us play the piano and have sing-a-longs while other are great storytellers.

I could keep going…

In this industry, we bring so much and have so much to offer, but what we need to remember is we don’t have to be great at everything. It is important to know your thing, to do your thing and do it well. We can’t all be masseters at math or artists in the classroom, excellent at running assemblies or the master of writing newsletter articles but we can each have our own piece to contribute, and ways to contribute to each other.

If each of us works together, imagine the range of skills we could bring, and time and energy we could use to support each other.

You teach mine science while I do the math lesson for your class, I will write the newsletter article if you organise assembly, I am happy to read the story if you do the music for the afternoon sing-a-long.

So how does this relate to ‘Go be happy?’, well, if you do your thing you will have time to go be happy too.

Sometimes we teachers stress the small stuff, we worry and fumble and struggle, we complain and get stuck, we get frustrated yet persist, when maybe what we should have done from the start was ask for help, find the person who’s thing it is, offer a trade-off or just for support, and from this you will have more time to go be happy!

So teacher, go find your thing, work with others and GO BE HAPPY!!!

Don’t wait until you retire to start that hobby you have always wanted to take up…

Whenever older staff are retiring, or the conversation of not working comes up, I am instantly one to put my hand up to say I 100% would be OK with doing this now. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work, but the idea of not working and being able to take up all of the hobbies I dream of doing sounds great to me!

But here’s the thing, why wait until I retire to do the things I want to do?The Teachers' Coach

I have been a bit up and down lately (let’s just blame this on normal work and life stress) and when working with my coach (because we should all have one), she asked me what I do for creativity, as an expression of me, where my juices flow… well, nothing really, I thought.

To be honest this shocked me. I am someone who loves being creative and crafty, I always took an art class at school and I love to doodle and draw my way through meetings and PL. What I realised though, is that I have absolutely let this part of me go, or rather, put on hold.

It wasn’t a conscious decision, just something that has happened over time, as life got busy, routine took over, along with longer work hours and trying to balance everything out, my creative outlets have completely disappeared.

Growing up you would find me in my room after school dabbling in all kinds of things; jewellery making, drawing, sewing, baking, knitting, painting… I even painted a giant sun mural on my wall when I was about 15.

Now though, I just don’t do anything. I have tried a few times to get back into it, but this more often than not results in me taking some kind of class, buying all the resources to do this at home, where unfortunately the items just become dust collectors and never reach their full potential.

I have a cupboard full of silicone bakeware from the time I was going to take up vegan baking, a selection of rope from the time I did a macramé class and was going to make something extravagant for my wall, and a bag of stones I collected from the beach from the time I was going to make some stone art for family, and this is all in the last 18 months.

I think I need a hobby!

I mean, I actually need to take up and do one of the hobbies I have started…
I don’t need to wait until I retire to take these things up, what I need to do is make them part of my weekly routine NOW!

I am aware of all the great things having a hobby can do for you, yet for some reason, I think these don’t apply to me. I am wrong though. I need a creative outlet just as much as you do.

So here I am committing to taking up macramé and stone art (I’ll leave the baking this time). Watch this space, there are some cool things coming your way soon!!!

What you need to know before we begin semester 2!

With the first half of the year over, it is a great time to reflect on the year so far, as well as begin to think about the next half.

At this time if the year though, it is common to hear teachers comment thing like: 
‘OMG, the year is half over!”
‘Where did that half of the year go?’
‘I feel like we have hardly achieved anything!’
‘I have so much to do in the next 2 terms!’

And yes, this is all true. The year goes quick, it can feel like we haven’t done much at all and like there is way more to do than we can fit into the rest of the year. In fact, if you are new to teaching, you need to know this is how you will feel every year, and if you are an experienced teacher, well, here we are again.
At this time of year though, I like to take some time to acknowledge what has been done, and also set some new goals for the rest of the year.

So, as you read this, I want you to pause, grab a pen and paper and write 5 things you have achieved so far this year already…. DO IT NOW!

There is always something to celebrate; the new reading approach you started, having all your books marked on time for student feedback, getting reports in on time (finally), actually committing to your wellbeing and not doing work on weekends…

I promise you, you can find 5 things, and if you haven’t done it, do it NOW!

Next step, let’s think about the second half of the year.
What are your new goals?
What do you want to learn about?
What do you want to try next?

The best way to decide on your new goal is to ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What challenges have you had that you want to improve?
  2. What area do you want to stretch yourself in?

Now, as most teachers do, there will be a list with, let’s be honest, more on it than you can do, so here is my advice. Pick 2 goals for the remainder of the year. 1 for school, and one for home.
Focus on these, do these well, and commit to having these embedded by the end of the year.

It is having goals that keep us focused and moving forward, it can also help with the overwhelm we all face. We can’t avoid the pressures from outside, which come from whole school or government initiatives, but we can give ourselves something to focus on which we have chosen too. This will give you joy in moments of frustration, something to always come back to and a real sense of accomplishment once you tick these goals off.

 

I’d love to know what your goals are, let me know by commenting on this blog or sharing in our FB Group ‘The Teachers’ Tribe’

Holiday Reading – My top 5 non-fiction book must reads!

For those of you who don’t know, I am an avid reader. I love to read and try to do this daily. From fiction to non-fiction, a good novel or the latest self-help book, reading is a must. I am also known to have more than one book on the go at a time too, which means reading a book the whole way through can take a bit of time… but I am totally OK with that!
Reading should not be one of those laborious tasks where you feel compelled to read every word front to back, even though you are not enjoying it. I was once told books are great tools if you take from them what you need, and stop when you have exactly that. Sometimes this is a whole book, especially a great novel, with non-fiction that might be is a few chapters at the start and then whatever else is of interest to me as I flick through the chapters.
With this approach, I can read more than 1 book at a time, and read quite a few books each year. It also means I have books for entertainment and enjoyment and books for learning. The key is to know what you like to read and when you like to read it. For me, non-fiction is great in the morning or throughout the day and novels are a leisure activity I enjoy in the evening and before bed.
For now, though, I am recommending my top 5 non-fiction books. Why? Because non-fiction books, I believe, are an overlooked way of supporting each other. These books have done wonders for me, and I think they will for you too.
If you are looking for a book, here a 5 I have enjoyed lately which may also be enjoyed by you too.

1.    The One Thing – Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
This book is a great quick read for those of you who need help defining what to focus on and which tasks need competing. It looks at goal setting and how to use this to help you with what you need to do now. I also found this same method can be broken down and applied to yearly and weekly tasks.
 
2.    Atomic Habits – James Clear
As humans, we so often do things without even knowing. In this Book, James Clear looks at habits and how as humans we are constantly acting out our habits with little to no awareness of how they are impacting our life, creating a barrier for us or how one small change of habit can have a big impact with ongoing ripples.
If you are stuck moving forward or have a goal you haven’t been able to achieve, this book will help you to identify and make changes to those pesky habits you didn’t even know where there.
 
3.    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a… – OK. So the title may be a little off-putting, but the book its self has some hidden gold. If you are someone who finds it hard to let go of things, constantly worries about what others may say, do or think or spend most of your time making decisions and doing things so others will be happy while you suffer, get your hand on this book and start reading now!

4.    Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers
Fear holds us back from doing so many things. It hides in ways we don’t even know and is so sneaky it will surprise you when you realise it is there. This book is great if you have a sneaking suspicion fear is stopping you from doing something in your life; the classroom, your health, confidence, anything. With an insight into the science of fear and also how to overcome it, this is a must read for everyone.
5.    Dare to Lead – Brene’ Brown
In her newest title, Brene’ talks about leadership, and how this links to us as leaders. As teachers, we all play a leadership role in one capacity or another. The leader of our students, leading a team, taking the lead of planning, leading a staff meeting or leading other teachers. Everyone can learn something from this book (actually any Brene’ Brown book is a must read).
 
Read one, read all or read none. Great books aren’t; going anywhere so make the time to read what you can when you can. Reading is self-care, self-love and showing self-worth. Make this a part of your holiday, you are worth it.

Happy Reading!

I have been slack with my blog, because, well, life happens… and it’s OK

Sometimes Life happens…

I have been a bit slack on the blog front lately, I am not sure why, I was in a really good routine with this, then life happened, and I lost it.

It can happen that easily. We are onto a good thing, weeks or even months can pass and we don’t skip a beat, then all of a sudden life happens, we lose our routine, pick up bad habits and are back right where we started. So what do you do?


Well, first of all, know life does happen, because you are, after all, only human, which means you never really know what may come your way. As fast as it took for Harry Potter to be scared with a lightning bolt for life, we can lose all routing and things we thought we had control over. Just like that.

Now don’t beat yourself up about it. I’m not. I mean the first step to getting back on track is having an awareness that things have gone sideways, and let’s be honest, my blog writing certainly has. But here I am, picking myself up, and getting back into it.

You see, when life does happen, we need to go with it. Ride the waves. But as soon as we are back with two feet on the ground it is time to reassess and get back into it, which means for me Thursday is Blog Day – No Matter What!!!

We have all had good intentions before, mine with a blog every Thursday, which did last a good few months, to be more active, lose weight, read for 20 minutes a day (another one I am working on), give more time to family, be a better listener, stay calm when life doesn’t go according to plan, but we also all know that it just doesn’t happen like this, and that is OK!

Now you know that, you can let it be. Now that doesn’t mean stop forever, it just means let go of the guilt of letting it go in the first place, and when you are ready, get back to it. Or maybe not even when you are ready, but when you can.

If we always wait until we are ‘ready’ then it may never some, ‘ready’ leaves too much time and space for ‘I’m not ready’. This is just your ego keeping you safe. Instead, ask yourself ‘Can I now….’. If the answer is yes, do it. No but’s, maybes or when I am ready. Just do it.


Life happens. We fall off the track sometimes. It is getting back on though that we must commit to.
So here I am, committing to a blog every Thursday, just for you, so keep an eye out and make sure you keep reading them.

Feeling Emotional?

Emotions aren’t as they seem.

Emotions are energy. Emotions shape our world, our reality, our life. They are there to assist you and help you to feel a certain way when an event occurs and as you go throughout your day.

There are more emotions to feel then we realise, yet we often only use the same emotions over and over; happy, sad, angry, frustrated, annoyed, pleased, excited, neutral. This is pretty much the list of emotions we engage in on a daily or weekly basis.

But here’s the thing, emotions are our choice. Emotions are something we are taught to do, to feel, to experience, and often we only know and engage in a small number of emotions, which means this is how we often feel and this is where we stay.

Ever wondered why 2 people can experience the same thing, and one person can be a little annoyed and another can be furious?

Well, it is the way they respond to the event that causes them to feel this way.

There is a theory or this called E+R=O; Event + Response = Outcome (I learnt this from TCI, not sure where it comes from).

What this means is, it is not the event that causes how we feel, or the outcome it is our response to the event that influences the outcomes.

Whilst we can’t always control the event, we can certainly control our response, which in return affects the outcome.

Now before you tell me there is no way you could feel anything but furious when your partner is late for dinner, or that feeling annoyed about the extra meeting that has occurred this week is the only appropriate response, I want you to ask yourself, is this the only way to feel? And, would everyone else feel the same as you? The answer to both of these questions is no.

People choose to feel differently all the time, even about the same situation. The power in this is, those who understand that emotion and feeling is a choice, have more control over their lives, and essentially allow more positivity and happiness to be part of their day.

Why?

Because these people know being frustrated, annoyed or furious at something that was out of their control is a waste of their energy, and actually gets them o where.

Now don’t get me wrong, yes it can be annoying when your partner is later for dinner, and an extra meeting can be frustrating too, but it doesn’t mean you have to take in this emotion and carry it with you into other areas of your life.

So what do you do the?

Well, when an event happens, ask yourself how you feel, acknowledge your first emotion, but ask yourself, is it worth me feeling this way? (the answer is probably no), how else could I choose to feel? What would this mean? How would this make me feel instead? How would things be different?

Try this, try choosing different emotions.

You can choose your emotion, you can choose how you feel. You can choose to be positive and happy.

Getting things done on time – why deadlines actually help to give you more time!

Deadlines can sometimes be scary. Deadlines put pressure on people. Maybe they make you feel anxious or overwhelmed, maybe a deadline even makes you doubt yourself, and whether or not you can actually do the job.

Not all deadlines, however, are the same.

Deadlines are also a way of making sure something happens.

By putting a deadline in place, it can increase our productivity, it can make us more focused and it can ensure that we use our time more wisely.

By having a deadline our thought patterns can shift. A deadline can create urgency around something, it can make it more important, it can become a ‘must do’.

Our life actually has deadlines in it all the time.

A birthday is a deadline. A birthday is a point in time which you must meet if you want to wish that person happy birthday, if you want to give them a gift, make them feel special and show that you care. A birthday is a deadline you can’t miss. You can’t put someone else’s birthday off you, can’t change the date and you can’t get to it later, it is a deadline that you have to meet. Paying off a holiday is also a deadline. If you don’t make the payment, you don’t go on holiday. Now we all love holidays, so the urgency around making sure that we pay for the holiday is a very important deadline.

Why is it that we can adhere to some deadlines in our life but not others? And why is it that some things have deadlines and others don’t?

Deadlines have actually changed how I see the simple tasks in my life. Planning, report writing, writing my logs, scheduling my FB posts; I give each of these things a deadline. By putting in my own deadline, I am saying to myself, that I commit to getting this done by a certain point in time.

This is important. It shows I value my work, it shows I value my own time and it shows I value the tasks I need to complete.

Now some people find this really hard to deal with, I even get questions about why I structure my day in such a tight, routine way. But this all comes down to one thing, productivity. By having deadlines in place, I allow myself to be productive, and when I’m productive it means that I get things done, and when I get things done it means I have more time to do the things I love.

Deadlines and productivity for me at all about freedom. Essentially we are all aiming for some sort of freedom, whether we realise it or not. Freedom means we have time to do what we love, we have time to spend with our loved ones, time to read, time to go on more holidays and have more adventures, time for more variety in our life and time to be more relaxed and happy. Ultimately this is what we are all aiming for. It is part of achieving work-life balance.

Deadlines are a reflection of excellence. By meeting deadlines it shows that you have a high standard around yourself, who you are, how you carry yourself and how you act. It’s not about saying that you value necessarily the task or the work at hand, it says that you value your time, you value yourself and you value what you give.
So if you struggle with time, if you struggle with deadlines, if you struggle with productivity or if you struggle with getting things done, I suggest you start introducing deadlines along the way, even for the small tasks. Try introducing deadlines for marking, try introducing deadlines for putting up a display, try introducing deadlines for when you want to have all your lunches made for the week, when you want the washing to be done, or deadlines for when you finish working each night or being on social media.

If this sounds like something you would like to implement, take advantage of my 20-minute FREE strategy session and we can talk about how to improve the deadlines and productivity in your life. PM or email me to book in your time now.

Why I started ‘The Teachers’ Coach’

Why did I start ‘The Teachers’ Coach?’

I often get asked why I started ‘The Teachers’ Coach’, and with new people on board, I thought I would share this with you…

There is nothing like the enthusiasm, excitement, and passion of a beginning teacher. They arrive early and leave late, they take work home and they are consumed with their class. You can see them a mile off with their wide smile, glowing skin and gentle way they interact with students. Beginning teachers bring a passion like no other, a passion that is deep, and a passion that has a significant impact on how and who they are as a teacher.

Fast forward around 5-7 (or more) years and something has happened. Our passionate, beginning teachers have been replaced by new beginning teachers, and their passion it seems has been handed down to the new teachers. The same passion a beginning teacher has is clearly not sustainable, it almost seems to have an expiry date and is replaced with a new set of traits. These traits resemble that of someone who is unhappy, someone who has lost their passion and someone who is distracted with the daily busyness, making it hard focus on why they became a teacher in the first place.

It seems once the beginning teacher passion has fled, teachers replace it with an uncanny skill to teach on auto-pilot (how can this happen if every class and every student is different?), they get distracted by the daily admin and compliance tasks, which can be done quickly if focused on instead of putting off, and they engage in endless hours of whining and complaining about things they have to do, things that are their job, things that used to be part of their passion.

So why does this happen? In my opinion, there are a few reasons. We know the curriculum is ever increasing, and becoming more crowded with things that once didn’t exist, or that once sat with parents. The needs of students are becoming more complex and diverse in a single class, making it difficult for teachers to teach the curriculum outcomes but also modify it for those who need to access learning below and above their year level curriculum targets. Finally, the paperwork and admin tasks teachers are required to complete, at times, have no impact on their day to day teaching tasks.

With all these things and more impacting on a teacher’s job, I am asking ‘What have we done for our teachers? All of the above are being demanded by people on the outside of the classroom, yet nothing is coming in the classroom. Where is the extra support, time or resources to help implement and deliver the new demands? It doesn’t exist.

We are losing up to 50% of our beginning teachers, not because of the above demands, but because of the lack of support. Because our teachers, who once parked their car each day and jumped out with excitement, planned with passion and taught with enthusiasm, are now so consumed with all the extras and feel so unsupported, they can’t handle it.

Is it any wonder our teachers are losing their passion, surviving the day on autopilot or getting caught up complaining about their job? I personally don’t think so.

We need to start asking ‘What about the teachers?’ Who is supporting them to be their best, so they in return, can support the students to be their best?

This is my mission. This is what I am giving to you. Let’s work together to get back your passion, motivation and love for teaching so again you can love your life!

 

 

You are what you say you are!

A few weeks back I did a FB live about language, about what we say to ourselves as we head back to school, what we tell ourselves– seems kind of funny to think that the language we use can impact our day, but truth is it does, in so many ways.
Language shapes how we see the world, how we feel and how we are able to deal with certain situations. I am sure you all know of a time where you have heard a student say things like ‘I’m dumb’ or ‘(Name) is stupid’, and our response was most likely ‘Don’t talk like that, it’s not nice’. Our response is true, it’s not nice, but what we need to understand is what they say is what they believe to be true. It is an insight into how they see the world.
The same applies for us. We are constantly telling ourselves things, practicing self-talk we don’t even realise we are doing and saying things out loud which again we don’t realise are doing us more harm than good.
It is our self-talk, the things we tell ourselves, out beliefs which make us who we are (If you aren’t sure what I mean, I cover this in my 10 week ‘Teacher get your life back ‘ program if you want to know more.) This means we need to start to pay attention to the things we say and think. For example, if we are constantly telling ourselves and saying to colleges ‘I’m soooo tired’, then guess what, you’ll be tired and if you continuously say ‘I just don’t have nay time’, then guess what, you will have no time.
So why does this happen?
Well it’s all ego. If this is what we tell ourselves then there is no way we can be wrong, so ego and our unconscious mind makes it happen (thanks ego). Even though you may be thinking you want more time, or you don’t want to be tried, the negative weighs out the positive. All our brain hears is the negative, so this is what we get.
Now don’t worry, it’s easier to change than you think. Instead of saying ‘I’m tired’ replace this with ‘I have plenty of energy’, instead of saying ‘I have no time’ replace this with ‘I have enough time to do what I need’. o
There are some key things to remember though. Your brain is like a muscle, so you will need to train it to think like this, which means catching it in the moment and replacing it with your new thought. This is hard, abs aren’t built overnight and neither are new neural pathways in your brain. It takes time for muscles to grow, and this is a new muscle so stick with it and keep building that muscle in your brain (I explain this in my 10 week program too).
Give it a go and let me know what happens for you.
Notice other thoughts which aren’t working for you eithers, easy, just change them to the thoughts you want to have and add them into your new way of thinking.

5 things to implement on your first week back!

5 things to Implement on your first week back!

So you are back. Holiday mode is off and school mode is back on. You have swapped late nights for laminating, sleep ins for staff meetings and pool parties for planning. The summer holidays are officially over!

By now you have most likely started to get your school mode up and going, your students are either with you, or arriving in the next few days, you have your name labels printed, door display up and the pots ready to be filled with pencils. The new year buzz and excitement is around you, you can feel it, but so is something else…

It is this time of year we get confused about our emotions; excited for our new class, mew responsibilities and new things to teach but also scared, doubtful, worried, our head fills with thoughts we just can’t escape…

‘Will I be good enough for these students?’

‘ Will my students learn?’

‘Will the parents like me?’

‘Will I have enough time for each of them?’

‘Will I have enough time for myself and my family?’

‘How much work will I have to do on the weekend?’

All of these thoughts are normal, we all have them, but what you need to understand is that none of this needs to be true, these are just thoughts designed by your ego to keep you safe. Safe is good. But change means getting a little uncomfortable, going into the unknown, trying new things, and new things can be hard, which is why we like things to be the same and the ego is around to keep us safe.

However, if you want change, if you want things to be different or you want to just know you are improving, you have to try new things. And what better time is there than now?

The start of the year is perfect for starting new ways of doing things, that’s why so many people start the year with new years resolutions or goals; fresh year, fresh start.

So this year, I challenge you to implement some new things which I can honestly have honestly helped me to make better use of my time, get more done and reduce the stress I have felt.

5 things to Implement on your first week back!

  1. Routine

If you ever read, hear or listen to anything about successful people ad how they manage to achieve so much they always talk about establishing and sticking to a routine. Routine is great for so many reasons, it ensures you maximise time by having set things to do, you don’t waste time wondering what to do with the time you have, and your brain loves it. Routine means predictability, safety and no surprises, which means you brain is ready before you even start, and productivity is up.

  1. Establish a home time

Home time. The bell rings, all the students run out the door with their bags over their shoulders and you breathe a sigh of relief thinking: ‘Now I can get to work’. Your to-do list is long, you have parents to call and a meeting to go to. Home time for you is a long way off…

Home time though is really important, not just so you can go and be with your family, but so you can switch off, breathe easy and again, it’s routine. Before you eye roll and think it just isn’t possible, there is one more piece of advice I have. Before going home, make sure you have everything ready for tomorrow; resources made, photocopied and organised, day planned out and things ready to go. Everything else can wait, and you can go home.

  1. Make the most of the little bits of time you have – they add up

Time – the one thing we all want more of. Only, time really is plentiful, it is just how we use it that makes a difference. I often hear teachers say they don’t have enough time, that they haven’t had any time during the day to do anything. Yet, we always seem to have time for a coffee break, a chat in the playground or a visit to a colleague in the afternoon. Now I am not saying we shouldn’t do these things. All of these things are important, and you should do them every now and then, but do you need to do all 3 every day?

There are hidden bits of time here which you can use to the quick and easy jobs; have your coffee while marking homework, cut out resources over lunch with colleagues or use the afternoon conversation as a chance to get together and do some marking or change a display. All the little moments add up.

  1. Mindfulness and gratitude are a must

I work alot with teachers on mindfulness and gratitude. Whist they are common words at the moment and we talk about them to our students, pausing and applying them to ourselves isn’t as easy… But, both of these things are proven to help with stress, overwhelm and burnout; all things which teachers talk about.

I highly recommend using a gratitude journal or jar with your class and personally, writing 5 things a day you are grateful for, or adding notes to the jar as a class and reading them at the end of the year. Mindfulness is also a must to help with calming your mind, pausing and even getting to sleep; meditation apps (there are heaps), or videos on YouTube are great to use as a class or before bed. A great way to calm the mind and finally be at ease. Both of these things will have ripples into the following days and weeks (if done consistently) and make a huge benefit to how you and your students feel.

  1. Build relationships with EVERYONE

Schools are busy people; colleagues, staff, office people, parents, students… There are so many small communities in one. Building relationships with each group is key, that doesn’t mean everyone, but I would work on developing relationships with those who you are going to be connected to a lot throughout the year. Smile, ask questions, be polite, all these things are free but go along way. Before asking the office staff to do something for you, say hello and ask how they are, contact all your parents telling them something good about their child by the end of week 3, take time out of the first week to just chat to your students and really take an interest in them – all of these things are simple yet very affective and will set you up for the year ahead.

These 5 things are from my own personal first week back to school check list, I trust that by implementing these you will set yourself up for a successful 2019!