Why asking for help is the best teaching strategy you will ever use!

I was recently asked how I got so good at teaching, how I know so much and why I have a large suite of skills in the teaching and learning space.

Apart from this being a massive compliment, it was also a bit of stump for me. How? I don’t really know… I have over 12 years experience, surely that’s why?

I sat with this for a while, playing the questions over and over in my head, when I finally realised how…

In my first years of teaching, there was no denying I was eager to please and ready to do my best. I certainly didn’t know what I know now, and there was so much I had to learn as a new teacher, and that’s exactly why I did. I learnt.

At every moment possible I asked for help. I was constantly in my mentor’s office asking for help on this and that, having her in my classroom model lessons for me and help me, set up groups. I was like a sponge, and probably like that annoying student who never stops asking questions too.

Asking for help was the best thing I could have done as a new teacher. I learnt so much, was keen and eager and certainly was not afraid to fail.

Asking for help can sometimes make you think people will judge you, making you wonder if you are good enough, or that you don’t know what you are doing when you’re should or that you’re failing at teaching.

This isn’t the case.

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. It sees you improve and be even better. It shows other you too are here to learn, grow and improve. Not because you aren’t good enough, but because learning never ends, for our students and us.

Be brave. Ask for help.

Lean on those around you. Ask your colleagues and teacher friends, or the teacher you don’t really know but who everyone says is amazing, ask your school leader or principal, ask in your network or neighbouring school. The great thing about teachers is that they are always willing to help.

What do you need help in?
Who can help you?
Can I help you?

Asking for help is the best thing you can do, no matter where it is you are needing help, or where you want to improve.

I’m exhausted… and I am not sure how I will survive the week.

There are moments where I feel absolutely exhausted… this week is one of them

I started the week thinking Monday was Friday, so I knew it was going to be a long one..

I feel like I could sleep for days, if left alone for too long I will sleep, if my warm, cosy, puffy winter jacket is in just the right spot it’s like a pillow making it very easy to sleep standing up, I am in trouble. This isn’t tired. It’s exhausted.

I haven’t run a marathon and no, I didn’t compete in CrossFit games recently, I am worn down, overwhelmed and in need of a time out.

You would think as an experienced teacher (who now works in leadership), a trained life coach and a coach for teachers I would have it all sorted… but I don’t. Not even close.

I am still human under all this, and sometimes the human in me is loud and clear.

It doesn’t matter how much self-development I do, how many books I read or even the content I write and share with you, sometimes everything I know just doesn’t stop from the human part of me taking over. And why would it? Sometimes overwhelm is just that, total overwhelm, and tired is tired, and too many things on your list is a reality, combine all this together though, and you very quickly get exhaustion.

But here’s the thing, what I have right now is key to making a change, making it more manageable and allowing it to pass without pushing me into the ground and stomping all over me, and that is awareness. Awareness is the first step to being able to manage any sort of overwhelm or exhaustion.

Now, this goes beyond just saying I am exhausted, it actually means doing something about it.

Saying I am exhausted but keeping the same level of intensity going is just not good for my health, I know that, so I have to use this awareness to make some small changes to get through this totally human moment.

What does this look like?

  1. Nutrition right now is key. It is so easy to fall into a trap of eating rubbish because you feel like rubbish. Don’t do this, it only fuels the fire. (OK – complete honesty here, there has been some chocolate eaten, emotions eaten, and more chocolate, but I am working on it).
  2. Stay hydrated. Water isn’t just for those who sweat, it is for all of us, especially those of us who are facing a tough time mentally. Water is just as important for the mental sweats as it is for the physical sweats.
  3. Move. I know you are tired, I am too, but the importance of moving to keep blood flowing, oxygen circulating and energy up is a must. I am aiming for 8000-10,000 steps daily at the moment. It is hard, but it makes such a difference in how I feel mentally.
  4. Sleep. No matter how much you have on your plate you must sleep. I aim for around 8hrs a night no matter what. Yes I could keep working and sleep less, but I know in the long run this doesn’t work, it only makes things seem harder, take longer and makes me way more emotional than I need to be.
  5. Let go of some things. You can’t do it all. What can you put off, say no to, or let go of just a little while you get through this time ( and no it can’t be any of the above)? For me, I look at all the tasks I have to do and make an agreement with myself to put some on hold and come back to them later, I say no to last-minute meetings and make it clear that I am working on other tasks at the moment. Be transparent. People understand.

It is these 5 things that I implement as soon as I notice my body starting to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. You will notice these are mostly related to myself and my own self-care. Why? Because what I know is, is if I don’t look after me, I can’t look after anyone else. I am my first priority and you should be yours too.

Make time for you – 5 easy ways to start now!

Time for you is just as important as the time you give anyone else.

NEVER FORGET THIS.

Just 20 – 30 minutes a day of self-care a day is enough to allow you to press pause on the outside world, connect in and re-energise in order to keep going.

I reluctantly use the phrase ‘keep going’, but it is what so many of us tell ourselves; ‘just keep going’. So we do. We just keep going, and before we know it, we are more tired than normal, unable to cope with even the most basic tasks, making little errors that we normally wouldn’t, snapping at family and friends, becoming emotional and eventually not coping at all. We have all been here.

Spending time taking care of you is what allows you to move beyond this, and rather than keep going, you keep living.

Not sure how to spend those 30 minutes? Here are 5 things to do now that are about taking care of you, help connect with your soul and allow you to live in a positive and flourishing way.

 

  1. Spend time in nature

The outdoors, fresh air, sunshine and living things are known to boost the happy chemicals in your brain, as well as give you a sense of calm. Go for a walk, find a nice park and sit on a bench and breathe in the fresh air, watch the sunrise or set. Take yourself outside and let nature do its work, it is a natural and free resource waiting for you.

  1. Journal

Our brain can be one big complicated mess sometimes. It can have us thinking, saying and doing things that we don’t even realise or that later we may not be so happy with. Journaling is a great tool to get deep into the layers of our brain and thinking space to discover what is really going on. Take a pen and write. Ask yourself these questions:

What is going on for me right now?

What is bothering me the most?

How would I like it to be?

What changes can I make right now?

How will this make me feel?

  1. Smile

Smile. Laugh. Share a joke. The simple act of smiling is infectious and known to boost your mood, reduce stress and can very quickly change your start. The beauty of this is that it also has ripple effects which last long after the initial smile.

  1. Have a hobby

A hobby. Something you do just for you, that bring you joy, is not connected to work, and something that you 100% choose and enjoy. Painting, getting lost in a great novel, gardening, hiking, knitting, anything that is just for you. Hobbies are ways to reduce stress, improve mood and allow you to get out of your comfort zone by doing something you enjoy and taking you away from the business if the day.

  1. Do nothing

Yes, nothing. No playing on social media, no TV, no book. NOTHING. A cup of tea or your favourite drink and do nothing. Why? Because at times our body needs space to heal, to escape the chaos of life, to just be. Use this time to sit and be. If you find your mind wanders too much, use some calming music to help you, some meditation music, or try a guided meditation to assist in calming your mind and to get in the space of nothing.

 

There you have it. My 5 tips for taking care of you for 20-30 minutes a day. Start with one of these, and if every day is too much right now, try every other day, and build up from there. You deserve it.

I’d love to know what other self-care tips you have too. Let me know via my FB page https://www.facebook.com/amygreentheteacherscoach/ 

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.

I didn’t open my laptop for 2 weeks. Here’s what I learnt…

Recently I went to NYC on a holiday. Now, this was lifetime dream, dream come true, once in a lifetime kind of thing. I’m not new to travelling. I have lived overseas, London specifically, spent weekends in Paris and weeks relaxing in Thailand and backpacking Egypt. What I have found though, as I get older, travelling is still easy, but switching off is not.

I have become accustomed to packing for all kinds of ‘what if I feel like doing work’ moods I may encounter while on holiday, which is by far very different from my minimal, throw it in the bag, backpacking days. This means I take with me my laptop, tablet, kindle, phone with all the apps, notepads, journal, coloured pens, a few highlighters, even post-it notes!

This is great right? It means I am prepared to read, write, study, make notes, plan, brainstorm, send an email, all of it, whenever I like. Actually, it is not so great. This also means I am continually staring at reminders of the work ‘I should be doing’. You see, whilst I think I am prepared for the opportunity to do work if it arises, what I realised I was unconsciously doing was putting pressure on myself to do work when I really should be on holiday. See, not so great.

We all know there is reason for actually having a holiday, you get to relax, see new things, be with people you love, sleep in, go on adventures, eat great food and sometimes do nothing, but if your laptop is always there in the corner, looking at you and giving you gentle reminders that work still exists, your ability to be fully on holiday may be interrupted more than you think. The glance out of the corner of your eye, seeing it as you walk past, opening it only to tap on a few keys, all this does is increase the pressure you are putting on yourself to do work, and this is not a holiday at all! This was me, every holiday for the last few years.

You see, there is a difference between being on a holiday physically, and being on a holiday mentally. All teachers need a mental holiday as much as they need a physical holiday, you and I included.

The week before I went to NYC I got sick, incredibly virus-like, couldn’t get off the couch, open my laptop or even speak sick. It was awful. But it was also a sign, I needed a mental holiday as much as I needed a physical holiday. Even though I was physically sick, I knew this was my body’s way of telling me to stop. I was mentally exhausted, I had been working too much, too hard. I knew this because my last few weeks of self-talk had been something like ‘only 2 more weeks to go, you can do it’, ‘hang in there, 8 days left’. Only I couldn’t hang in there. I was done, and my body made sure of it.

During this week I knew I needed to make some changes. The first step was to ensure I would go on my holiday and actually have a holiday, mentally and physically, no laptop. This was actually suggested to me a few days before by my coach, but I just wasn’t ready to hear it. Now though, I was listening.

So, I made the decision. I was going on holiday, no laptop, no work, no email. Only books and a journal. That’s it. That’s all I took.

Now, this was hard for me. Really hard. At the start of my trip, I felt like something was missing, I even panicked a little going through airport security because I couldn’t find it in my bag, only to remember it was safe and sound at home. I felt a little sense of excitement at this moment, I was actually going on a real holiday, no laptop, no work, no email.

Boarding the plane was also a reminder of the lack of laptop, it wasn’t there to protect or lift out as I put my luggage overhead. It was at this moment something strange happened. Sitting down for taking off, I felt my body fill with some sort of sense of sensation, relief, calm, my body was releasing all the tension and stress I had been carrying with me about the fear of not taking my laptop. For the first time in quite a few years, I was going on holiday just for me, to be with my partner, to have fun, laugh, sleep, live, love, no laptop, work or email, and I knew everything was going to be OK.

It was in this moment I realised I had been missing out on so much. The rush, the pressure, the ‘what’s next?’, this is what I had been focusing on. Not the now, the present, the moment. I had been completely missing the now.

It was here I made a decision, a commitment to myself, give myself more time and space, to be me, to laugh and have fun, to read, to love, to be, to be present. I am not saying this is easy, it surely is a skill, and something I am working on, but without this thought, you are just going through life, and not actually being in it. Awareness is the first step.

Be in your life.

So, did I survive? Yes, I did. Everything was just as I left it when I returned, apart from a few more emails, nothing drastic though, nothing I couldn’t handle, the only thing difference was me. Me. Committing to change my life to be in it, not rushing through it. Being present in the now, knowing what each moment is for, living, loving and being in my life.

I know for some of you this may seem hard, and as I shared, it was for me too, but the thought of missing out on your life is harder. Put your laptop away, make time for you, set time aside to really be present at the moment, build the skill until it is a habit, until it is you.

Need help, I’m here with you. Reach out. Let’s get your life back.

Mention this blog for your free strategy session NOW!  

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.

5 things to do on school holidays so you actually get a holiday, and get your work done too!

Holidays are nearly here, we have been waiting for this, counting down even, yet the holidays as we know will be gone before we even lift those books to mark into the house.

Making a plan for holidays is as essential as planning your day, if not holidays end and you feel like you need another holiday just to get everything done.

So can you make sure you get the most out of your holidays, feel rested but also like you have achieved what you intended?

Here are my 10 tips for making the most out of holidays:

  1. Make a list (actually 2)

Holidays are about 2 things; relaxing and getting stuff done. The best way to ensure you get both of these things done is to make a list of everything you want to achieve. Why 2 lists? One for school related stuff and one for home/life-related stuff. If it is not on the list, it most likely won’t happen, or will loom over you when you are trying to relax and enjoy your time off.

 

  1. Plan out when the stuff on the list will happen. This is a simple case of ‘plan to fail, fail to plan’. I find there are two ways people approach this; either it is getting the list stuff done in the first few days and taking the rest of the time to relax, or relaxing first and using the last few days of holidays to get stuff done. There are also a small few who like to do something each day; maybe first thing in the morning or last thing at night when everyone else is asleep. For me, I like to have holidays all to myself so I work hard the week before school ends and once I finish up on the last day I am done. This is purely a decision you have to make for you and how you best work.

 

  1. Schedule the items on your list. It’s one thing to have a plan and know morning you are going to do something, or you have 3 days before you are off on a cruise so you must get everything done, but without a schedule, you are leaving most of it to chance and from my experience, this just doesn’t work
  2. You need a schedule for what you will do when, and this needs to be done in advance. Break the time you have into 30minute chunks and schedule in exactly what to do when, This way when you get started you know exactly what you are doing and you don’t have to worry about what to do once you start. No schedule is a recipe for procrastination and a great way to get distracted and end up doing nothing. Once you have your schedule you will be sure to be ticking things off your list.
  1. Add time to relax and take time off to your schedule. It is easy to think we have plenty of time in holidays to relax and recharge, but it can easily happen that holidays are gone and we haven’t really stopped at all. Plan in time for time off. It is that easy.

 

  1. Decide what you will do for self-care and relaxing. It is easy to say you want to do it, and even set aside time for it, but if you don’t know what you are doing, it is likely you will end up doing nothing or even worse, school work or housework because you just don’t know what to do and you can’t sit still! So what do you want to do? A holiday or short break somewhere, read a book, get a massage, learn a new skill or take up a craft (I love time for macramé). It doesn’t matter what it is, but it does matter you know what it is, and you put this in your schedule.

 

There you have it, 5 steps to ensuring you get the most out of your holidays, get your school work done, home/life stuff done and also make time for self-care.

 

Whatever you do these holidays, make sure you enjoy them, you deserve it.

Only You Decide Your Self Care and Well-being

There is so much talk about self-care at the moment.

Self-care Sunday is booming, mindful Monday and soul Saturday are close behind; but really, what all this boils down to, is taking care of yourself, putting yourself first and honouring yourself enough to know that you need to put you first, pressing pause on life when you feel you can’t go on, and actually making time to look after you just as much as you do others.

Yoga, walks on the beach, meditation, massage, drinking herbal tea and self-help books, these seem to be what is most recommended as a means of self-care, but actually, for what it is worth, I don’t agree that this is for everyone.

Self-care isn’t just yoga and deep breathing while you watch the sunset, it is so much more, actually, it is whatever you want it to be. 

No one can decide your self-care, it is simply doing whatever it is for you, whatever helps you relax, tune out, feel less stressed, enjoy life and have fun. This can actually be done in so many ways. For some people, it is yoga (me included), for my partner it is 3-hour cycle  (I couldn’t think of anything worse and he hates yoga). For my brother, it is playing Dungeons and Dragons (OK this might be worse than a 3hr cycle), my other brother is learning bass guitar and my BFF is all about a whole day of binging on Netflix. All of these things, as different as they are, and as unique to the person they might be, are all self-care. My point is, self-care is actually whatever you want it to be.

Reading, craft, hiking, reading a book, mani-pedis, playing a team sport; just about anything at all, as long as it is good for your soul, clams you down, relaxes you, helps you with overwhelm and stress and just makes you feel better, is self-care.

As long as what you do doesn’t hurt or harm others in any way, what you choose to do is up to you. BUT… if you are shopping to make yourself feel better and have money issues this is not self-care, if you are continually eating high-sugar processed foods to comfort you, this is not self-care, if you are watching hours of TV each night because you are tired or stressed, this is also not self-care. Your self-care has to be GOOD for you, good for your soul and good for those around you. Spending money you should be saving is not good, eating rubbish food is not good, lazing on the couch for hours is not good. You must choose your self-care with this is mind.

Once you know what self-care is for you, don’t wait for your day to be rubbish to try it, or for you to feel super stressed or overwhelmed before you do anything, the trick is to build self-care into your day and weekly plan. Schedule it in just like you schedule in time for coffee with friends and family dinner on Sunday night; you are important too, so schedule you in.

Once you have scheduled in regular time for your self-care, you will find that you are reaping the benefits more than you thought you would and that your days may not be as stressful as they used to be. Self-care is about filling your cup first, and when you do this, you will have much more to give to others.