Posted in Uncategorized

Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

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The past few weeks have been a roller coaster. Are we teaching in person? Are we teaching remotely? A combination of the two? For how long? When? I’m pregnant; if I have to self-quarantine before having my baby, can I? Will I lose my job if I want to protect myself and my newborn’s life?

There is nothing in the world I want more than to be able to be in the classroom and give hugs and high-fives. This is not the reality we are living in, though. As I read through the requirements for in-person learning, I cried. Kids can’ t be close to each other; they can’t work with each other; they can’t share materials, etc. It seems scary and sad and not like school.

Luckily, we got the news that we would start the first quarter remote. Again, I’m pregnant, and I was terrified of being in a classroom and getting sick. There is so little known about the effects of COVID on pregnant women and newborns that I didn’t want to risk it. However, what came next were the comments in news stories about my district going remote. Yes, I do try to avoid the comment sections, but sometimes I cannot help myself. This was the most heartbreaking. Hearing that parents thought we weren’t doing our jobs. Some, including some senators in my state, thought they should be getting our pay for doing our jobs. Now, this wasn’t all parents, of course, but these voices were the loudest.

Here is the thing, since the school building closed in March, I’ve worked hard trying to connect with my students and create something they could learn from home. The trick was I had to develop things for students I knew wouldn’t have access to tech and the internet but also supply students who did with additional resources. We all knew that what happened at the end of last school year was not learning; it was survival.

Now, we are entering a new school year, and we know there has to be learning. We cannot let our kids continue without learning. So many teachers, myself included, have continued to work throughout the summer and even more so recently to try to figure out ways we could do this better should we have to be remote. Luckily, my school has put in a lot of money to ensure students can have technology at home to complete online learning. This will be my 7th year teaching at this school. I have always taught in the same classroom, mostly the same material, with a slight change last year. We were not tech-heavy, we barely used technology at the school. So, I am recreating six years’ worth of lessons, mostly from scratch. Last week I worked on a couple of lessons that could be done remotely and were interactive for students. It took roughly 5-7 hours to develop 2- 2 1/2 activities/lessons. This is for one of the grade levels I teach, and this does not include the actual teaching part. So for the parents who think teachers aren’t working right now, we are working incredibly hard. We aren’t sitting and sipping mimosas by a pool right now; I’m not watching shows on Netflix, I’m doing the best I can to provide for my students.
Now I know I can’t speak for all teachers here. I think the majority are working tirelessly, I know some probably are throwing in the towel, but they were doing that long before COVID-19 they just hid it well. I also know that there are a good majority of very supportive parents out there that know we are doing the best we can. It’s a scary, unpredictable time for all of us. It’s not convenient or even possible for some parents to stay home with their children, I get that, and I worry about that. That is a sign of a bigger broken system that wasn’t prepared for a pandemic. It is not a sign that schools are failing.

The best thing we can do in this situation is to try and pause, understand different perspectives, and stop the finger-pointing. That hasn’t helped anyone. We need to take care of each other the best that we can and get through this with grace, love, and patience. This isn’t forever. Teachers choose this career because we love what we do. It isn’t for the summers off; it isn’t for a paycheck, it’s because we love it. This is not where we thought we’d be; it’s not where we want to be. We want to be in the classroom with our kids doing hands-on projects, giving high-fives, and laughing together. But, we need to stay home to protect ourselves, families, and students. Sometimes what we want and need don’t align. Sometimes the things we need or want aren’t what is best for everyone. Occasionally, we have to make tough choices. Yet here we are trying to make the best of a hard situation and hoping that eventually we will be seen and understood.

Stay safe, friends.

Posted in Uncategorized

Why People Hate Yoga

Today, I was doing some yoga in my living room and about halfway through a thought popped into my brain. I remembered how before my yoga teacher training I HATED yoga, at least I thought I did. Then when the Breather for Change program popped up in 2018 I felt a very strong calling to go through the yoga teacher training (YTT). I don’t know why, but I have always felt this weird pull to complete yoga teacher training despite the fact that usually 20-30 minutes through a yoga class I want to roll up my mat and walk out. Every. Single. Time.

Even throughout the yoga teacher training, I kept thinking, “Why the hell am I here? I have no business being here.” Don’t get me wrong, Breathe for Change was one of the best experiences of my life and it was the only moment that I felt in complete alignment with everything. My anxiety decreased and I really felt happy and connected. That is not to say there weren’t moments where I was in complete self-doubt, because there were…constantly.

After the training, I didn’t jump into teaching yoga. I attempted to create classes for teachers at my school and my efforts were blocked. I also wasn’t pushing for it very hard. I was and still am working on my Master’s degree, teaching 5th (and now 6th) grade fulltime and then I started planning a wedding. To say that yoga fell by the wayside was an understatement. It became a nonexistent part of my life.  I didn’t even practice on my own. The few times I did practice that resentment returned.

Recently, I’ve been being called back to yoga. A little voice keeps telling me I need to practice and I need to teach. I started practicing again, sometimes at the gym and sometimes at home. The last time I was at the gym a woman my from my YTT was subbing for the normal instructor. I took this as my sign.

This morning as I was practicing, halfway through that feeling of “just stop, it’s too hard, you hate this” came back. As I continued through my flow I realized why. I’m not used to just being in my body and not thinking about every little thing. That yoga is slow and makes you feel every little muscle you are using. It makes you focus on your breath and be in the moment. You have to focus on the moment. My mind and body are used to going a million miles per minute and in yoga, I have to hit pause. I have to focus on myself. This is why yoga makes people uncomfortable and people hate it. We aren’t used to hitting pause and living in that exact moment. We don’t want to feel into our bodies too much, we want to live in our heads. If we move fast enough and keep our minds and bodies busy enough we don’t have to really feel much.

This is exactly why humans need yoga. Especially in the fast-paced Western world, we need to learn to be in one moment, focused. We need to feel into our bodies and listen to what we need. This is hard. I realize now though, that for the last two years (probably longer) my mind and body have been in constant motion and that’s why yoga is calling me. I’m not sure what this means or how this will manifest in my future, (the free teacher/community yoga class is still rolling around in my brain though) I just know I need to be more consistent with it and more patient with myself. That’s all yoga asks of us, to allow for patience, to hit pause, and be present.

Posted in About Me, Uncategorized

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

The past few months have been difficult for me. There have been a lot of highs and lows. I’m a full-time 5th-grade teacher which I love more than anything. I’m about to start my Master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy Studies. However, recently, I learned that I haven’t really taken care of myself all that well. I went to the doctor and learned that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and then I also had a cancer scare. Luckily, the abnormal cells were just inflamed cells. However, this made me re-evaluate how I was taking care of myself. I realized I was overworked, eating the wrong foods, not getting enough sleep and definitely stressed out.

I was also officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder which is exacerbated by PCOS and definitely exacerbated by the wrong foods and not having enough sleep.

This is what lead me to want to research how to take better care of myself and hopefully help other people take care of themselves. Whether you have some kind of illness or just want to feel better overall, hopefully, this blog will help you. I’m going to be posting my trials and tribulations and discussing what works and what doesn’t…for me. I’m not a nutritionist, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a fitness guru. I’m just the average human being, teaching smaller human beings and wanting to live a happier healthier life.

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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