January 1 is a “let’s get to it” day. Last week, I set my reading goal for the year. I created my January bullet journal pages. I also did laundry, but don’t worry, that’s not just a new year’s thing.
Now it’s time for my #oneword which has become a yearly tradition (see my last three #oneword posts below). I choose #oneword because it provides me with a reflection framework. As I’ve mentioned in this space, I’m a terrible procrastinator and setting myself the challenge of choosing #oneword helps me focus.
I also love the brevity of #oneword. Less is more.
This year feels like a gateway year. My career as a school board employee is coming to an end sometime in the next few years, and I’m thinking about what is next. I want to investigate what it possible. I want to let ideas macerate and mingle.
I’ve always wanted to work on my doctorate – is now the time? What do I want my mark to be on this world? How can I best use my strengths and interests in this part of my life?
This quote from Steve Jobs just appeared in my Twitter timeline and it feels right to use it.
“And most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
That’s what I want to explore this year.
Here’s a big shout out to Julie Balen, Ontario educator, who is leading #onewordONT this year through her Google+ Community OneWordOnt Blogs. Join and share your #oneword.
Previous #oneword posts:
GRACE – #oneword for 2017
ESSENTIAL – #oneword for 2016
One Word for 2015
I like to do a little roundup of which posts generated the most traffic each year. It’s always interesting, a little like my #bestnine on Instagram. What others like best is not always what I thought.
Here are the top three of 2017.
My Leadership Inquiry: the new Problem of Practice
Thanks to the work of Steven Katz and Lisa Ain Dack, as described in The Intelligent, Responsive Leader, I describe my own leadership inquiry as I work to become a better leader.
A Simple and Powerful Leadership Truth
This was an insight for me, and may be for others too? I try to keep it in mind every day.
Let’s Have Classrooms Full of Books!
Inspired by visits to classrooms and also the work of Pernille Ripp, a danish-american educator.
What about you – do your year end reflections include a “best of” list?
Education is a caring profession. Educators I know chose it because they care about others, and especially about kids. If we only go into teaching because we are fascinated by the subject, then burn out happens. It’s great to be inspired by the content of what you’re teaching; we also have to be inspired by our students.
Image from https://www.qcs.co.uk/big-c-compassion/
I’ve seen educators go above and beyond hundreds of times. I know educators who cry for their students after the day is over and who wonder what else they can do to reach that child whose life is difficult and whose behaviour is so challenging. I’ve had conversations where educators fight against their own biases to understand the perspectives of students who may not be like them. I truly believe that this is the work of education. We have to care or our jobs become meaningless.
And yet, how to care without depleting our compassion banks? How to care without running out of the energy to care for ourselves and our families? In the past few years, we have come to understand that compassion fatigue is real and can affect educators in extreme cases.
The lesson for me is that we need to care for ourselves in order to keep caring for others. As I’ve written before in this space, I am an introvert. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about people; it means that not enough time alone can lead to lack of energy or feeling overwhelmed. When I feel depleted, it’s time to retreat a little from the world and spend some time doing things I love. It might mean that I clear my personal or work calendar for a couple of days. It might be spending time with someone in a quiet space with few expectations so I can recharge. I find that if I don’t, things can get worse and I lose empathy and patience.
Sometimes caring for ourselves means seeking out help with a professional who can act as a sounding board and counsellor. This is nothing to be ashamed of. I know how helpful this can be from personal experience, and I applaud those with the courage to take that first step.
What about you? When you feel that you don’t have more to give, what do you do?