Monday, July 27, 2015

Year of NO

So I've decided that this is my "Year of No".

There.  I've said it.  Typed it.  Committed to it.

To preface all that I'm about to get in to, I have to first touch on last school year.  It was my toughest year teaching.  BUT it was by far my most rewarding.  A complete oxymoron where I felt on top of the world while at the same time being a moment away from breaking down at any point.  I'm not a crier.  Never have been.  But I could feel stress tears bubbling behind my eyes all day, every day.

I was simply overcommitted.  Overcommitment isn't new to me.  It's my whole life.  The problem is, I was overcommitted to things I didn't really love.  To give a quick run down, here's what my responsibilities looked like:

School level: Teacher, Testing Coordinator, Data Coach, Teacher Leader, Student Teacher Mentor, Webmaster, Secondary Tech Coach (unofficial, but I used to be Tech Coach and I've found that's a position you never really shed), Team Leader, After-School Tutor

District level: School Websites Coordinator, Teacher Websites Coordinator, Curriculum Post-er, Math Textbook Committee, Technology Committee

State level: Innovative Educator Network (hope to explain this soon)

Personal level (like that's a thing!): Wife, Foster Parent, Active Church Member, Youth Sponsor, Ladies' Retreat Coordinator, Friend (though a poor one, at best), TeachersPayTeachers Seller

And even as I look over this list, I know I'm leaving off things!  I don't write all of this to pat myself on the back.  It's really quite the opposite.  I'm a little disgusted with myself to be honest because while I did balance all of these, my heart hurts to wonder how I could have done any of these things well with so much going on.

None of these things are bad.  I am just not passionate about all of them.

So, back to my first statement, I've decided that this is my "Year of No".

Just to be clear, I'm not saying no to everything.  I'm saying no to tasks and responsibilities I'm not passionate about or don't bring me joy.  Testing Coordinator, believe it or not, does not bring me joy.  I'm dumping it along with many others.

I'm still saying yes to plenty and even adding a couple of new items on my plate.  But here's what I'm saying yes to:

YES to loving my students!
YES to personalized learning for my students!
YES to helping build capacity in other teachers!
YES to building relationships!

While I do live overcommitted, I want only to commit to these things.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


I did it!  I actually did it!

Ever since hearing about a seller at the TeachersPayTeachers Conference last week who works on products while getting exercise at her treadmill desk, I have been like a dog with a bone!  Talk about the ultimate multi-tasker!

I finished "building" my treadmill desk (directions here) yesterday and was looking forward to trying it out all day.  Clint did ask where this fell with my recent conviction to honor the Sabbath and not work, but if I'm this excited about it, I don't think it qualifies as work!

Treadmill desk made with a folding table and PVC pipes

I'll admit that I am NOT an exercise enthusiast.  Clint is an amazing runner who's completed 2 marathons to date and dozens of half marathons.  I go to races to cheer him on and feel inspired when I see 80-year-olds crossing the finish line.  I've come home countless times determined to become a runner.

I get on all of the gear and start running, thinking "I can do this ... I can do this ... I can do this" ... and before I hit a half mile it turns to "I CAN'T do this!"

So today is a victory.  As I worked on my Genius Hour Interactive Notebook (to be posted soon), I completed 71 minutes of WALKING and hit 2.41 miles.  Walking at a break-neck speed of 2.  With 0 incline.

But it's a start!