What’s Left?


You can’t pour from an empty cup!   ~unknown

Last week I was talking to a friend, also an educator/administrator and she was overwhelmed at work, but pushing through what would be one more grueling week before the much needed break.  I asked her what she was doing to take care of herself.  She had no answer. 
I simply told her what we all know to be true as educators.  “You can’t pour from an empty cup. You have to take care of yourself first.”
In life we know that taking care of responsibilities comes before taking care of ourselves.  It shouldn’t be that way, but it often times is.  In work, many people have the same perspective. 
Education is no different, but it morphs into an extreme form of “self-neglect” termed “burn out”. 
Pouring from or attempting to pour from an empty cup is dangerous because when there isn’t anything left to give, you begin to borrow from an unavailable place. 
Self-care is the most essential aspect of teaching because it promotes a sense of maintenance that is unmatched.  I encourage each of you to take a moment and look at one part of your day that could be spent focusing on something other than work.  If you are not sure when that is, carve out these moments. 
Never be ashamed to spend a day doing nothing during a break or holiday.  Many times that “nothing” is the exact thing you need to recharge or reboot.  Education is a difficult journey because as students borrow pieces of our heart, it has the potential to leave us in pieces.  Work diligently on refilling your cup!

What are you leaving in 2018?


I was reading a small blog the other day and a teacher recounted her visit to another school.  She ended by saying, “I borrowed a pen from another teacher and I didn’t have to give up anything in return.  What a great feeling.  I wonder if our kids will ever experience that.” 
I didn’t spend a lot of time reflecting on it until I began sharpening what seemed like the hundredth pencil of the year. Many times we experience haste when we have to lend or give students yet another pencil because they have broken, lost, or discarded the pencil they “just had”.  While I was sharpening and reflecting, I thought of one thing that I should give up in 2019.  That thing is pencil or pen accountability. 
Yes, it’s incredibly important for our students to be held responsible for their supplies and it is certainly a waste of resources to continue giving students pencils day in and day out, but the most essential question remains. Do they need the pencil?  Yes! They have to have it in order to complete the work and we want the work done.  So, we have to give up the pencil. 
It seems like the simplest task, but for many educators, it’s where they draw the imaginary line in the sand.  In 2019, my goal is to just hand over the pencil.  I encourage you to look at one ritual that becomes more of a chore each year.  Examine how you can change your mentality in reference to this one thing.  Let’s challenge ourselves to be better.  What can you leave in 2018?   

The Harvest…



This semester is as crucial as last semester.  During the previous semester, educators were tasked with laying foundational skills and now, after activating prior knowledge, we must enhance our students’ abilities to retain information and problem solve.  It’s now time to receive the harvest of the seeds we’ve sown over the last few months.  Let’s get ready to deliver on our promises and change some lives! 

Happy New Year!