The Magic Hat – Mid-Week Focus – Paying Attention to Yourself!

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for…Mid-Week Focus!

Mid-Week Focus is all about quick and easy ways to approach teaching to keep kids on task in any instructional setting.

Let’s share insight and practical ideas. Let’s blend fun with function AND necessity…as in the necessity to pay attention to ourselves so that we can continue to meet the challenges of teaching!

Occasionally I “bump into” a long-time acquaintance when we’re race-walking together around the track at our gym. I always ask Sally, “How are you?” Every time I utter that Q, she responds in a monotone voice, “Same old. Same old.”

Maybe it’s the creative teacher in me, but when I hear her reply, expected as it might be over time, I cringe. Not just at the thought of her being a teacher (which she is not) in a classroom of hungry children (literally or figuratively). I cringe because race-walking is not only exercise time for me; it’s creative-thinking time for teaching and “same old, same old” sounds uninspired. 

When teaching is on my mind and I hear Sally’s voice, I think to myself (I’m just being candid here, no judgment intended) that it’s best that her profession is other than education.

Sally’s emotionless response suggests (to me anyway) that she’s not paying enough attention to herself! She doesn’t seem to be fueling her own fire for life. I’m not trained in many forms of analysis but it’s clear to me that those of us who do teach need to pay attention to our own needs, especially at the outset of a new school semester or year.

I hope that I can help you “fuel up” with the few following tips (Race-walking is optional)…

1. De-stress A.S.A.P.Always  Say  A  Poem – Medical research actually shows that reciting rhythmic verse slows your heart rate and helps calm you. Try saying aloud this silly poem that I made up for a laugh…

Oh, that’s what you want me to do,

do you?

I would if I could, but I can’t, so I won’t.

Please, please don’t look at me that way,

Let’s handle it tomorrow; give me at least one more day!

2. Follow my four-step process to view your teaching world with new eyes. (I outlined this process to use with students in Monday’s Attentionology blog, Set a New Table for Learning, 08/06/12.) I’ve adapted it here for us – teachers…

STOP –Turn everything off. Breathe. Excuse yourself from your circumstances. Go to a quiet place in your mind. Where do you wish you could be? Why are you where you are? Pretend you “just landed” at your school, like I just “landed” for a week with the students in my blog pic below.

The best part of teaching is the inspiration we generate and draw.

What does it look like with you there? Do you feel an inspiring connection with the kids you teach?

REVIEW – What have you accomplished in teaching to date? What works best; what doesn’t? Are your plans for the new school year still on target to meet your professional and personal goals?

REFLECT – Reflection is personal. Breathe again. Listen to yourself and pay attention! Is what’s been best about teaching still wonderful to you? Are changes in order? Are you excited about the upcoming semester or school year?

RENEW – Energize yourself by planning – make that scheduling –  something special that makes you feel pampered. Picture the faces of children whose eyes have lit up because of your teaching. Breathe more and remember what a great teacher you are!

Stop by next Wednesday for more Mid-Week Focus. On Monday Attentionology will be back with more magic.

All the best,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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