Stephanie Dorsey: Is this something prioritized as something high, or is it just something you created in your head that’s a high priority? So like looking at that trigger and asking yourself those specific questions. How can I better approach things when those triggers happen?
[00:07:52] Vicki Davis: Okay. So first, you had to prioritize yourself and study those wellness routines. The second is understanding your actual [00:08:00] stress triggers, which we all must understand. Cope with them appropriately. I also journal. Journaling has been essential to my life, and I highly recommend that. What’s your third?
Step 3. Learn Mindfulness Activities
[00:08:11] Stephanie Dorsey: Mindfulness. I know we say this to students. We’re always like, “teach mindfulness, you might not know it now, but you will know it.” So we teach kids and talk like that all the time, but we’ll do we practice what we preach? One thing about mindfulness -and I have a hard time with this – like my husband, loves yoga. He loves it. I wouldn’t say I like yoga, but I love meditation.
And meditation is a great way to refocus yourself. So I took the Staying Present: Mindfulness for Better Teaching and Learning course. And it taught me a lot of really cool techniques that I was like, “Nah, that’s not for me. And I don’t want to meditate. I don’t want to practice my breathing.”
I found mindfulness breathing is a great strategy, like taking in those deep breaths.
[00:08:52] Vicki Davis: is it in, through your nose, or in, through your mouth?
[00:08:54] Stephanie Dorsey: I am a mouth breather, so I was like, I can’t. I always feel like I’m holding [00:09:00] my breath. So it taught you how to breathe in through your nose and then out through your mouth. So it was like that and doing it in three minutes, and then this other one I did was with music where it was like, you made these sounds with your breathing, and it was all through your nose.
And so it’s just different techniques and when to do it, and I was thinking, oh, I should do breathing techniques to help me sleep. Breathing techniques are better for you, like in the morning or right before you’re doing a strenuous activity, preparing and refocusing you. It reenergizes you. I was doing Becoming a Calm and Happy Teacher. And one of the videos showed breathing which they could do with students. The video authors talked about teachers using it. It said you don’t do this particular exercise before sleep.
“Okay, I won’t do it before sleep,” I said.
And I did, and I was wide awake; I’m like, I finally got energy now. I didn’t have it all day!
And, it’s your self-talk. So, this means mindfulness of talking, for example, trying to think of three positives in your day. And I even make post-it notes on my desk.
I still do that too. And I do post it’s of like[00:10:00] things that I hear from others or something will make me laugh. I can remember later, just something that keeps you in that mindset of not looking at the new. So let’s focus on the positive and it’s hard at times.
[00:10:11] Vicki Davis: no, but mindfulness is essential and understanding how to breathe. And these are things you can use with students.
For example, when my students stress with tests, I’ll come in, and they’ll say, “Mrs. Davis, will you do that relaxation thing?”
And I’ll do the relaxation breathing exercises. And they’ll be like, “oh, I feel so much better!”
We can teach the kids relaxation techniques when we take a class and learn how to do it ourselves. Okay. So third one is learning mindfulness activities. What is our fourth?
Step 4. Pause and Reflect Before Saying “Yes.”
[00:10:35] Stephanie Dorsey: The fourth one I have is the pause to take time and reflect. Pause to think and look at saying “no” kindly to people.
Like, we’re “yes” people as teachers.
So you’ll need to ask yourself, “what does this person need? How else can this person’s needs be met, and how can I support this person to have that need met?”
So I started doing this because I’m a yes girl. So I would say, “oh, of course, I can do that. [00:11:00] I’ll lunch with the student and have them make up that test.”
And then that way you don’t have to worry about it later in the week with the students. But remember, who does that benefit? Does that benefit the student who needs a break? It would be best if you had a break at lunch, too. Is the student even ready for that test? Is it meeting their needs to take a test after they’d been out sick?
So start thinking about the actual task and setting those boundaries in your mind. As yourself, “Is this okay to say no right now?”
Cause that’s the biggest thing. Like we, as teachers, want to support each other, but pausing and reflecting is really about listening to what the actual needs are. And then I like to say, what can I think about it?
Can we come back and talk about this? I need time to see does this fit into my day. So not always being reactive of yes, I’ll do it and not think about how is it going to impact your day when you say yes,
[00:11:49] Vicki Davis: we have to say “no.” One thing for me is I had to realize that if I say “yes” and I do not have the time to do it, I’m lying. And I’m [00:12:00] not keeping promises to somebody, and that’s not good. And if we’ve already covered. To ourselves, to other tasks, we can’t say yes to somebody else. That’s just not something we can do. Okay. So that’s a crucial thing.
What’s our fifth?
Step 5. Be clearly intentional.
[00:12:14] Stephanie Dorsey: So I want to discuss clear intentions.
So, take a few moments to think about your plan for the day. How will you show up to things? Understand that keeping the structure of your day is vital. Know when you will do something. Then, be mindful of your intention before and after those interactions.
So clear intentions are a way to help reduce that stress and to you on track.
I like to stay on track. I don’t, people might disagree with that, but I think at times, we can be thrown for the day. Like we have intentions for today that I’m going to grade this assignment, and I’m not bringing it home.
And then again, if someone comes into my office and wants to have a chat, I don’t want to be disrespectful. So I’m going to listen and [00:13:00] I will be there for my colleague because community is important. But at the same time, now, I set myself back. So, now, I’m like, oh, do I stay after school later? Or do I come in earlier?
So, understand your commitment to your day, like how you see your day? And can you commit to that? And that is that sustainable. So with clear intent, I like to tell people to remind themselves of that: what was it you wanted to do before and during that interaction.
[00:13:25] Vicki Davis: That’s fantastic. Okay.
So what’s our last one.
6 – Support Each Other and Let Each Other Know It is OK to Ask for Help When You’re Struggling
[00:13:28] Stephanie Dorsey: I think it’s essential that we not only understand that we’re in this together like we’re all going through this. The teachers look at each other and support each other. And we know that the outside is not always looking at us in the same way. And to understand that it’s to ask for help.
There’s this excellent activity I learned. That is, staying present is how you work with your colleagues. So if they tell you something, it’s not taking that burden and putting it [00:14:00] back on you.
Like this beach ball activity, we did.
So like you hand me the beach ball. Instead, I’m helping you get the beach ball off your back and out. And maybe I’m helping you by directing you in the right direction, like, “We both have this presentation. I know that you’re saying your part is tough to do right now. Do you want to switch?” Problem-solve support your colleagues. Please don’t take on their responsibilities, but maybe help them adjust what those responsibilities are. Again, we don’t put more on your plate, but let’s be there for our colleagues.
And I also think as a community; we look from the top-down, right? If our leaders are there for us and taking those times right. To come into our classroom and be intentional, with their feedback, that’s helpful teachers, we’d like to have a voice. When we’re given and given things without input, that’s a huge piece too.
So thinking about the community itself, it’s all the parties and how we all were together. It’s from the secretary who helps you with your field trip, how do you make her life good? Does get overwhelmed every [00:15:00] day? So I think remembering that we’re all in it for the same purpose and the same passion, and if we can support each other, that’s important to us.
[00:15:08] Vicki Davis: So teachers, this episode will be a bit longer than 10 minutes, but it’s an important topic. And Stephanie, I’ll have you mention some classes teachers can take related to self-care. And again, this is, of course, with advancement courses where I take my class.
[00:15:26] Stephanie Dorsey: the courses I talked about are the ones I’ve taken.
So I’ve taken the following:
[00:15:41] Vicki Davis: Those are some great classes, and these are some great tips. So thank you, Stephanie. So, educators, as we look towards the next school year setting those boundaries living life differently.
I know I am. I’ve had more than a wake-up call that if I’m going to have this profession, I’ve got to prioritize [00:16:00] myself.
And I’m the only one who can say yes or no for myself. So if I end up with too much on my plate, it’s my fault. And yes, there have been times that I’ve had to sit down and have conversations with leaders and say, “Hey, this is what I’m handling.
And it feels like too much. What is important to you? That is on my list.”
And if they say “everything” – that’s happened to me before– they say “everything is necessary.” And that was when I looked for a different school because it was not sustainable. It’s for me to exist in the world and do as much as possible, but I love teaching.
Thank you so much, Stephanie, for this conversation. I hope this will help. So many of our teachers are listening from around the world. Thanks, Stephanie.
Thank You Advancement Courses, Today’s Sponsor.
In today’s show, you learned more about taking care of yourself. You also learned about many courses from Advancement Courses, which has over 280 online graduate-level PD courses in not only self-care but topics for every grade level and subject area. Plus, their courses are self-paced with up to six months to complete. Go to www.advancementcourses.com/coolcat and get your 20% discount by entering the code CAT20 and sign up for your summer PD now. This time last summer I was taking a course in Computer Science that helped me implement a new course and curriculum at our school. Thank you for listening and take care of yourselves, teachers.