Fill Your Tanks

May 30, 2021

Teachers, you are probably running on fumes. It has been a very challenging year and one that has taken a toll on your physical, emotional and mental health. Of course, you might not consciously be aware of it because your brain and body are still in “go” mode – and when you are moving full steam ahead, you don’t always see what’s happening underneath your hood.

For the past six weeks I have spent about five hours per day taping sessions for a new course I will be rolling out soon. And when not recording, my brain has been “on” 24-7 trying to make everything perfect. Though I was reminded how exhausting obsessiveness can be, I survived and turned in all the recorded content. Whew!

Unfortunately, as the dust settled this past week, I recognized a familiar disturbing sensation in my throat. I think I’m fighting off a small vocal polyp trying to develop (again.) Fortunately, I have a great deal of rest time before my busy speaking schedule in August. But the lesson is clear: If we don’t take time to rest and heal, one way or another, we will break down.

Teachers, you have spent an entire year filling your students’ tanks; you now need to replenish your own. Give yourself permission to step away from the nonstop-runaway-train-work-schedule you’ve been keeping and rest. You don’t need to move straight from the closing of this school year into the opening of the next.

I’ve decided that rather than just posting my new course online, I’ll work with participants August through May helping them roll out the content so I can provide continual implementation support and encouragement. This is an important note because if I want to give my “students” my all when “class” starts in August, I need to give myself time to rest and heal now. I strongly suggest you do the same.

Generalizing to Extremes

As I lay awake last night staring at the ceiling, it was clear to me that my original idea for this week’s post would have to wait.  Given the incident that occurred at yesterday’s presidential rally, I believe there is a bigger issue to address. I’ve been...

The Concerning Colorful Spectrum of Language

Though actions may speak louder than words, we best not underestimate how language modeling shapes the behavior of the children we are collectively raising.  I guess it’s a hazard of my profession, but I regularly see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of...

Teacher Dads

Dads, today I celebrate you as teachers.  In fact, I believe it is one of your most important roles.  Fathers are always teaching, continually by example, and most of the time without even knowing they are doing so.  In this regard, I have seen some masterful work.  I...

Predictable Routines Needed

“The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” This quote from Mark Twain seems appropriate given the changes occurring in homes as another school year ends. Parents, we’re lucky. Our kids have had nine months of consistency thanks to the hard work of teachers. We...

One Chapter at a Time

Relieved. Happy. Discouraged.  Exhausted. These were some of the adjectives teachers mentioned when asked how they were feeling about the school year ending.  Although the responses varied, all teachers agreed - they were ready to have some closure with their...

Surrogate Teacher Moms

“Do you have any kids?” I once asked a teacher friend. “Absolutely,” she said. “I have a classroom full of them.” I laughed and walked away, but that thought stuck with me. Let’s face it - some of the best mothers in our lives weren’t our mothers, in the biological...

Get Physical

I’ve done a great deal of yard work over the past few weeks and have been reminded of an important behavior strategy. It’s one I don’t talk about nearly enough, given its effectiveness. Of course, with most people’s busy schedule it’s also hard to come by. The...

Look for the Foundation

Did you know that behaviors have a build-up effect over time?  Most teachers do.  And although there is an ebb and flow pattern to the behaviors of students, we see them all at the tail end of the school year – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Fortunately, we have...

Coming Together

So I’ve been thinking about this post all week.  Though the original inspiration hit me in the middle of the eclipse last Monday, it was driven home again yesterday.  (Being a spiritual man, I believe sometimes God circles back around and gives me reminders – to make...

Positive Collective Memories

As we move into the final months of the school year, now is a great time for educators to celebrate successes.  However, the problem with trying to do so is that we don’t always see the results of our labor right away.  Oftentimes our efforts are laying a foundation...