In just a few days, we’ll turn 6 years old! That’s right — we’ve graduated to “first grade” status and are well on our way to helping parents and students navigate their own educational journeys.
2017 was a wild one, for sure!
Last fall, I was given an amazing opportunity to jump into the classroom as a Special Education Teacher while also earning my Education Specialist Teaching Credential (Mild/Moderate with Autism Authorization). I am so grateful to add this very important skill set to Terry Tutors — teacher with a law degree is a unique combination that can only prove more worthy and beneficial to help families navigate the system.
First Grade Wows & Woes
As is common when entering first grade, though, the work gets harder and the stakes get higher. That’s exactly where we are.
This past year has been one of the most challenging because the work of being a teacher, a good teacher, is truly one of the most difficult paths I’ve ventured. Yes, teachers work just 184 days of the year and while planning for the next semester that may seem like a dream. 20 more weeks! I can do this! The reality, however, is that the act of teaching is an emotional undertaking coupled with logistical precision and passion for your craft. Each child’s academic growth, gain, and progress is at stake every single day.
I took that task seriously. Maybe a little too seriously.
Creating Lasting Change Requires Consistent Self-Care
With my passion for change came a little self-defeat, realizing that I can never truly give my students my all unless I, too, am filled.
I always tell my students: the brain is a muscle and sometimes it needs to rest so it can come back stronger, ready to learn and work just a bit more — making those all important connections so we can glean the bigger concept. The way to make impactful, real change is also through rest. Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
I realized that if I keep up this pace of working till midnight, working all weekend long, putting work above friends, family and time for myself, I’ll inevitably burn out.
To ensure I can sustain my love for helping students, it’s my resolution to make 2018 Terry Tutors’ year of fulfillment by prioritizing self-care. I vow to take time to continue my educational journey with passion and precision while also taking time for myself — grabbing a coffee with friends, reinstilling Sunday rest days, taking a walk in the park, going to yoga, and seeing that play in town.
I’m sure there will be times when the work is piling up and I’m tempted to make myself the last thing on the list, but it is those times that I must prioritize my students by prioritizing time for myself — if I’m not filled, cared for, and rested, I’m not my best self and cannot be their best advocate and their best teacher.
Here’s to 2018 — a year of reframing what it means to be the best.
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Terry Tutors Specialized Education Services, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational nonprofit with a focus on providing wraparound academic, behavior and advocacy support services for struggling students in southern California. Learn More at TerryTutors.com