Sunday, October 12, 2014

Preventing the Fall "fall"

This is me this school year.... at least it's how I feel.  Every year I start the school year with high expectations; for me, for my students, for my administrators and my school district.  And every year I let those expectations cause me stress, anxiety, fear, frustration, disappointment, and sleepless nights.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in high expectations.  But when the expectations are so high that they are unattainable, that's when my Fall "fall" starts, and I am my own worst enemy.  

This school year started, as all school years do, with a beautiful feeling of a clean slate.  A chance to "try it again".  Another opportunity to be that "perfect" teacher I've always wanted to be, and yet always seem to come up short.  So look out world.... here I come.  THIS is the year!!  And then the first Institute Day in August comes, and, CRASH!  That clean slate just smashed on the floor.  A new Principal, new Assistant Principal, 2 new Special Ed. Coordinators, a new Assistant Supt. for Special Ed., new school/dept. systems, Essential Elements for CCSS, a new IEP program and a new Teacher Evaluation System that is going to make even the most gifted teacher look like an amateur...... all of these things have worked against my Type A, control freak, anxiety riddled self.  And down I go.  

I want to be the best I can be for my students, parents, co-workers and administrators.  I want to come to school each and every day excited about new adventures and new lessons to learn.  But it all overwhelms me.  How can I be the best for my students, when I am consumed with fear of inadequacy and my perceived inability to meet the high expectations of myself and those around me? 

 But I know I have to find a way.  There is nothing I can do about the future....  I have no control over that.  I cannot control new personnel, government mandates, state guidelines or district policies.  These things will come and go with the wind.  What I can control is me.  I can control how I react to these things and I can control how I choose to let it affect my classroom.  So, I am choosing to let it go  .I am choosing to pick myself up off the ground.  I am choosing to come to school every day ready to see my students.  To be encouraged and energized by them.  To ENJOY being in their presence and rejoicing in their growth.  I might not be a "perfect" teacher, but I am the RIGHT teacher for the students I have the pleasure of teaching this year.  I will let go of fear, anxiety, disappointment and frustration and let the future take care of itself.

My Hope is in You!

Hope is the topic of this week's Spiritual Journey Thursday (or Sunday in my case!).  Hope is such a powerful word and I believe it goes hand in hand with last week's topic: trust.  I don't believe you can have one without the other.  Because I fully trust in God, I have hope.

Hope in what, you might ask.  Well, that is a loaded question, and one that has many answers.  I have hope that:
  •  I will once again see loved ones who have gone before me
  •  my life has meaning and serves a purpose in God's world
  • God's truth will find it's way into the heart of those who need our Savior
  •  the fear and anxiety that resides within me will someday loose it's power 
  •  my students with special needs will some day live in a world where they are accepted for the unique, beautiful children they are
  •  that God will use me to spread His Word through my actions, words and deeds
  • Jesus will come again!

This is certainly not an exhaustive list.  I could probably go on for awhile.  But you get the picture.  I can live in this world that is in chaos, that is full of hate, fear, violence, greed and intolerance.  I can live in this world with joy, love, empathy, and perseverance because my HOPE is in Jesus Christ.  My HOPE is in the home He is preparing for me when my time of serving Him is complete.  That hope allows me to see the light in this world, along with the darkness.  Without HOPE, it would be bleak, indeed.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Let go of fear..... trust God!

I have not been very good of late at keeping up with my blog page at all, let alone Spiritual Journey Thursday.  But as usual, @muellerholly has chosen another fabulous topic, and this one hit me right in the heart!  Trusting God......

I can say with all confidence that I trust God implicitly.  I have no doubts about how He intercedes in my life.  But..... I also appreciate the gentle reminders from friends, co-workers, and my favorite.... the Holy Spirit to turn that trust over to God on a daily basis.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in the busyness and stress that consumes us, that it's easy to forget that "God's got this".  

As a teacher, I am responsible for my classroom and the precious children I am entrusted with.  When parents put their children on the bus every day, they trust ME to take care of them, to keep them safe, and to help them learn.  No pressure there, huh?   As someone who suffers from depression and mild anxiety, that can seem overwhelming some days.  But, I need to remember that just as  parents trust me with their children, I need to trust Him with those children, and my day, as well.

I will strive every day to live in the day God has given me.  I will try not to worry about a future I have no control over and turn my fear and anxiety over to The One who can wash away my fears.  Thank you, God.