It is the beginning of the new school year here and everyone is flat out running around trying to get everything ready for the first day of school. There have been lots of changes and movement in my school. A big handful of teachers have not only moved classrooms (which requires unpacking of boxes as well as rearranging furniture to set the room up) but a lot have also changed year levels. All of these factors, plus the fact that we are all trying to plan for the first week, attend professional development, set up rooms, get our heads around new curriculum and 'feel' like you're ready is a perfect combination for sending teachers into overwhelm.
I have a confession!
I had a 'moment' a couple of days ago at school!
I returned to one of our staff meetings and noticed everyone had their computer in front of them. I, however, did not. I clearly missed that memo! That was the straw that broke the camel's back! I immediately felt overwhelmed and burst into tears! I honestly thought I was fine up until then!
But a series of events had occurred leading up to that 'moment':
1. I had spent the previous couple of days trying to sort out my room without my usual teaching buddy! (I have had two years of team teaching!) Two heads are always better than one!
2. I had a meeting earlier with my new team to discuss curriculum and it's all so new and unfamiliar so I was trying to wrap my head around it all.
3. I had well-intentioned team members sharing what I needed to think about teaching, beginning on day 1.
4. I was still missing my old team.
(And this was probably the factor that made the biggest impact...)
5. I had spent the previous two days saying out loud and thinking, "I have no idea what I am doing!" (Which is not actually true!)
So all of those factors combined, I reached a point where it all hit at once.
Once I gathered myself and took some breaths and a beautiful friend reminded me that everything was going to be fine, I was able to see things a little more clearly.
But there are a few lessons I learned from this week and I absolutely know I am not alone so I hope my lessons can support your journey today!
Your words have power!
It is funny how we can teach all this really important stuff to others and then forget to use it with ourselves! Just goes to show we are only human! By the time I got to the end of the week and I had a few things ticked off my list, I felt a lot better and a lot calmer.
It was only when I was reflecting on how I got to a breaking point that I realised what I had been saying all week. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions! How did I miss that this week?! This is nothing new but the realisation hit me as clear as day!
Take what you need
For the most part, people's intentions are usually very good. So when people around you are giving suggestions or advice sometimes we feel like we have to take it all on board and implement or try everything that is being suggested. But you really don't. Well-intentioned people are making suggestions with the purpose of making life easier for you or letting you know bits of information that you might not know yet.
Whatever is given or suggested, just take what you need from it. You truly don't have to take on every suggestion and do it straight away. You can take one or two things, for now, store a few ideas for later and disregard the ones that you think you don't need for now. You get to choose and decide.
One thing at a time is better than everything
Overwhelm is simply a result of focusing on EVERYTHING we think we need to do. We get into overwhelm when we look at our to-do list, our whole list, and think we need to get it all done now.
The best way to avoid or significantly reduce overwhelm is by recognising that while we have lots of things to do and lots of things to get done, it doesn't all have to happen straight away or be completed today. It is also important to recognise that some things will get you closer to where you want to be than others.
Your greatest resource
So often we forget that our greatest resource is our own resourcefulness. It is our own ability to work things out and get things done. We will never have all the answers and we face challenges on a daily basis but if we trust that regardless of what is happening, we are resourceful enough to figure things out, find a solution, work through some steps then we are going to feel more success than overwhelm.
One of my favourite TV characters from when I was a kid was MacGyver. Can anyone else remember him? He was always getting himself into sticky situations and yet, was able to get himself out with some ingenious idea and a great sense of humour! He is one of the most resourceful characters to this day!
So here are some top tips for when you feel stuck and you need to draw on your own resourcefulness! (some courtesy of MacGyver!)
"There always seems to be a way to fix things." - MacGyver
Whatever the situation, there is always a solution. The solution might not be as simple and easy as we would like. It might take some thinking outside of the box or doing something we haven't done or tried before but there is always a way to get things done. Any problem can be solved with a little ingenuity!
"Desperation tends to make one sort of...flexible." - MacGyver
Creativity often stems from adversity. When we are at a point where we need to find an answer or solution or there is nothing left to do but figure things out, we learn to be flexible and creative and try something different. Obstacles and challenges are necessary for both kids and adults. It teaches us strategy, patience, critical thinking, resilience and resourcefulness. All of these things that are already within us but need to be drawn out and refined through a challenge.
Resourcefulness and Success
Being successful is not about the resources we have. It is about how resourceful we are with what we have. We all have skills that we can apply to various situations. Draw on what you know. Trust what you know. Don't underestimate the resilience and resourcefulness you have. We all have the power and the ability to work our way through any obstacle we encounter.
"If you don't have the right equipment for the job, you just have to make it yourself." - MacGyver
This is so important! Start where you are at. Use what you have. Do whatever it is that you can. The best way to solve a problem is to make it work for you. It is about trusting you have the skill and ability to figure it out with the skills and knowledge you have. Resourcefulness is about seeing where you want to go, knowing the direction and then taking the first step.
Until next week....trust yourself and your ability to work things out!
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