Best Year Review

I have begun to reflect on 2014, as early as February really, and almost instantly I’m reminded of many blessings and high points that I want to build upon for 2015. On the flip side, I don’t want to brush past the tough lessons learned better through error, much the way I scoot past people I am avoiding the stop-and-chat in hallways and Target. I found an wonderful reflection and goal setting worksheet via Moritz Fine Designs that I need to share with you as I complete my own version.



My Best Year Reflection:


This is the 2015 Reading Challenge that I mentioned in the “3 New Things I Want to Try” section.  It comes from PopSugar’s website.


How to Break a Negativity Cycle

Good morning, friends.  This morning marks the day in which I snap myself out of a funk that I have been wrestling with for the past few weeks.  I’ve been allowing the stressors in my life, some expected and some not so much, to pile upon my back and influencing me to make decisions that aren’t the best.  Usually I am able to allow myself the freedom to acknowledge my grief, submit to the emotions, and then move forward.  This time, I have not done that and therefore it has made this dark cloud last longer than it is welcome to.

The Blues have manifested themselves in my eating habits, sleeping, how I interact with my loved ones and co-workers, my focus, and exercise.  Before this turns into an “Oh-woe-is-me” post, or a cry for attention that turn people completely off rendering back to real tragedies in this  world, I chose to share this emotional time with you because I want people who are feeling the same way to know that A.) they’re not alone, B.) they’re not the only one who feels blue and confused with how to snap out of it, and C.) there are ways to help cope and end the cycle.

I’m not an expert, nor do I have any formal training or credibility to speak on this topic other than what has worked for me in the past.  I’ve a very literal, Type-A personality, so I need to do three things when I am prepared to acknowledge that enough is enough:

1.  Address each area of my life that the funk has touched.  Sometimes this is a little bit painful because I have to be brutally honest with myself.  For example, I’ve been eating like a truck driver lately.  My pants really are fitting my body in a new way, and it’s not the dryer’s fault.

2.  Create a SMART goal to ratify the situation.


3.  Track my progress.  There are a lot of ways of doing this; there are even apps for your phone to help keep track of the number of days in a row that you are able to sustain the changes in your life.  I have not used any because I’m a traditional paper-and-pencil/highlighter kind of gal.  I’ll be using my Bullet Journal for tracking my goals.

Breaking Out of My Funk

Step One: Acknowledge What Needs to be Changed

  1. Own my grief.  I have a close family member who received some devastating health news, and while it is not my journey, I am heavily impacted by it.  I have been doing a sub-par job of acknowledging and talking about how I am emotionally responding to this news.  There is a lot of anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, and sadness involved that I need to address.  I need to process this with those in my life that I love and trust.  I cannot keep this to myself as much as it may seem the easiest way to go.
  2. Too much on my plate.  I don’t know that I would say that I’m a “People Pleaser” because I am comfortable saying not to certain things, but there is a sense of guilt that goes along with it, that I’m letting someone down if I cannot do the favor or job that they ask of me. I do acknowledge and own up to taking on more than I should. Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my agenda is.  I need to trim the fat, not only for my own sanity, but for the rightful benefit of my family, friends, and students.
  3. My eating and sleeping are unbalanced.  This is going to sound like the most ridiculous and elderly thing I’ve ever said, but I have still not gotten completely over the Daylight Savings Times issue.  I’m already an early-riser, but that put me at a total disadvantage.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my husband and I were blessed enough to visit family in Nevada, but the three-hour difference each way added to the madness that is my sleep cycle.  Sleep is no joke and can completely control the other areas of your life.  In my case, it’s definitely impacted my attitude and decision making, in this case I’ll focus on food choices.  I’ve been struggling with my night time eating habits again.  I thought I had this problem solved a long time ago, but with a lack of sleep and proper focus, I haven’t been able to make the healthiest decisions.
  4. Frankly, I’ve been a moody, reclusive bitch.  I’m much angrier, easily irritated, and knee-jerk responsive, if there is some a term.  I know that it’s because of the above mentioned issues.  It’s unfair, unhealthy, and unwarranted.  I need to stop before I do some real damage to loving relationships and people who have been a better friend to me than I have to them.

Step Two: SMART Goals

  1. My closest family and friends have offered to talk to me, do anything that I may need while I deal with my family issue.  Thus far, I have put them off and that’s not fair to either of us.  I am a very stoic person who feels like there is a weakness in opening up emotionally.  I am vulnerable, but not less than.  I will set the goal to talk more about what is going on, to open up and release some of the emotional burden to those I love and trust.
  2. I know that being true to myself and what I am capable of is important.  I will be doing people more good by saying no to some projects or favors because it will allow me to be more genuine and present for those things that I do participate in.  There are two things that I must do to help eliminate some of the stress.  The first is that I must acknowledge that now is the time to support my husband in his graduate work.  He is awesome and amazing and deserves to have me 100% behind him.  I will be pausing my graduate work until he is finished with his.  I am also going to reclaim my planning time at school.  Each teacher has one class period a day for planning, grading, and other teacherly duties.  I have been allowing students who have a free period to come in and get work done during that time.  If it’s my homework assignments, I have no problem working with students.  Unfortunately, I’m being brought other subjects’ questions, personal problems, or general chitter chatter.  I am going to begin addressing those students who do not utilize the time wisely and give them the warning that my classroom will not be the one in which they lounge.
  3. Sleep is something that I cannot really control.  I know that there are things that I can do to influence my sleep quality.  According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the seven ways to help get my sleeping back on track is Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 4.27.46 AMI’m not a smoker or weeknight drinker, so the latter advice isn’t for me, but the former advice is.  I’ve become a night time grazer, and this is mostly because I’ve been waking up so unnaturally early, eating earlier, then I’m hungrier for dinner far too early in the evening.  My plan is to push off eating an extra hour than what I eat now and close down the kitchen immediately after.  I will track the number of days in a row that this happens.
  4. Alright, I don’t know that this is very scientific, but I am going to stop being a turd in the punchbowl.  Owning up to a bad attitude is the first step towards resolving it.  Looking at the joyful parts of life instead of the darker is another move in the right direction.  My SMART goal will be to write down five things I am grateful for each day, three parts of my day that brought me happiness, and one way to make tomorrow an even better day.  By posting this goal on my blog and sharing with you, it will keep me accountable.  I want to do this for 30 days in a row.

Step Three: Tracking

I will be coming back at the end of the day and post my tracking progress.

Going forward…

I hope that this post helped more than just myself through tough times.  We all know that struggles impact more than just ourselves, and opening up about them is the key.  Acknowledge and own your issues to allow yourself to move forward with a plan.  Here’s wishing you the best day ever!



Reflective Teaching Challenge Day Seven:

Day 7

Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?

Inspiration comes in so many different forms: exemplifying the characteristics of teaching that you want to implement or improve upon, creative lesson designing, technology implementation, ability to connect with students, professionalism, and sometimes even by providing the example of what you don’t want to emulate.  I am fortunate enough to have had paragons in all these categories throughout my career.  When I reflect upon which educator provided me with the most inspiration, I would have to identify a two people, a married couple whom I worked with while teaching on St. Paul Island, AK.  I will refer to them lovingly as Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration.

When I think about the qualities that make up a true educator, Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration come to mind immediately.  An educator who is dedicated to both their students and their mission as an educator to the point of this dynamic couple is simply the most that you can ask of a teacher.  In their case, it was just the beginning of what they gave to their students.

Living on an island in the middle of the Bering Sea is just about the most gutsy, challenging assignment that anyone could ever have regardless of profession.  I say this because I experienced it, but only for a short two-year period.  This dynamic couple did so for over ten years.  Knowing that the students who attended this school would be some of the most challenging with a high level of apathy towards school, these two also knew that these same students who were ready to give up on themselves had an untapped potential that Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration zeroed in on.

Thousands of miles from traditional technology and resource, Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration became creative, resourceful and sought the tools and assistance that would turn St. Paul Island into an education center.  Additionally, they created and promoted several after-school programs, events, athletic teams, and fundraising programs that would allow the students and families to have the best educational experiences possible.  This would cause Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration to devote their time to ensuring these activities were available, morning, evening, and weekends.  And it was all done without hesitation, frustration, keeping tabs on what they did versus others, or personal-gain agendas.  It was all done out of the goodness of their hearts, knowing that they were giving back to students just a small piece of what they deserved.

Today, I can proudly say that I keep their giving examples in my heart and mind when I look into the eyes of my students.  I am so grateful for the time that I spent on Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration’s team, so blessed to call them friends.