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Teaching and wanting to throw in the towel

Throwing in the towel

 Hi friends! How are you? I have a question for you and if I were a gambling women my guess would be you would say, "of course" but I definitely could be wrong. Have you ever had a time during the school year where you just felt like throwing in the towel? Where there was so much going on whether it was testing, data collecting, meetings, the ever changing ideas of people higher up, maybe the feeling of students bouncing off the walls, the feeling where you just can't do anything right, and you just go home and cry (or close your door during breaks and cry)? The stresses of all the new COVID guidelines, teaching students virtually, face to face (maybe both) or hybrid). This can create so much stress and personally I tend to "bottle" it up until I break down and cry. (Sometimes a good cry is exactly what we need and know that is OK. Sometimes we need more like medication, seeing therapist and there should not be any shame in that either. (I will share more on that journey in a later post).

I can honestly say there have been times where I wanted to turn in my keys and say see ya (for a multitude of reasons) but I also know that is not what I needed to do nor what my students needed. 

Ideas on how to help

The first day we are back to school we meet as a staff as a whole group. Our admin try to make this as much of a fun day as possible (while squeezing in the things the are required to "fill" us in on from central). One of the things our principal has us do, is spend a little time reflecting our "Why". Example: To _____ so that _____. Why are we here. Why did we choose to teach and continue to do so. She tells us we are all going to have bad days, but on those days it is more important than ever we remember our why. Our why, if we dig deep, goes deeper than just, "because of the kids". On those rough days, we need more than just, it is the kids. One year we read the book, "One Word that will Change your Life", before hand. If you have never read this book it is a great short read. I like to pick a word not only for the school year but at the start of the new year. Below is a picture of what the book looks like. You can also grab a copy from amazon at the link here: https://amzn.to/3laRflC (This is NOT an affiliate link)


She always gives us time to write a word, phrase, letter or anything else to ourselves that will help us. It is something for us but if we want to share we can. She puts on music and gives us time. I have to be honest and say, sometimes I this is not where my mind is. It is racing with everything I need to get done in my room to get ready for the school year (or at least the first few days). Below are a few examples of the words and or phrases I have used in the past (it is not all of them) and please don't feel like you need to put them in a frame. Most of the time, mine go in a journal that they give us at the beginning of the year. 


New Year/New Thinking

This year I absolutely knew I had to do something different. My mindset sucked going in, not because I didn't want to see my students, not because I don't love the people on my campus, not because I didn't want to teach face to face or because I am afraid of COVID (and I completely understand why many are). 

I was frustrated. Frustrated with the lack of not knowing what I was walking into. Frustrated with the ever changing ideas of what was going to be done. Frustrated with not having my room ready, lesson plans done for the first week. You name it, and I was frustrated about it. (can you tell I like to have a "little control" and have a needed for being somewhat prepared. haha...this is the year some of that has to go out the window) I can bite my tongue (at least most of the time, but my facial expressions need help) I knew I needed a mind shift, not only for myself but also for my students. They needed more of me and at that point of time I had very little to give anyone (this is something (am still working on....we are all a work in progress 😉)

The morning before going to work I was talking to God about how I really didn't want to go to work, my attitude (which needed to improve) and the feeling like I could break down and cry any moment. I really did not want this to happen in front of people. #closetcryer

This year one of the first things we did was our normal activity. She gave us a starting stem and turned on the music. I decided to write the stem she gave us (even though it wasn't what we had to do) at the top of my paper.  As I sat in the quiet room, with music playing I decided for some crazy reason instead of my normal word or phrase I would write a letter. As I wrote I felt more peace than I had felt in days and the words began to flow on my paper. 

Normally, with things like this I am an extremely private person (like wouldn't even share with my BFF) but I also know we are all in the same boat in one way or another. I know we all need encouragement and are going to need something on days to help us get through. 

Today, I am stepping out of my comfort zone. I am sharing with you the words I wrote to myself. I hope they speak to you and help you in one way or another.

Letter to Self

Dear me, 

    In the morning when you wake up and are weary remember why you are called to be in the classroom. On the hard days or moments remember there is a glimmer in each day. You are there to make an impact, plant a seed in the lives day. You have the ability to show love, compassion and stability. When the waves get rough, remember there is always beauty after the story. The difference and impact you make can last a lifetime, even if you can't see it. Show students the love you have for them, allowing Christ's love to flow through you. Remember God's promises and his beautiful rainbow after each storm. Take each moment, embrace it and know you are placed exactly where you are for this exact moment in time. 
Love, 
your reminder when times get tough


As you go through this school year try and remember there will be many things that are way beyond our control. We will have to do things that scare us, frustrate us and there will be times where we just want to throw in the towel. I encourage each of you to take a few moments and write your own why. Maybe it is a word or a phrase, maybe you decided to write a letter. Whatever you choose, keep it in the classroom in a place where we can pull it out and look at it on the tough days. Know that you can do it. This may be a difficult year but you will rise just like you do each and every year. Keep your chin up and know you are doing an amazing job and are capable of amazing things

If you would like to share, your own word, phrase, words of encouragement, please feel free to do so in the comments or you can send me an email. 

I hope you have an amazing school year. Know that I am cheering you on. If you need to vent or if this touched you, feel free to email me at kara@itsybitsyfirstgradeteacher.com

I hope you are able to see glimpses of rainbows in a year that may be filled with a few storms along the way. Try to find something good in each day, no matter how small it may seem. 

If you have not signed up for my newsletter, you can do so by clicking HERE. I would love to get to know you more, ways I can help save you time in the classroom, any struggles (because if you are struggling I can guarantee someone else is as well) send you freebies, and let you in on the know of sales, flash freebies and so much more. 

Have a wonderful year. 

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