Happy Teacher Revolution, Week 3

Welcome back to week 3 of Happy Teacher Revolution summer book study! I hope you're enjoying reading, watching the videos, and taking the time to reflect on how to apply these ideas into your own life.

If you need to catch up on the reading; no worries. Click on the links below to see what we've discussed:
Start a Win Journal
This week's reading was full of practical ideas! Many teachers keep a folder or box with hand-drawn pictures, student letters, cards or notes of appreciation from parents. I always encourage new teachers to start saving these in one spot so when they have a bad day or start questioning themselves, read through these affirmations to remind them of their why. However, I realized that this is based on other's opinions. Special Ed teacher Fareeha Waheed describes how she keeps a "win journal".  At the end of each day, she records her small wins.  She says, "... a win journal is always there to remind you of your awesomeness-- even during the tough days." These wins might not be tangible, but could be when a shy student felt comfortable enough to share during class or a colleague who asked you for help.  Fareeha has her students also create win journals and they recognize individual and collective wins. 

Here's a quick & easy way for your students to make a win journal:
Several years ago, I had a student who wanted to teach our class about how to be awesome. (Literally! The title of his presentation was How to Be Awesome!) He created a presentation where he introduced the dictionary definition of "awesome" then asked his peers what they did well or what made them special. Each slide built on the idea that only you can make yourself awesome because the definition is as unique as each individual. He also emphasized how awesome it is to be kind, caring, and treating others as if they are awesome! I was practically in tears, as he was teaching! Classmates were cheering :) Talk about a win!
Exercise Your Best Self
Developed by University of Missouri's Laura King and Harvard's Jeffrey Huffman, to exercise your best self, take 15 minutes to write about your ideal future life. Doing this regularly helps to identify goals and feel more in control of our lives. My students created vision boards and reflected on their best selves.
Practice Mindfulness Together
Another aspect of engaging in self-care with students is to teach them mindfulness. Casey O'Brien Martin of Whole Child Counseling has developed a comprehensive program called Skills for Big Feelings. It's a 12 week program that teaches students mindfulness, how to effectively cope with their feelings, manage anxiety, and learn to thrive. Each week begins and ends with a mindful moment: guided meditation. You can read more about Skills for Big Feelings HERE.  I've noticed such a difference in my students and often receive emails from parents thanking me for teaching their child about mindfulness.
The Reflecting/Integrating section has specific and helpful exercises and videos. Spend some time on pages 60-62 to create a self-care action plan. As educators, we always talk about the whole child. This action plan will help you reflect on the whole teacher.
There are various experiences modeled in the videos. Elayne Mendoza narrates a guided meditation. Keith Golden guides us through box breathing. Maya Basik leads us through an embodiment practice to cultivate and hold joy within yourself.  Don't skip over these videos!
What are some strategies you wrote down in your action plan? Do you practice mindfulness? Please share in the comments!

Next week, we are reading:
  • Week 4: July 10 (p. 71-100; 29 pages)
  • Part III: Nurturing Relationships with Colleagues, Families, and Kids
  • Chapter 7: Modeling and Building Community
  • Chapter 8: Offering and Requesting Meaningful Appreciation

1 comment

  1. I am enjoying the practical and simple applications found in this book. Last year, I was stretched beyond my comfort zone by accepting a new position and working on a second credential. Being in a position where everything was new made me feel consistently stressed and in a state of disequilibrium. Interestingly, prior to reading this book I used two of the strategies recommended by Danna Thomas and it really did support my ability to feel grounded during a stressful period. The first strategy was a gratitude journal, a weekly and at times daily gratitude journal. This process allowed me to keep focus on the bigger picture of my life as I acknowledged the big and little things that bring joy, love, and security. The second strategy was like a win journal, I applied to a program that required me to review and highlight accomplishments from over 20 years of teaching experiences. Much like the concept of a “Win” journal, my reflection reminded me that there is a bigger picture and that I have personally and professionally had small and big wins putting my struggle with the new work conditions in perspective. I am excited to think about how I will continue to incorporate a “Win” journal for myself and my students.