Sunday, 27 January 2013

Staying Sane as a New Teacher...(on the Prairies)

*Alberta can be pretty, I'll admit it!*

This post doesn't have much to do with teaching, but something that goes hand in hand and is just as important to me. Finding your own measure of sanity, or coping mechanism for crazy days goes a long way in any job!

I was never a student who could go to school all day, come home and study until dinner, then again until bedtime. I would fall asleep at the desk. This trend of falling asleep during academics continued throughout university (sorry Mom and Dad!) and even resulted in an embarrassing episode of falling asleep during a seminar class with a round-table seating plan. Oops. That said, my brain tends to completely shut off when it's full or had enough, and I've always needed something else going on to balance it out. (A few days ago, I fell asleep mid-text message, and apparently fell asleep so hard that I didn't hear the response that came just one minute later.)

I was very lucky and found that I loved gymnastics at age 8, and continued training until I was 18. I had the opportunity to begin coaching at 13, and spent 11 years having a steady job because of it. It filled a lot of time for me, and kept me awake much longer than I would have if I hadn't had a sport or hobby. When I moved to Calgary for post-secondary, doing competitive gymnastics was no longer a possibility, so I had started following my sister's lead in running throughout my grade 12 year. (I still love to go to the gym club and play though!)

It took me a full year to enjoy running. (I still have a hard time realizing that you can get a good, efficient workout done in less than 4 hours, but I'll cope!) My sister and I had a few road trips together for races, and running became a rejuvenating, mind clearing activity, just as much as a necessary workout. That doesn't mean that it's always easy to make yourself go though.

Over the past ten years, I've mostly stopped doing road races (I get bored on the flat pavement) and have started to really enjoy trail running. I figure my short legs have to be good for something! Yay hills! Going for a run has become my favourite way to explore new places and always makes me feel like I've accomplished something. I also feel much more ready to take on work afterwards.

*The notorious runners that won't die. They get brighter when they're wet too. Charming.*

This year of teaching has taken a lot of patience and work, and I'm happy to have my own way of motivating and challenging myself. I also find that as much as I love the idea of working out with others, my favourite runs have been by myself. Maybe I am a little bit of a hermit after all, but I find that after a day surrounded by people at work (and those 5-year olds need every bit of attention you can spare!) the last thing I crave is to be surrounded by more people. That said, we do have a "Tuesday Tradish" running club going at one school (at the moment it consists of three-including me- new teachers who take an hour to run on the canals through farmer's fields). It has been a really nice way of getting to know new friends, and a huge challenge after a long day in Kindergarten! I'm thankful to have running and a basic foundation of exercising to keep me sane- especially when you consider my other stress-relief hobby.....

Teachers at both schools know when I'm overwhelmed because I walk in with a batch of cupcakes, cinnamon buns, pies, etc. The response last week from one teacher was, "Gosh, I love when you're stressed."

*Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Dark Chocolate Ganache*

I still think a big reason I got hired in the first place was that I mentioned I liked to bake. The principal's eyes lit up and I'm willing to bet that's when I had his vote.

Anyways- whether it's a walk, run, baking or writing session, having something to 'keep me awake' and motivated has been incredible in changing my perspective and giving me an attitude adjustment when I need it most, and I'm thankful for it!

*Mid-snow-conditioning on a sunny Sunday field run!*

*One little story from last week so I don't forget:
A little guy was standing on the carpet mumbling to himself (mouth completely closed). He saw that I was watching him and volunteered, "Hey Teacher, I was just talking to my teeth!"

Isn't that a great way to describe mumbling? What a turkey.

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