We are in the full swing of this school year, the first quarter has already closed and now we are getting closer to the holidays seasons which is going to bring the closing of the first semester before we can even realize it. The healthy glow we had on our first day of school is long forgotten and out faces start showing the signs of little sleep and lot of work… welcome to the life of a teacher! …Well, this is something that I have to remind myself all the time: “Take care of yourself!” My mom has a beautiful Italian saying “an empty bag can’t stand up!” Let’s try to make sure we are not emptying ourselves so much that we cannot be there anymore for our students as we would like to be.
There are various way you can take care of yourself, sleep more, reduce stress, pamper yourself, but also there is a great prevention you could do which goes beside yourself… start reaching out to the amazing community of educators we have in our state and beyond! As educators too often we get somehow sucked into our daily school life of our classroom, either traditional or virtual, and we forget that other people out there, sometimes even close-by are going through similar situation, or have been already similar situation, and they could share their expertise and help us. The common saying of “why reinventing the wheel” is something we should always keep in mind, long before we burn-up ourselves too much.
Every year at ASTE I hear so many people, including myself celebrating the amazing experience of being able to connect with educators from around the state and being able to share experiences and tools. Every year we promise ourselves that we will keep in touch with these people, and then when we go back to our districts, we go back to our routines, and we do not think much about the people we connected with until the following ASTE conference.
Why waiting for so long? Remember all these amazing people are out there, and while they all have a lot to offer, they might also need something that we can offer them. Some districts more than others are celebrating collaboration beyond the boundaries of their own district staff, and are supporting and promoting this very positive networking. I would like to recognize the amazing contribution Kodiak Island School District has been doing this year sponsoring several PD events for educators from all over the state.
ASTE has created a couple of years ago the SIG Networks for helping supporting the connection among its members and other educators during the 360 days of the year in between conferences. These Networks are all gathered into a Google+ community ASTE Networks, and it is a great place to go to for keep the connection with the people you have met or heard of during the yearly conference. There are also some other great communities on Google+ worth of mention: AKTeach Webinars and PD, Alaska Online Teachers, Alaska Teacher Talk.
Twitter is also a great tool for keeping connection and for connecting with new shakers and movers who could have some precious tidbits.
The bottom line is, you are not alone out there, but you are part of an incredible and very talented community. Keep that in mind and remember that this is a great way to take care of yourself and others at the same time.