Happy New Year! It is somewhat surreal to think that a year ago we had no idea how much everything was going to change. 2020, like all years in their infancy, seemed like a year of promise. It was the first year in a new decade. It was Twenty-Twenty! Who knew how very different and challenging the year was actually going to be. Of this, we are all aware.
In addition to the health, economic, and emotional challenges everyone faced throughout 2020, education, in all facets, faced some of the greatest demands. It has been hard on teachers, families, and students. Back at the end of May, I wrote a blog about how grateful I was for all of the educators who were ensuring students were still growing academically in this new remote environment we all found ourselves in. Fast forward to today (or 2021), and I’m even more blown away! Every day the Mastery Manager Support Team has the honor of assisting our amazing educators in their efforts to continue teaching their students. One day you’re in-person, the next you’re fully remote, then you’re hybrid, and then fully remote again. It’s extraordinarily hard work that never ends. Yet, you persist.
I was thinking of our teachers as I stumbled upon this fantastic article on Edutopia, The Benefits of Developing a Reflective Routine, and thought, “Wow, I could have really benefited from this technique, even without a pandemic.” Reflecting on your teaching practice, whether you use pens, markers, a tablet, the Calm app, etc,. can help you develop a balanced and healthy routine. You could ask yourself, “What went well during my lesson today? What could I improve?” or “How can I do more to make learning more interactive for my students?” Grab a cup of coffee and jump on a video call with a colleague to tackle these questions together. Doing so may not only help you stay sane as a teacher, but it might surprise you how it can also improve your practice.
Maybe you have already found yourself to be more reflective as you approached the ever-changing landscape of teaching over the last year. What have you learned? How have you amazed yourself? What have you done that you never thought in a million years you could do? What will you take (have you taken) from this wild ride to incorporate in your everyday instruction?
Reflecting on your teaching and being organized is certainly one part of staying sane, a very important part. But being a teacher is only a part of your identity. What else are you doing to stay sane? How are you finding work/life balance? If you have your own children are you also navigating their education? How are you doing that? (Seriously, HOW?) What are you doing for self care? Are you exercising? Binge watching Netflix shows? (What are your favorite shows?) Reading? Cooking? Cleaning? Taking a MasterClass? Again, I ask, “What will you continue to do once this time has passed? (And it will pass, right?) What did you do before that seemed so important, but now you can’t imagine why? What will be your take-aways, your silver linings, your life lessons? How will you be changed?”
Whatever you do to make it through the week, please know that all of us at Mastery Manager appreciate you, applaud you, and are thinking about you. Thank you, educators!
Jenny Ward-Muñoz has been a teacher of multiple grade levels, including elementary and middle school, spanning 19 years. Additionally, she served as an administrator with a group of alternative high schools for three years, focusing on data analysis and professional development. She now uses her classroom and administrative experience to support Mastery Manager educators and offer insight into best practices and real-world application.
She lives in Chicago with her husband, Mark, her four-year old daughter, Maddie, and her three cats, Nero, Barry White, and Tulla. In her free time, Jenny loves traveling, reading, and cooking.