Sunday, August 11, 2013

Be Gentle With Yourself

(Photo by KB)

As I prepare to start back to school this week, I feel slapped in the face with the overwhelming reality that the rubber is about to meet the road.  All the great ideas, conversations, collaboration, and curriculum writing I engaged in this summer must now be applied. I feel more than ready to step up and meet these challenges. In fact, I am ready to sacrifice a lot to make this our most successful year. 

I am not scared or overwhelmed by the work that must be done. The most frightening thing for me this year is balance. This concept that the scale can't swing too far in either direction. The notion of balance, particularly in relationship to my work and personal life, is a terrifying concept to me.

I am no good at this; I become immersed in my work and I let everything else fall to the side.  For me, this is so hard because I am a perfectionist.  I am willing to discard things that are important to me in order to perfect a task, job, or plan (or, honestly, your image of me).  I am too hard on myself most of the time and I have trouble stepping back and prioritizing when I am in the middle of a project.

As I have thought about my summer and the tasks ahead for this school year, I have been hyper-focused on my students, team-building, innovation, passion, and creativity.  These are so important and build a foundation for me and my pedagogy.  If I am honest with myself, I know none of those things are sustainable in my practice if I don't care of myself first.

I realized this summer how much my passions had been cast aside, and I vowed to never let this happen again. I can never again let so much of myself fall away. In an effort and mantra to never forget to take care of myself, I will be posting this simple image above my desk this year. I am willing to bet I am not the only teacher that needs to remember this!

As we all venture into another exciting school year, I hope to be gentle with myself. I will make a concerted effort to take care of my needs, listen to my body, and nurture my passions. I will make a commitment to choose my sacrifices carefully, for I will never get that time back. This year, I will strive for balance, allowing myself to be imperfect and trusting those around to love me despite my flaws, as I would with them.  This year, I will not lose myself, but instead grow more completely.

How will you be gentle with yourself this year?


  1. This is exactly what I needed to hear! Sometimes this job can be very all or nothing, so this reminder is important.

    I'm going to make a concerted effort to take care of my physical health. This is something that always falls the wayside and the results of that aren't ideal (i.e., lack of energy, etc.). Part of that, too, is getting enough sleep on a consistent basis. So very difficult, but the older I get the more I realize how important this is.

    Best of luck with the new school year, Jenna! I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines.

  2. Nina, I am so glad you could relate. Taking care of yourself is so important, yet it can be so hard! Thank you for your kinds words and I hope you are able to find more balance this year. Have a great school year!

  3. So I will be stealing this mantra and placing it above my desk, on my mirror, on my nightstand, on the windshield of my car, and probably tattooing it on my hand this year for friendly reminders. You seriously hit the nail on the head. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Amber- you just made my day with this comment! I am so grateful to have you on our team.

    PS: Dance classes? Seriously, let's do it!