I am back today for some more about Angela Watson’s fabulous book, Unshakeable. If you haven’t already, check out Jessica’s posts over at Tales of a First Grade Teacher. She blogged about chapters 11 & 12!
If you are reading along with me, then you know that this next chapter is a little bit hush hush. It is all about the things that teachers aren’t supposed to do or feel, but that we actually do because we are human too! It is downright impossible for a teacher to be “on” every moment of every day. We just can’t. And let’s just face another fact– sometimes we have to get something done when the kids are in the room. Maybe it is attendance, maybe it is an urgent e-mail to a parent, and maybe it is a phone call to a pull-out teacher.
Being “on” from 8:05am to 3:20pm is not something I’m capable of doing. I NEED to have a few moments every so often to collect my thoughts and to re-focus. I also have a back problem with some ruptured discs, so walking around the room for the entire day is just NOT going to happen for me. It is important for me to have a seat at least once a half hour to relieve the tension and pressure in my back. I also need to have a minute in between lessons to make sure that I remember everything I wanted to hit on in a lesson. I’m going to tell you a secret… sometimes, when the kids are working independently….
I sit. At my desk.
(Insert shock and horror here!)
That’s all happened to each of us at least once right?! I don’t know about you, but my heart sure did skip a few beats when that happened. But guess what? It’s OK!!
Chapter 13 of Unshakeable is all about building in appropriate and still useful time periods throughout the day where you can rest your body and recollect your thoughts and focus. Somewhere, somehow, it became a belief that teachers who ever sat at their desks were bad teachers. I’m not sure who started that rumor, but it’s just not true. That would be like saying a teacher who never sits at her desk is automatically a good teacher.
The biggest thing I took away from this chapter was that we as teachers have to do what we can to take care of ourselves. Angela (and myself) are giving you permission right now! It’s not selfish. Angela says that “-a healthy, happy teacher is the best gift you could ever give your students.” And I wholeheartedly agree! I’m a much better teacher when my back doesn’t hurt. I’m a much better teacher when I’ve had five minutes to drink some water and take a few deep breaths. I’m a much better teacher when I’m able to sit and teach my kiddos on the carpet.
Throughout the chapter, Angela gives some awesome ideas for exactly how to build in some downtime. A key thing is knowing yourself and knowing your limitations when it comes to time, energy, and effort.
(Let me add a disclaimer in here, however. This book is not promoting being unethical or unprofessional. There is a big difference between a 2 minute water break and 20 minutes checking your email. )
I will most definitely go into this school year without feeling guilty for taking care of myself throughout the day, and I hope you will, too.
If you have not already, I would highly recommend purchasing Unshakeable. This post is just my opinion and reflection. Buy the book, read it for yourself, and let me know what you think!
Come back here tomorrow to read about Chapter 14: Constructing a Self-Running Classroom. Thanks for reading! :)