The school environment can be a warzone or a home. All depends on the perspective. Cold classrooms, strict time regulations, and the body is constantly under stress. My partner teacher once counted his steps in a day in class, and he counted nearly 7 miles. For the most of us, we are overworked and over caffeinated. The best analogy for self-care is a car repair garage, rather than a spa.
When anyone is under high stress and demanding work hours, self-care is an urgent repair routine. Taking care of yourself is an active proclamation that you care about your life, breath, and longevity. These repair moments become more intensive and required when the person is highly involved and passionate about their work, which means the affirmation he/she/they receive from work directly impacts self-perception and self-worth.
In this essay, I will explore the need for self-worth for teachers (but is applicable for professionals) and how to exercise our positive affirmations outside of the class to grow in the class.
Why must we have self-worth
"I am an amazing teacher. I am an amazing teacher." I must speak this to myself frequently.
High self esteem that does not hinge completely on performance-based outcomes can lead to higher sense of contentment, and growth. When someone has self-worth, no failure will determine their purpose. Angela Lee Duckworth coined the term, “growth mindset,” a recent buzz word in the ed field. A person has a “growth mindset” when one practices grit, pursuing perseverance and overcoming challenges. For any teacher, we ourselves need this because our job emersus in moments of consecutive failures and chaos--by nature of the system. The gaps in the system become a reflection of our own practice; thus, defeating us in our own passion.
A friend shared with me about her close friend who was a teacher who committed suicide. She watched her endure and hold the weight of the schools dysfunctions. Though remembered for her passion for justice, at times, our efforts leave a light and faded imprint on a data map.
Teachers and other service workers who work in a broken down system need to be the MOST confident. We are the forefront players, which will guarantee experiences where we will feel challenged to question our purpose in our jobs and effectivity--in spite of the overwork we committed. It is in these moments that self-confidence could override circumstantial disruptions that are from an administrative level. Cultivating an unshakable faith in myself, a type of belief that is not rooted on a false hope, but critical love, can anchor me to persevere. I believe that the longer we are able to sit in our tension, the more rewarding and beautiful the product and fruit can become--we just need the reason to hold us down; us.
The Side Hustle: How to affirm ourselves in spaces outside of our passions
“Dig deep and find it within yourself.” If you are like me, you would respond to that quote in frustration, rolling of eyes, and “how?” When I am in moments of crisis at work, my feet wanting to leap out of the construction zone and into my bed, the last thing I want to do is pause and look into myself to unearth strength. My habit of avoiding conflict at work ends up negatively impacting the quality of my work.
When I practice yoga, I practice life. I put myself in a zone, where outcomes are low-stakes. There is minimal opportunities for failure because my main objective is rest, peace, joy, and build--all things positive. This “side hustle” is an integral part of my professional growth and learning as a teacher. Passion is not limited to profession. Thus, when I yoga, I engage in passion and I remember passion. I awaken all my senses in the present moment and remember that I am amazing, beautiful and loved. Practice your process elsewhere, come back to your craft with a perspective that holds both your reality and your dream with an eased and sure mind.
As I watch myself come to journey into these self realizations, I find hope and room for grace in teaching. I develop sensory memory--a consistent perception of highest and best self in any circumstance, setting, and interaction. Sometimes, I need to be reminded that I glow because I GLOW. Not because I do something well, or get someone's approval, but because I AM ME. I have purpose. I am full of love.