My Rant to Teachers about Self – Care

I was sitting in silence. Digging in deep and grounding myself to the idea that there has to be an overarching narrative that we are not tapping into when it comes to dealing with teenager’s stress, their anxiety and their overwhelming fear of the future.

Many of us who work with teenagers realize that our work is limited.  We do not live with the teenagers we work with nor do we work with many of them on a consistent basis.  They are at the mercy of what their home life is about and what their family structure consists of in the sense of support, attention, interaction.  However, what we can become is influencers.  What is an influencer?  The definition I found that is closest to the message I am trying to convey is that an influencer is a person who has the ability to alter the behavior or opinions of others.  And become hopeful that what we are able to guide them with in that limited amount of time that we are in their presence, to be profound and life changing.  That it can alter their lives based on how impactful we can be.

Okay and you’re now shaking your head – wondering how could this miracle of life happen?  Well, as I mentioned above.  I was sitting in silence.  And yes okay, I am not a “teacher”.  But once upon a time, I was on the path to become a college professor and then I had a child and decided there was no way I could spend time with students and come home to deal with my own.  I thought I was going to have more than one at that time, but yeah, ever so grateful to just have my one.

Many of my friends did go on to become middle school and high school teachers, administrators, and even college professors.  Their main complaint – students, and worse off, students’ parents.  Now as a parent of a teenager myself I realize that anything that goes wrong with my teen, I can be quick to fault the teacher, but who blames the teen AND who blames ME, the parent for my lack of involvement and support?  Well whatever blame that is geared towards my teen and I go on to deaf ears.  Where does that leave you, the teacher?  I would like to have a lucky guess and say – frustrated?  And that is just one lucky guess out of many.

My goal at this point as I have taught many teenagers how to disconnect and meditate, including my own daughter, and I have worked with plenty of adults, including teachers, is to disconnect and reset their nervous systems, I now offer you – the teacher – the opportunity to learn how to do this as well.  Why?  First off because I already work with teachers who understand the value of self-care, but secondly and most importantly, because I care.  We focus so much on children in general.  Their wellbeing, yet no one focuses on YOU.  You who interact with these kids on a regular basis.  You who many a time become a dear friend, a confidant, a mentor to those teens that so need it and who look up to you and hopefully keep in touch, so you can track where their lives go and feel how deeply your influence has gone.  Is it ideal?  Corny?  Who cares.  Let’s focus on YOU.  I care that you have enough energy and patience to turn around and be able to give to your children the time and support that they deserve.  I care that you are able to find that work – life balance, that although may seem impossible, at least we are trying, right?  And I care that you are able to create a life that is rewarding because the more rewarding your life is, the more you give back to those teenagers who need you.  Can you see where I am going with this?

I am personally inviting you to come do something different.  Something that was not part of your curriculum while on your credential program.  I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and become your own advocate.  Imagine if our police force went out to do their jobs with what the government offers them, the number of casualties that would occur on the job. Are you aware that many in our police force invest in their own self-protection – body armor, their own guns?  The same applies to you.  You invest so much of you to create a learning environment for our future generations, shouldn’t you get to invest in your own “ body armor “ as well?   I would love to shift this and become the first school in Long Beach to pave a new way for teachers across our city, across the country and eventually across the globe to receive the support from the communities they work in to grow and expand and to have fuller and richer lives.  To grow in awareness that happy teachers create happy students which create happy families.  Now we can’t guarantee happy family lives, but you can guarantee yourself to have a happy family and isn’t that worth it all?

This meditation practice is completely different and trust me, a lot less boring than sitting in silence.  Come, give it a try.  If it’s not for you, heck I won’t be hurt.  But be open to learning something new that may serve a bigger purpose in your life.

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