I am currently reading Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Everyday…No Matter What – and I LOVE it!! I am only on the 3rd chapter, but already this book has offered me inspiration, given me practical advice and called me out on behaviors that could possibly hinder my happiness and productivity.
I am not going to write a “so far” book review, but I will say that Angela Watson has certainly given me a lot to think about. As I reflect on last school year and set goals for the upcoming one, this book is the perfect motivation to really think about my everyday experience at school.
I’ve already highlighted so many passages. Here are a few that have really resonated with me so far:
I can’t change ridiculous school policies, reform standardized testing, reduce class sizes, or make any of the other systemic changes that would help teaching feel less insurmountable.
As a librarian, my value is often measured by how many of my colleagues and students use my expertise and the shared space my assistant and I have created in the media center. I work hard to form relationships that will ensure that I am utilized. But sometimes, the weight of public education bears down on me and it’s hard to get takers on my ideas that involve taking risks, giving up control and allowing students more freedom. So this upcoming year, I want to remember that I have to refocus my attention away from the things I can’t influence or change and onto the things that I can influence and control – which in turn will help me to feel less defeated.
…it’s rare that anything productive will result from complaining about the same situation multiple times. The more you talk about your problems, the more you allow those problems to take up space in your head.
Complainers. Every school has them and we all know them. While I try very hard to not complain, I often times find myself voicing my anxiety on situations or circumstances that arise. So, this isn’t necessarily complaining, but it isn’t much better. I am a worrier by nature – I just can’t help it. Worrying, however, can be just as unproductive and poisonous as complaining. Not only can it influence the people around you in a negative way, voicing these concerns over and over again for an audience will only cause you to fixate on them. So this upcoming school year, I am going to make a very conscious effort to find a positive way to deal with worry and anxiety. This isn’t to say that I’ll never voice a concern to my very small circle of ultra close colleagues, but I will try to not fixate on the anxiety surrounding the concern. Because, really, sometimes you just have to let it go.