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Self-Compassion and Other Musings on a Rainy Sunday

So, I haven't written a blog post in a long time.

Maybe I'm going to have to accept the fact that no matter how hard I try I may not able to stick to any kind of regular writing schedule. At least not yet. Not right now. Or maybe I need to accept that I will be able to do so for a while, but then something comes up that will force me to go off my schedule. This doesn't mean I'm not a writer or that I don't have anything to say. It just means that life happens and I have to let it get in the way.

Today I read an article that I had bookmarked in 2012 about self-compassion. It was from a podcast interview from The Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkeley. It was just what I needed to read today as I often feel bad about myself for not writing regularly, not being the perfect teacher, and for making mistakes. Sort of what we end up doing to our students (and some administrators to teachers) when we make them set goals that are not borne of their own needs and interests. Neither students or teachers will live up to these goals because they are meaningless to them. But because they are important to someone, we all jump through hoops and then lament about how the goals were never met.

So, this time around I have been feeling down on myself for not writing lately and for missing the last week of school due to a very, very nasty cold.

But, that is how I treat myself sometimes. So, this self-compassion article really resonated with me. It's about being compassionate with yourself in the same way we are with others when they're not feeling too good about themselves. What was interesting to me is that the author of this book was saying that we never hesitate to be compassionate with others when we need to be, but rarely offer the same kind of TLC to ourselves. In fact, we are harsh with ourselves when what we most need is to be compassionate.

That would be me.

Once we start to practice self-compassion, then we can pick ourselves up and move on rather than remaining stuck on whatever it was that made us feel bad about ourselves in the first place.

Sounds good to me.

And, if that wasn't enough, self-compassion is necessary for a healthy self-esteem.

I also read a blog post today by Jess Lipschitz where she talks about feeling lonely as a teacher. I felt that she was speaking directly to me and so did a few others judging by the comments left on her blog. But, more than lonely, I feel as if I've lost my voice. I've allowed my teacher voice to be stifled and I'm being unforgiving of myself for having done so. At least, that is how it feels to me. At this moment. In this time.

So, I'm thinking that self-compassion could help me find my voice again.

It's OK that I'm still looking for my unique contribution (voice) to education and it's equally possible that I have already found it, but I am not able to recognize it because I've let others silence me. I've been less than compassionate with myself. It's just very possible that by being hard on myself, rather than kind, I have missed many opportunities to add my voice, my singular perspective, to education.

Can. It. Be. That. Simple?

Could it be that finding my unique contribution as an educator is all about speaking out about how I see things? In my classroom? In education today? Is my own unique perspective enough? Or, am I completely off here?

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Today's post is short and sweet because I just got back from a night of playing Bunko with friends. 

I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!