Stressed Out

We’ve all been there. I’m not claiming to be the only one. We’ve all faced long to-do lists, exploding inboxes, daunting projects, calls to return, meetings to attend, and not enough time in the day to complete any of it.

Stress. It happens. People get stressed out. It’s very easy to notice stress. Think about it. Stress can show up as bad eating habits, exhaustion, tears, short tempers, headaches, illness, and can effect relationships as well. I’ve personally noticed that my body tells me I’m stressed before I admit it to myself. I get overly tired and then end up getting sick when I’m really stressed out. When that happens, I’ve got to slow down and get rest.

For some people, it only takes a tiny occurrence to discombobulate them. Others seemingly manage stress well. Have you ever stopped to think about how you handle stress? Are you a stress eater? Do you tend to wear yourself out by not getting enough sleep? Perhaps you close people off and keep to yourself? I’m willing to bet you have a tale tale sign. Have you figured yours out? I know that I’m a stress eater. I love to eat sweets when I’m stressed.

There are ways to manage stress. Maybe you exercise or make sure to get plenty of sleep at night. Maybe you leave work at the office and spend quality time with your loved ones. Everyone needs something different when it comes to managing stress. The trick is to find what works for you. What is your favorite way of coping with stress?

The tricky thing about stress is that we face it everyday. I know that I’ve had to figure out the best way for ME to cope with stress. What I’ve learned about myself is that I need to be honest about it. I can’t ignore the signs – because my body will eventually slow me down whether I want to or not. I’ve also learned that how one deals with stress speaks a lot of their character. I don’t want to become impatient, rude, or aggressive with people just because I’m stressed. I don’t want to let stress feed on negativity.

I love working with positive people. I consider myself a positive person. It doesn’t come naturally 100% of the time. When things get stressful, I have to remind myself to smile, listen, and find joy in little things.

Everyone has stress in their life. It’s how you deal with it that people will remember.

Thankful Thursday

About 8 years ago, a former student of mine, Macy, emailed me. Macy is a student from my 3rd grade class that I taught in 1999. Macy stole my heart as soon as I met her.

In her email, Macy told me that she was a senior in high school and had to write a report about her favorite teacher. Guess who she chose? Macy emailed to tell me why I was one of her favorite teachers.

Let me tell you what that email meant to me. It validated all of the late nights, long days, work filled weekends, and sleepless nights that teachers go through. Teaching is hard work, but we do it for our kids.

We arranged a time for Macy to come and visit me at school. After our visit, we decided to keep in touch. I’m proud to say that Macy graduated high school, college, and nursing school and is now a nurse practitioner at a local hospital. My heart bursts with pride when I think of her.

Macy will never understand what that email means to me. I felt honored that she still remembered and thought of me!

I have had other students get in touch with me over the years. Facebook has allowed me the opportunity to connect to former students and parents that have a special place in my heart. I love seeing my kids graduate high school and college. I’ve even been invited to a few of the ceremonies.

Top: Maggie (former kindergarten student)
Middle: Luke, Hope, and Noah (former kindergarten students and siblings)
Bottom: Alex (former kindergarten student)

I’m unsure if students ever really understand the effect they have on their teachers. My students will always be “my kids”. I learned so much about teaching, learning, patience, and myself by being part of their lives. I am thankful for the lessons they taught me.

Today I challenge you to think of a former student that has made an impact on you. If possible, reach out and let them know you are thankful for them and why.

I will forever be thankful to Macy, Maggie, Alex, Luke, Hope, Noah and the countless others that have touched my heart over the years.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @LisaJohnsonEDU

Twitter

I will never forget the day I was told to create a Twitter account at work. I was a little confused as to why I needed one and how “social media” was going to be useful in education. I kind of thought it was going to be a waste of time. I wasn’t sold on the idea and wasn’t sure how much I would use Twitter for educational purposes.

Fast forward 2 years later. I use Twitter daily. I don’t use it the same way as I do Facebook. Facebook is social – a way to connect with friends, family, and classmates who live near and far. But, Twitter is part of my Professional Learning Network. Connecting with someone on Twitter is not like friending someone on Facebook. It’s much more. I have made connections world wide. I love knowing that I can tweet a question, post an idea, participate in a chat, and learn from my colleagues with ease.

Twitter has also allowed me to connect with authors that I admire. I follow @burgessdave, author of Teach Like a Pirate, @joykirr, author of Shift This, @awelcome, Kids Deserve It co-founder, @aaron_hogan, author of Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth, and my favorite – @gcouros, author of Innovator’s Mindset. These amazing educators will tweet, message, and chat with you!

Participating in a Twitter Chat is so easy and worthwhile. I jump in chats all of the time. You don’t have to be “invited”, you just have to find a conversation that inspires you. I have learned about so many different aspects of education in chats. If you’re nervous about actually posting in a chat, you can be a “lurker” and just follow the conversation. No one will even know you are there! I had the honor of hosting a Twitter Chat for Cumberland County Schools this month. It was an amazing experience. The collaboration was phenomenal.

I still encounter teachers who don’t understand the power of Twitter. And to them I ask, what in the world are you waiting for? Create an account, get a handle, and follow some worthwhile hashtags. You will be amazed what is waiting for you on Twitter!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter – @lsj914!