If you're a theatre teacher, you are automatically required to dress up for spirit week. For all of you old people that don't teach, spirit week is when students dress up based on the day's "theme." Most common themes include character day, decade day, and school spirit day.
I always dress up during spirit week. Maybe it's my love of dress up or maybe it's that I'm trying to build relationships with my students, but spirit week may just be my favorite week of the year!
Last year I dressed up as Ms. Frizzle for Character Day. I found a dress in my costume closet, cut out some paper spaceships, planets, and stars and pinned them to my dress. I walked around holding my plastic school bus feeling like I was a great teacher. Ms. Frizzle was the teacher I always wanted to be. I liked that she challenged kids and took them on journeys. When I am at my best, I feel like I can do that. But looking back, I'm seeing the irony in my costume choice.
Throughout the summer, I've debated whether I even want to continue to pursue this career. It was only my 3rd year and I was already burnt out. There are several problems in teaching that I could talk about (teachers not being treated like professionals, teacher wages, disrespect from all sides) and maybe one day I will touch on those. Ultimately though, I can't fix those problems alone. I did decide that I would have to find a way to fix my personal problems because I had agreed to teach this year. I couldn't imagine leaving my kids! Each time I thought about what I wanted to do, I would cry thinking about how much it would hurt to leave some of my babies. So I did a lot of soul exploring this summer (and when I say soul exploring I mean blogging about all kinds of random crap). And what I realized was that, in order to be able to be Ms. Frizzle more often, I needed to take care of myself.
Taking care of yourself... teacher's in general SUCK at this. We are motivated and driven by helping people and often times we forget to help ourselves. Add that to the top of an anxiety ice cream sundae (one scoop of perfectionism, another scoop of self-doubt, a sprinkle of potential worst conclusions, and one red apple on top) and you have a person who completely forgets about herself. That was me by the end of last year - exhausted, overworked, and ready to give up. I've realized that I have to give up some of that perfectionism and will to hep others so that I can help myself. You can't help others until you help yourself!
So I've decided to take care of myself more and, four days in, I still feel really hopeful and positive about this school year. What helps is this...
1. I've started saying no more often.
2. I've left work at work.
3. I've taken the time at night to unwind by pampering myself
4. I've sat and done things I like doing - like blogging or bingeing on netflix
5. I've put on some music and I've got lost in my cooking.
Which brings me to this delicious, healthy, easy meal... Yes, those are a lot of adjectives but this meal deserves them all!
We're talking ONE pot to clean people! The healthy, elevated version of Hamburger Helper!
You want the recipe? Click to hop on over to a phenomenal blog called Celebrating Sweets!