Happy New Year, friends! I hope 2021 brings you new adventures, blessings, and a fresh start. As I reflect on the past year, I wanted to do a blog post of reflection on all 2020 held. It was not an easy year, but there were positive aspects of the year I wanted to remember.
I created the resource below for my students to reflect on and I wanted to take the time to do the same. If you're looking for a lesson to kick-off the new year, this resource (featured below) may be an excellent start.
Here's a list of what 2020 reminded me of specifically within my job.
1. Everyone is dealing with difficult circumstances.
We never know what others are going through. It's easy to assume a lot about people or fill in the blanks with information that is not completely accurate. This year reminded me to give grace to everyone, which can be easier said than done. People within leadership in any school have had to make tough decisions, often at the last minute. I know it's easy to be frustrated, but I constantly try to remind myself that we never know what other people are facing which extends beyond the workplace.
2. You can choose your outlook on life.
This is obviously true every day and even before this year. But I was reminded this year that I have a choice to make. I can choose to try to see the good or I can focus on the weight of life around me. If I want to focus on the negative of teaching in 2020, it's pretty easy to find. But when I take the time to notice the good, my outlook can completely shift.
3. Teaching is hard.
The understatement of the year my friends. This job is not easy by any means. It is difficult in a normal school year, let alone this environment. We have been given overwhelming amounts of hoops to jump through and tasks to complete. The same grace you extend to others should be extended to yourself. You are doing the absolute best you can and that is all that matters.
4. Being a teacher is not my identity.
It's easy to fall into the trap of believing any job is your identity or the place you find your worth. I was reminded yet again this year that my job does not define who I am. I love teaching, and it is a major part of my life. However, it does not where I place my self-worth. I am a daughter, friend, neighbor, cousin, granddaughter, book lover, traveler, creator, and teacher. All of those attributes, plus more, make up who I am but one single feature is not who I am.
5. Kids are resilient.
They will be fine. I know there has been a lot circulating about the impact this is having on their social and emotional health, which is absolutely true. I do not want to downplay the long-term side effects we will experience down the road. However, kids are resilient. Our students will overcome. How do I know this? Students have adults, like you, in their corner who are not giving up on them. Our students will be ok, even if that is hard to see at times.
6. There is always space for improvement, growth, and self-reflection in my teaching content. I would be remised to not discuss the topic of diversity. Our nation continues to wrestle with racial inequality. My own journey of becoming an advocate has made me take a long look at the texts, authors, and lenses I am using within my classroom. I have areas I need to improve on. Although these conversations aren't always easy, this year reminded me of the importance of taking a long, hard look at how I am creating a safe space for every student regardless of their race. I still have much to learn.
2020, you have been one for the memory books. Thank you for the ways you have impacted my life.
I have been mapping out what I want to bring to this community in 2021 and one major focus is freebies. I am grateful for you being here. I want to provide monthly goodies as a small token to say thank you. Here is what to expect in this upcoming year.
If you are on my email list and subscribed to the blog, you will receive a free monthly digital planning page on the first of the month. If you wonder what those are, I have a section entitled "free goods" on here with a few samples. I also have some of these for sale in my TpT store. The free planning pages would be a good place to start to see if you enjoy digital planning before making a purchase.
The first of the month will also include a free desktop wallpaper for anyone. The desktop wallpaper has a similar "feeling" or design to the digital planning page (with the colors and elements). The desktop wallpaper will be a separate blog post including the download links.
I am not putting an official time stamp on this next freebie because life happens. But at some point (hopefully in the first few weeks), I will have a free teaching-related resource for anyone to grab. This will be available in a blog as well with the links for you to download.
Thank you for being a part of this online community! I am thankful for this "teacher gram" world and each of you. :) You have been a ray of sunshine in 2020, and I know you will continue to be in the months to come.
Have an amazing new year, friends!
With love and lots of coffee,
Amy (Coffee Stained Lessons)