I’ve been simplifying my personal life for about three years now, including my health, my home, my calendar, my marriage and my relationships. This journey of living a simpler and more meaningful life has made me feel hella happier and healthier!! (That's why my husband and I podcast about it :)) I share more about these changes too in my recent post: SIMPLE PARENTING HAS OPENED MY EYES (PART ONE).
I live my life with more intention and awareness now, because life is way too precious to be busy all the time.
But, it’s kind of funny how I never really looked at my professional life until my daughter Lucille was born (a little over a year ago). This is when I started really questioning my role as a teacher.
As a teacher, I was and still currently am given ALL. THE. THINGS.
Every new school year I am given all the teaching resources I would ever need to help a student be “successful.” Or at least that’s what I thought.
All of the curriculum documents, google sites, workbooks, professional development meetings and mandortory assessments were showing me a path. This path was ultimately telling me what to teach, the specific content students should know, the mandatory assessments students should be scoring well on, and then all the activities, lessons, and tasks that should help me to accomplish this. This is the path I was shown that “good” teachers should follow in public education. This is the path I thought all “SUCCESSFUL” teachers followed.
But, If you are given everything, where is the space for creativity and individuality?
Where is the space in public education for student-led creativity, in-depth conversations on issues that are important to students, social and emotional skills development, exploration of student’s personal interests and curiosities, problem solving strategies, health and wellness education, and just the overall freedom to just have fun! I mean, isn’t that what life is all about?
I realized that I had been bombarded with so many resources, curriculums, and assessments that I had forgotten why I became a teacher in the first place.
I became a teacher because I want to make a difference.
I want to help support and guide students in figuring out who they are in the world and why they are so special.
I want to support students in developing their own uniqueness and for them to share their gift(s) with the world.
But, somehow along the way in my teaching career I had gotten lost in ALL THE STUFF.
After listening to the Simple Families podcast and reading SIMPLE HAPPY PARENTING by Denaye Barahona, I started questioning the path I was following as a teacher. For nine years I had been following this paved path to what I thought was a successful teaching career. But, I realized I was only distracted. I was distracted about what is truly important. Life is not about teaching content that we are told is important, it’s not about making students behave, and it sure isn’t necessary for students to take hours of assessments year after year just because that’s what they are told to do.
Life is about sharing our unique gifts with the world. It’s about choosing the path that aligns to our individual interests, wants, needs and desires and helping others along the way.
All of the resources given to me to be a “successful” teacher were actually distracting me. They were distracting me from getting to know the beautiful humans in front of me. They were blinding me to the point that I wasn’t being my true authentic self. I was being a more stressed and cookie-cutter version of myself. I looked and sounded like everyone else around me. But, I REFUSE TO BE A ROBOT!
I was tired of checking off boxes of what I needed to teach and content I should be covering.
Life is so much more than memorizing ALL the facts and being able to follow directions. I had to stop following this path I had been on for so long and begin to pivot in a new direction.
I had been disconnected from students for too long and it was finally time to RECONNECT with the amazing tiny humans in my classroom Monday thru Friday.
The only people who know what is best for my students are my students. It was time to follow their lead and no one else’s.
I had to TRUST my students' actions, make less judgements, and ask way more clarifying questions. I had to LET GO of control and let their ideas guide the learning. I had to challenge and explore their creative thoughts and not stifle them.
I had to completely reteach myself on what a truly successful teacher was.
My teaching is no longer guided by anyone telling me what to teach. It’s now guided by the amazing tiny human beings in front of me each year.
Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration are the 4-C’s that I choose to embrace in my classroom every day. Denaye talks about this topic in her book SIMPLE HAPPY PARENTING and so many more applicable topics that relate to leading a life full of happiness and simplicity.
I am currently in my eleventh year of teaching, and I am truly AWAKE. I can’t go back to the teaching path I was following. I’m seeing amazing changes and growth in my students every day (and not just in academic areas) because of how I choose to teach.
SIMPLE HAPPY PARENTING has led me to SIMPLE HAPPY TEACHING which has truly transformed my life. I am happier and healthier in my teaching career than I have ever been before.
Teaching is no longer a stressful job for me – it’s now a joy-filled challenge that I look forward to experiencing every damn day.
Thanks to Denaye Barahona, I have started loving more, asking more, listening more, enjoying more, creating more and just being an overall HAPPIER human. Also, I would have never had the confidence and skills to explore this new direction in my teaching career if it wasn't for my amazing school leader, my bad ass and inspirational principal.
Always craving health + happiness,
P.S. Want to hear more about the positive changes my family has taken to live a much happier and simpler life?
Check out our podcast that my husband and I host all about SIMPLIFYING the chaos to be happier and healthier!