What Do I Need…

Today I was asked the question, “What do I need for my own well being?” I was slightly distracted when I was asked to answer the question, so I found myself roaming the room, listening to others, reading their ideas. On the way home, the question lingered in my mind.

Personally, I know what works for me to keep me feeling good and ready for each day. Getting up early, starting my day slowly often sets me on the right path. Physical exercise is an essential part of my day. When my kids were little, I started running in the wee hours of the morning before they got up. Years later, greeting the morning with physical exercise remains part of my practice. Having homemade healthy food, chocolate, a few skittles and dinner around the table all add to my general well being. Practicing my faith and living each day with a dose of thankfulness all feed my well being. Now, as I read that over, it sounds like it’s all perfect, but the truth is, it’s not. But when it comes down to it, I know what I need to fuel my well being and I do the work to get pieces of it every day.

Professionally, I also know what works for me to keep me feeling good and ready. I’ve been at this work called teaching for almost three decades. It’s the people that I spend my days with that fuel my well being. It’s the kids who come to school ready, or not, to learn. It’s those kids who expect us to be there for them, who expect us to know them, support them, find the right ways to teach them. Reaching and learning for them fuels me. It’s the adults, teachers, paraprofessionals, admins, parents that also can fuel my well being (they can zap it, too). It’s being creative and innovative and silly with these people that make our work real and alive. It’s the relationships that I work to have with all these people that make know I am connected and ready to not only continue teaching, but learning for another decade.

One of my all time favorite books (professionally) is The Teacher You Want to Be, Essays about Children, Learning and Teaching. Heidi Mills and Tim O’Keefe, in their essay, Why Beliefs Matter, write “If we are deliberately growing and changing as professionals, our cutting edge beliefs are often ahead of our practices. We grow new beliefs and then strive to live into them.”

So professionally, I think what fuels my well being is continued opportunities to keep outgrowing my own beliefs. I’m willing to put in the work alongside the kids, my colleagues, parents, all in the name of not just teaching, but learning and growing together always.

6 thoughts on “What Do I Need…”

  1. Nailed it. That connection piece is so critical. I’m glad you kept thinking, in your own time and space. When this question was first thrown out there last week, I kept wanting to add in the word “realistic” or “attainable.” We all wish for more time but we can’t make that just appear. It’s how we spend the time we do have- filled with all the things you prioritized here. You are wise my friend. ❤️


  2. This is such a powerful question. I’m wondering who is asking it, and how they plan to respond to the answers. Your response is so powerful. You certainly know yourself. I relate to so much of what you say here about always pushing forward and outgrowing yourself; always reaching for something better; always learning. Thank you for inspiring me, always.


  3. “We grow new beliefs and then strive to live into them.”
    I love that. We always have to strive to think outside of the box, grow our thinking, and then outgrow ourselves — again and again.


  4. I have so much respect for what you have shared fuels you. I am much the same. I always like to think I’m growing and changing (in good ways, of course). I reflect a lot on my actions and I think that fuels me as well. Thanks for sharing the book title as well!


  5. It was a pleasure to read your thoughtful reflection. You know yourself well and you clearly take care of yourself well also.


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