- There are lessons still to be learned as a seasoned educator. We can grow and learn together.
- It’s always the right time to grow your skills, connect, be inspired, get to know yourself, and ask for help.
As a new educator, I had great respect for my seasoned colleagues. Most of them seemed to be experts. I saw their balanced approach to life and teaching, but I couldn’t allow myself this luxury. I was just getting started, and often, I was scrambling. It felt too early to benefit from my excitement at being an educator, and to truly enjoy the adventure.
A couple of years ago, I was definitely seasoned, but on the verge of burnout. My approach to life and teaching was off balance. I couldn’t allow myself the luxury of excitement, because I was still so often scrambling. It felt too late to benefit from my experience as an educator and to truly enjoy the adventure.
I pondered the fact that the time never seemed right to be confident and happy in my career. After a particularly challenging day, I typed, “How can I teach better?” into my search engine. From there, my journey began. Here is what I have learned since then.
It’s always the right time to grow your skills.
My search question led me to the Teach Better website. From there, I found the Teach Better Academy. To my delight, there were many free courses I could take to help me…you guessed it…teach better. I took the free Grid Method course over the very next weekend. I built my first grid for my next math unit and saw student engagement and confidence go way up, in spite of my newbie design. When school went online, the Grid Method was my saving grace.
It’s always the right time to connect.
I had a semi-retired Twitter account, so I took the Using Social Media course in the Teach Better Academy. Then, I started using Twitter to connect with educators across North America, and even around the world. I followed people whose books and websites had influenced me, and many of them even followed me back! Hopping from post to post, I felt brave when I liked what someone else had to say. I felt even more courageous when I retweeted and eventually replied. Sending my first direct message was a bit scary, and I was even more unsure when I joined my first #Mastery (now #TeachBetter) chat. I did these things anyway.
Thanks to Twitter and my relatively new Instagram account, I now consider myself a connected educator. Like my students when we discovered grids together, my engagement and confidence levels have skyrocketed.
It’s always the right time for some inspiration.
As a visual learner, I thought podcasts weren’t for me. Since I had committed to doing things anyway, I listened to an episode of the Teach Better podcast. Jeff and Rae’s conversation was a lot of fun, and I was inspired by the guests on the show. The more I tuned in, the more “auditory” I became! I soon began listening to the podcast in my car on the way to work or in the evening while making supper. On one such evening, the Teach Better guest was Lindsay Titus. That episode brought a whole new dimension to my journey.[scroll down to keep reading]
It’s always the right time to get to know yourself.
Hearing Lindsay speak made me aware of what was missing in my quest: doing better as myself. A couple of weeks later, I had a 1:1 chat with Lindsay, my first Zoom call with someone I had never actually met in person. My awkward fan-girling aside, that call led me to take two Define YOUniversity courses. Through those courses, I have met incredible educators from many different cities.
I continue to learn who I am as a person and as an educator, and celebrate my growth, thanks to the wisdom and support I’ve found. Lindsay’s Define YOUniversity podcast has become another staple in my listening library. Since then, I have also added the Staff Room podcast, Lasting Learning and Good News, Brad News to my everyday list.
It’s always the right time to ask for help.
This has always been a challenge for me. Yet, as an educator, I am surrounded by colleagues who were born to help others. While reaching out on social media can be a little scary at first, it makes a huge difference. Direct messages now feel more natural. I’m learning to post my questions out to my community. I’ve had 1:1 calls with members of the Teach Better Team to receive feedback and build my knowledge. Coaching with Define YOUniversity and TannenbaumTech this summer have added to my positive mindset and my skills. I consider myself very lucky to have these opportunities. This amazing support will ultimately improve my students’ school experience.
We are free anytime to grow and connect, to become inspired, and to ask for help. As educators, we need to know ourselves and use our excitement and experience to teach better. The time is always right to truly enjoy this adventure…together.
About Sandra Weir
Sandra Weir lives in Québec, Canada. She taught every grade from Junior Kindergarten to Grade Eight. Sandra is currently a Grade Six English and Math teacher. She is a wife, mom to three wonderful adults, and a definite dog person.