A while back, I signed up to be a part of the Clever Cookie School of Blog, and since then I’ve gotten to be good blogging friends with some incredible bloggers from around the world. Each month on the 10th, some of us form a 10 on 10 photography circle. We share 10 photos (occasionally more – my bad!) from our life – a day of our life, generally – and one of us link to another. Our visitors have the opportunity to make their way around the circle. Some of you may have made your way here from Sam at The Annoyed Thyroid and if so WELCOME! Others of you will leave me and head on off to visit with Cathy at Peregrination Gourmande. I hope you enjoy!
I always forget how brutal the beginning of the school year is. We’ve now been in school for 5 weeks, which is half-way through our first term. The mental and physical fatigue surprises me every year. This is my 12th year of teaching, and in some ways it is the toughest yet.
Last year I started teaching in a self-contained classroom for high school students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Generally speaking, it wasn’t a bad year. There are two behavior facilitators in my classroom who help correct and monitor student behavior. They also step in when students get to feeling their oats and want to do things like throw chairs or punches. I think last year our biggest issue was the 17 year old who refused to bathe on a regular basis.
This year that isn’t quite the case. Our supervisors warned us at the end of the school year last year that the kids this year would be rougher, with more severe issues. They were not lying. Thankfully there are not the 14 students they promised, but of those that are with us, I am left continually shaking my head. The game seems to be if-we-pitch-a-big-enough-fit-they’ll-give-up-and-give-in-and-leave-us-alone. The problem with that in my eyes is that for students who have limited social and academic skills, leaving them alone and not holding them to higher expectations is immoral and unethical.
So every day is a battle. People on campus randomly stop me and tell me that they just want me to know that every day, they say a prayer for me. I certainly appreciate the sentiment because there are days – like today, when we are continually cursed, physically threatened, and verbally attacked – when we need them.
All of that means that my self-care routines have become incredibly important. I’m not getting any more sleep, but I’m working hard to improve my health. Because I’m teaching my students meditation, I’m meditating more on my own. I’m trying to drink more water. I’m getting up each morning with enough time to write morning pages on the front porch. (This is critical to my ability to function in the classroom. It lets me put aside all the worries I might be having in order to focus on the major tasks of the day)
This week as the days have been even more stressful, I decided I need to add seeing the sunrise along the beach to my morning rituals. Since I was going to be there anyway, I figured that I might as well take my camera. I realized sadly this week that I hadn’t picked up my camera since my best friend was here for last month’s 10-on-10 project. More self-care.I decided I had to go to the beach because it’s there, just blocks away. It probably doesn’t help that all week long, I’ve heard Jimmy Buffett’s “Mother Mother Ocean. I have heard your call.” The quote about how everything can be fixed with salt water showed up more times that I want to count this week.
I’ve done plenty of sweating (generally an 1 – 1.5 hours on the treadmill in the evening) but not any crying, and I haven’t been to the water in awhile.
To the water I have been going. I sacrifice a morning shower to leave the house 20 minutes early. Conveniently the sun rises later so I don’t have to leave the house at an ungodly hour.
Much like taking deep breaths is calming, watching the miracle that is the sun stretching her fingers across the dark sky is comforting. The sun rises every day, and when it comes up, it doesn’t care about the day before. It’s just making its way across the sky. Every day is a new day, and these days will pass as surely as the sun chases away the darkness.
With sand on my toes and salt in my hair, I can walk into my classroom coolly collected. I am ready for what the day brings. Even a teenager who throws a fit like a toddler. What does your self-care routine look like? What components are critical to your serenity? Tell me about it in the comments!
Now remember that this is a photography *circle*, which means that I’m only one stop on your photographic journey. Thanks for the visiting from Sam at The Annoyed Thyroid, and don’t forget to keep moving 😉 If you’re beginning with me, you’ll journey on to Peregrination Gourmande – leaving some comment love! – before making your way back to me. There are just three of us this month so make sure you travel around the group!