Happy First Day of School (2014) from our corner of the world!

Yesterday: Despite the fact that I had the opportunity to lead a beautiful yoga practice to eleven lovely humans, I’m completely honest when I say I was exploding with nerves and dread all day  whenever I thought about going back to school.  I’ve never needed a break from teaching more than this one that just ended.  I went into the two week break feeling exhausted, hungry, kind of angry, frustrated and unfit (mentally, physically, emotionally). Following yoga I had coffee with a dear friend and fellow educator and she graciously gave me this:

This cute little thing is called  Gratoodle.  The Gratoodle's purpose is to keep track of how many moments of gratitude you express in a day, week, month...your choice.  This first click is representative of my friend's presence in my life - love her! (Already dreaming up ways to use this in my classroom...)
This cute little thing is called Gratoodle. The Gratoodle’s purpose is to keep track of how many moments of gratitude you express in a day, week, month…your choice. This first click is representative of my friend’s presence in my life – love her! (Already dreaming up ways to use this in my classroom…)

Today: Coming out of the two week break I’m feeling alive, inspired, fit (mentally, physically, emotionally), healthy and rested.  Over the break I slept in past 9am almost every single day, I ran, I cross trained, I made nutritious food and I drank coffee with friends.  This break was what my soul needed and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  Yesterday’s anxiety was a total waste of time (isn’t it always?) because today was a fantastic reintroduction to the life of a (new) teacher.  I arrived at school at 7.30 this morning and got straight to work on the following:

-setting up a  fresh, new seating plan

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I hope this new outline helps my messy students take ownership of their learning space. We have magnetic name tags that can move around every week so that every student has the opportunity to participate in all cleaning tasks.

-posting our new (previously non-existant) classroom cleaning schedule

-handing out the next two weeks’ worth of Communication Calendars (more to come on those tomorrow!)

-boiling water for “Fika Lite” (our full blown version of Fika was getting a little pricey for me)

-playing “Shanti (Peace Out)” by MC Yogi on repeat until the first students arrived.  Okay, there may have been a bit of “Wrecking Ball” in there too.  Guilty pleasures.

At 8.20 my early birds arrived and bombarded me with hugs and exclamations of glee because “we were all back at school together”.  Yep, you read that correctly…I am not exaggerating.  Hugs and gleeful grade 8s at 8.20am on the first day back to school.  Shocked?  So was I!  We all had a great first part of the day together and…we got work done this afternoon! I’ve never seen my science class work as diligently as they did today.  I complimented my students all the way through our double block of science, continually stating that I was super impressed by their level of focus and output, when one student simply replied, “Mrs. Alleyn, we just needed a break!” Oh man, can I ever relate.  And then this came to mind…

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I found these notes in my yoga journal from last year’s Yoga Teacher Training. Please excuse my shorthand (Ss = students). I love, love, love it when I find crossover gems like this (school teaching/yoga teaching = same same!)

Sooo, as you can imagine, now I have some new goals for this next term.  I don’t want to return to the place I was in on December 20th (grumpy, whiny, angry, exhausted teacher).  I need to take my own advice (above yoga journal excerpt) and put forth a bit more compassion for my students and myself.  Term 2 is going to be great and I have a few things (besides my new Gratoodle!) that are going to help me maintain a more positive state of mind.

Exhibit A:

Continuing to heal from my running induced injury by cross training after work three times per week.
Continuing to heal from my running induced injury by cross training after work three times per week.

Exhibit B:

I have such amazing friends.  ANOTHER teacher friend of mine (who, sadly, I don't work directly with this year) just happened to pop in to my classroom today and dropped off this gift for me.  Now we have at least three of us reading this baby...hello, book club!?
I have such amazing friends. ANOTHER teacher friend of mine (who, sadly, I don’t work directly with this year) just happened to pop in to my classroom today and dropped off this gift for me. Now we have at least three of us reading this baby…hello, book club!?

Cheers to a New Year, a great First Day and some quality Big Goals!

I’d love to hear from you about your first day(s) back at school and any Big Goals you might have for this year (teaching or non-teaching).

Karley