How My Journey Towards Self-Discovery Transformed My Classroom

I know, it’s been a long time since I’ve dropped a blog. Since my last blog post on the site, a lot has transpired, especially as I have been spending more and more time connecting with ME! As a part of rediscovering myself, I realized how much I enjoyed blogging as a form of self reflection and creativity. I also LOVE to teach and blogging was a way for me to teach others about the lessons I’ve learned while teaching.  Speaking of teaching (well, writing about it actually), I want to share a bit of a personal reflection on something that was on my mind lately – how our relationship with ourselves can make or break our classrooms. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane for a little heart-to-heart!

You know, as teachers, we were often juggling a gazillion things – lesson plans, student needs, and all those lovely administrative tasks. Sadly, these tasks leave little time for us to take care of the deep social, emotional ,cultural needs that we have? We are encouraged to “build connections of content (that in Chapter 2 of my book) by what about our connection with ourselves? One of the things I’ve learned towards the end of my time in the classroom was that the connection with myself fueled how I connected with others–especially my students. If I was energized, my class was on fire, but if something in my life was off (family, finances, health, etc.,) then it was evident–the slightest issue from a student would have me popping off in the moment and, later that evening, lucky no one had me on camera. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on this idea that the more I improved my relationship with me, the more it transformed the whole energy of my teaching space.

It was like this beautiful ripple effect. When I took a moment to center myself, engage with my own growth, and just be real with where I was at, it spilled into everything I did as an educator.

Teaching wasn’t just about delivering content; it was about relationships – the ones we had with ourselves and the ones we built with our students.vWhen I was in a good place personally, it was like this positive vibe that filled the room. The energy was contagious, and it created this atmosphere of connection and growth. And you know what was even cooler? The students picked up on it. They sensed the realness, the authenticity, and that opened up doors for meaningful connections.

Improving my relationship with myself was like a secret ingredient in creating a classroom culture that wasn’t just about learning but about growing together in a space where all students felt welcomed. It wasn’t always easy, though. Balancing compassion for myself with maintaining healthy boundaries was a bit of a dance. But you know what? That dance was part of what made the classroom dynamic and real. And let’s talk about empathy. When I was tuned into my own journey, it naturally extended to my students. Understanding where they were at became more than just a skill; it was a heartfelt connection.

As I embraced my own growth, it was incredible to see how it empowered my students. It was like saying, “Hey, we’re all on this journey of becoming better versions of ourselves, and it’s pretty dope.” And it wasn’t just about me – it was about us. The community we created in our classroom, the conversations we had, and the support we offered one another. It was a collective journey.

So, as we begin to close out the first semester of the school year, I’m challenging myself (and you, if you were up for it) to continue this journey of self-reflection and personal healing. How can we continue to improve our relationship with ourselves? How could this improvement influence the way we approached teaching and our interactions with our students?

Honestly, I am a firm believer that the change we want to see in education begins with us–the educators. It doesn’t start with students or “at home,” like we’ve convinced ourselves. Instead, the change we want to see happen in our classroom and schools starts with how WE, as educators, show up in classrooms and schools. 

So I’ll leave you with this question, (and of course a few action steps): How are you showing up? And, are you the person your students need to see?

If you’re looking to change the way you show up in your classroom or school, start with YOU. Here are some action steps to improve your relationship with you in a way that will transform your classroom and your instruction.

Practical Wellness Action Steps for Teachers to Improve Relationship with Self:

1. Daily Check-ins: Take a few minutes each day for a personal check-in. Reflect on your emotions, energy levels, and overall well-being.

2. Mindful Moments: Incorporate mindfulness into your routine. Whether it’s a short meditation, mindful breathing, or a mindful walk, these moments can contribute to your overall wellness.

3. Set Boundaries:Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Creating space for yourself outside of the classroom is essential for maintaining balance.

4. Connect with Colleagues:Foster a supportive network by connecting with fellow educators. Share experiences, insights, and seek feedback on how YOU are showing up in your academic space.

5. Professional Development:Dedicate time to your professional development in the areas where you need support personally and professionally. Attend workshops, read educational literature, and engage in activities that contribute to both your personal and professional growth.
What step will you take this week towards improving your relationship with YOU?