Ep 82 Being More Intentional in 2023 | A Teacher's Year-End Reflection

Dec 20, 2022

**Holy cow guys this is a long one, but, I have to admit, I really really loved recording this.  So, if you have to listen in chunks, that’s the beauty of a podcast, just pick right back up where you left off and it even rewinds it a few seconds for you when you’re able to click play again.

Here’s to a more intentional 2023, and a glimpse into my year-end reflection and planning process. I hope you find it helpful.

As promised, here is a link to that year-at-a-glance calendar I grabbed on Canva - it’s now a template you can use.

SUSTAINABLE TEACHER SHOW NOTES:   https://www.teachonamission.com/blog/being-more-intentional-in-2023-a-teacher-s-year-end-reflection 

SUSTAINABLE TEACHER FB COMMUNITY: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sustainableteacher 

FULL FOCUS PLANNER: https://www.teachonamission.com/planner 


At the time this episode will air, we’ll be up to our eyeballs in the Christmas season - which I absolutely love.  I’m the Christmas freak.  -Remember 10 or so years ago the crazy Christmas Target lady commercial???

Although in Christmas spirit or fever depending on how you look at it, right around the corner is the new year.

I love to reflect on giant chunks of time like a whole year or a 3-5 year span because it brings such an awesome perspective to your life… it forces you to the see the forest through the trees, when you are so consumed by the day to day life.

I also love to reflect at the new year, as in the calendar year, because we teachers can easily get wrapped up in reflecting on how to best serve our current students.  Should absolutely do that, but we also need to take step back from our identity as teachers and reflect as a whole.  Doing that in the middle of our school year (that is, if you’re listening in the Northern hemisphere and follow the schedule schools up here follow) allows us to break from teacher-us and just consider us, even if for a moment.

In this episode I’ll take you through what my end-of-year reflection process looks like, and how I’m working through it this year, just having a chat, as if you’re sitting across the table from me at Panera or your favorite coffee shop, where you are enjoying coffee and I’m enjoying a tall glass of iced mountain dew.

Sustainable Teacher Challenge

We are talking about all things sustainable teaching on this podcast  - whether it’s sustainable grading, systems at home, or classroom strategies - it’s all about helping you feel supported and sustained.  If you’re feeling you want more - more ways to be sustainable, or tips and ideas from me and my team at Teach  On A Mission, I want to challenge you.  Meaning, I want to welcome you to our totally free 7-day Sustainable Teacher Challenge.  Each day I’ll show up in your email with a training video and a workbook of prompts that will help you reflect on and ultimately make more sustainable decisions for your classroom.  You can register when you’re ready by going to teachonamission.com/sustainableteacherchallenge which is linked in the shownotes to get started today.

Being More Intentional in 2023 | A Teacher's Year-End Reflection

Materials needed for this episode… printed out year-at-glance calendar, google calendar, google doc, full focus planner

  1. Have to look at the year past - hardest part for me, therefore most important part. If I don’t do this, then I am totally ignoring any successes as if they mean nothing, which is exactly what I’m doing because that’s how I work.
    1. Also allows us to reflect on what didn’t work, and why, so it can serve our plans for the next year. I’ll talk about this specifically here in a few minutes.
    2. My successes:
      1. More time with my kids - got down on the ground, read the books, took the vacations, cooked the dinners, went to the school parties.  Was I perfect - ha, nope, but I’ve felt closer to my kids this past year and that is priority number 1 for me.
      2. Fitness game has stepped up because I stopped thinking about it - just click play  Don’t do it just to look good, do it for what muscle does for my body and what it will continue to do as my body loses it’s ability to make muscle so well as I age.
      3. More intentional with what I put in my body - gardened, cooked at home more
      4. Still in the process of leaning out our possessions and expenses, and what we choose to spend money on, but it’s a process and we’re getting there.
      5. Didn’t give up on my business when it would have been easy to walk away - committed to levy, but made recommitment to my passion and desires I established years ago.
    3. My areas for improvement:
      1. My damn phone - being influencable
      2. Leisurely activity - we took the vacations, but everything I did was to be productive.  God is teaching me what it looks like to have dreams and desires without always striving… on my 2023 reading list is “When Strivings’ Cease” - book club anyone???  Need to have something in my life that requires literally nothing from me than to just enjoy myself.
      3. When I take something on, I’m not the only one who is impacted by it - so I must see it as a team effort for multiple reasons
        1. It absolutely will impact my kids and husband, that’s a no brainer, but it’s something I consider to determine if the commitment is worth it or not - that’s not a hard one for me.
        2. What’s hard for me is seeing the ways in which I am able to ask others to join me in the effort - I see it as my job only, and to ask for help means I’m not up for the task - so stupid, I know.  But I’m learning and seeing now that the ability to see where a team could work together to accomplish something is fulfilling the commitment and doing better than if I just went it alone and bared all the weight by myself.  This does not just apply to my business where I realize that if I want to increase the amount of podcast episodes and YouTube videos then I have to hire someone to edit it or it won’t get done - it also applies to my home. If I”m the only one tidying and cleaning, it won’t get done. And if it does it will be at the sacrifice of my pleasantness toward others - so, to my kids i will say, if you want me to be able to sit down with you and read a book or play Trouble or toss with you in the front yard, then by-golly help me do xyz for our home so that’s possible - if I don’t have to do it alone, then you get more of me.

          1. This also applies to non-professional roles I’ve taken on recently like that of the levy and even in my church.  If i take on all of it, that means someone else didn’t have the opportunity to use their skills and talents.  Who am I to assume I’ll do it best?  Reach out, have conversations, let something go undone, or encourage someone with their idea that you could implement, but if you don’t they could do it better and you won’t know unless you just let it happen.
  2. Look to the year ahead - I like to do this with the calendar year at a glance.  I use that year at a glance in a very specific way for my business, but I first use it just to have an eye on the year when I’m reflecting, giving me really good perspective how quickly those weeks and months will pass by - there’s no need to cram everything in it.
    1. Break it down quarterly - what are the big focuses of each quarter for our family, for our work, for life in general?
    2. Digital calendar with my kids’s school calendar, husband’s work calendar and put all dates into the calendar for the entire year.  SO important and so helpful to my future self when planning literally anything.
    3. Start penciling in time off, trips for our family or with friends, etc.
  3. What’s my word for the year - have done this 3, going on 4, years now.
    1. 2019 - action, 2020- impact, 2021 - enough
    2. Sustainable Teacher Challenge - we work together in that free 7-day in your email inbox training to determine your word of the year, definitely should get signed up, work through it, and let me know what your word of the year is for 2023.
    3. Value - providing value for teachers in all that I do, not just in paid content, but also in what my own value is… it’s not defined by how much money I make, my students’ scores, or even my kids’ performance in school or behavior as a human being.  That’s a hard one for me, but I’m working at it.  My value is not tied to how productive or helpful I am.  It’s not tied to my marriage either - another hard one.  Finding the balance between desires and dreams, and what my value is outside of those desires and dreams - huge one of teachers.  Your value is not tied to your students’ scores or performance, your evaluation, how late you stay at work, how long you work on the weekends.

  4. Start mapping out my goals based not just on what I want to accomplish this year, but keeping in mind the long term goals I have - how can this year serve those goals?
    1. Google doc, break down my goals into quarterly goals, write those on my year at a glance as themes for each quarter
    2. Use my full focus planner to map out the first quarter of 2023 - I’m using the _______ that I have ordered but not received yet.
    3. The system of the FUll Focus planner allows me to have created the goals, implemented the system, and then stop thinking about it in an obsessive if I’m not thinking about it then it’s not going to happen like state of mind.  That’s not healthy.  But I also want to accomplish my goals.  The Full Focus Planner allows me to keep those goals front of mind in a healthy planned out, accomplishable manner.  Learn all about the full focus planner and how to get one at teachonamission.com/planner (link in description), and yes, if you decide to grab one I get a very small commission off of that.
  5. Something I’ve been reflecting on recently is the phrase “You can’t make your cake and eat it too” - I get what the saying is about.  The phrase has been directed at me and I’ve even used the phrase all with the purpose of saying you can’t have it both ways.  And in simple, most non-adult situations, that’s true.  For instance, in high school you can’t have a job, play all kinds of sports, and be a stellar student.  Some kids do, but something is compromised in the promise - can’t make your cake and eat it too right.
    1. I’ve said that about our schools and levy effort recently - you can’t have great schools without working for it and/or paying for.  Can’t have great schools and zero taxes.
    2. But I want to challenge this statement, or this idea a bit.
      1. First of all, if I’m going to make the damn cake I’m going to be the first one to take a bite. Simple as that, in the very literal sense.
      2. But questioning this phrase is exactly what fueled me to start my business and ultimately redefine how I was using my time and get this whole thing off the ground while allowing me to be more present with my family in the process.  I could not have started this business and run it the way I do today while remaining in the classroom.  But couldn’t you say that I wanted to make my cake and eat it too - I wanted both.  I wanted time with my kids and family and I wanted to have impact and give value to teachers.
      3. I’m not saying this has to be you or that you have to leave the classroom in order to feel more balanced - absolutely-freaking-not, but where I will apply this statement to teachers and how it relates to our message on this platform and all others, is that you can have both.  You can make your cake and eat it too - you can be an effective teacher and have a personal life.
        1. I don’t necessarily have all the answers to how to make that happen. I hope that this podcast and my youtube videos help you get as close to having both as possible, but I’m not the beholder of all knowledge there.
        2. But I think the first step toward that reality is admitting that it is possible. This is so hard for teachers because it’s engrained in us that we have to sacrifice one in order to be successful at the other. And I’m freaking over it. I’ve been over it, and I’m betting you are too simply because you’re a listener of this podcast.
        3. But I say all of that to say, step one is just admitting out loud that having both IS possible.  And maybe that’s also step one in having a more intentional year in 2023.


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