Summer-in-Sight Series: Perseverance

end of school year, summer, primary, education, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, Teacher Toni, perseverance, support, private coaching for teachers, accountability, motivation, recharge, rest

Yay, you’re here for the very bittersweet ending to a very fun series. Hi there, my joyful teacher friend, Toni here. And I’m so glad you’re back. I just hope that this series has added value to your school year as things are winding down. I hope it’s helping you stay focused on your purpose and to keep your passion alive. Hang on to that, my friend, all the way to the very end. And be sure to stick around today as we end this series with a bang and talk about perseverance. (If you missed the start of the series, here’s the first post.)

Could you use private coaching?

Before we do though, I want to share some news with you. I recently had a few spots open up in my calendar to accept a few new coaching clients. If you’re listening to this right now and have held on with me throughout the entire series, I want you to know that you would love one-on-one coaching. 

No matter where you are in your teaching, a new teacher, a seasoned teacher, a ready to retire teacher, coaching is right for you. I work with teachers all across that spectrum. And it just brings me so much joy. I have an enormously good time working with teachers each week to help them with their relationships at work, overcoming classroom management struggles, and helping them plan and execute instructional strategies.

It seriously is the best, and I wanted you to be the first to have access to a free 30 minute session. Private coaching is so powerful because not only do I get to encourage you one to one, but I get to be your sidekick in reaching your goals. Right now is the perfect time to let me help you end this year off better than ever. And although it sounds pretty fancy, private coaching with me is much more affordable than you believe. 

If you’re interested, let’s have a free 30 minute session so that you can get the feel for it and decide definitely whether or not it is what you need. Send me an email to toni @ teachertoni.com and just say, “I’d like a free session.” That, my friend, is all it takes. And it would just be so much fun to connect with you even just for 30 minutes. 

Let’s Talk Perseverance

So now let’s get back on track and get focused on our last P word in our Summer In Sight series. If you couldn’t tell, I love alliteration. My deepest hope, sweet friend, is that you have decided not to just passively listen to this series, but that you have followed through and taken action on the advice. If you have, you should have a clearer, more motivating understanding of your purpose, identified, and planted new passion within your school day. Now it’s time to talk about perseverance. Let’s get growing. 

I want to start by debunking a big fat ugly lie. We look around us in our environment on TV, YouTube, social media, maybe even here on my podcast and think, “Well, they make that look easy. Being a teacher should be easier for me, like it is them.” 

To get a little vulnerable with you, I think these things about being a parent. I have five kids, four small kids here at home with me, and I’m a hot mess of a mom at least 80% of the time. And I see all of these other moms on social media and think this must come easy for them. Look at them. They’re perfect. Their kids are so happy. They do all the sports, go on all the trips. They have all the beautifully crimped hair that I can not seem to give my three girls.

That’s a Joy Stealing Lie

Deep in our thoughts, hiding and somehow surviving like these horrible little joy stealing cockroaches, is this idea that we should be perfect at this. This should come easy for me like it does them. We should be better. If I was good at this, if this was worth my time, this would be easy. What a low down, ugly, creepy crawly, let me grab my gloves and broom kind of lie. 

But what do we do? We let it live on. We know that great, incredible things shouldn’t be easy. Those Olympic medal winners? That’s not easy. They work every day for years to get up to that level, but we think they have some sort of innate talent that no one else has. It’s simply not true. But we let those little roaches nag ourselves to death with thoughts like that. 

Why my friend? Mostly out of habit, I do believe. But wouldn’t we get much better results by turning on the light and scaring those creepy crawlies away?

Focus on Perseverance

What if instead we focused on perseverance as we close out this school year. What if we recognize that nothing good is easy, nothing worth our time and effort is easy. That is what I need. That is what you need. And this is what will provide our students with the results that they need. 

So today, I’m going to give you my favorite strategies to help you get your mindset focused on persevering. Why is this important now? Because this is the time of year when we need it most. This is the last leg of the triathlon, the last nagging 10 pounds that separates me from my goal weight, which I’ve never actually reached, by the way.

This is when our hearts shift just a little from work, work, work to I’m all worn out. But this is truly the time when we need the stamina to push towards our contribution and impact from our purpose statement. It is now or never with this group of students. And guess what, even if you feel like you don’t have any get up and go left, it’s there, I promise, you just have to try something new. And now I’m going to help you with that. 

I want to give you some strategies that will boost your perseverance, that can help you tap down deep and find the energy to keep running. Or in my case, keep eating lettuce instead of a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Try any or a combination of these. And I promise you’ll see results that can help you keep going. Some of these are strategies that I teach in Joyful Teacher Academy, my online training program to help teachers increase their joy and therefore their impact within the classroom.  

Perseverance Strategy #1: Accountability

So strategy number one is accountability. Accountability is probably the most powerful way to persevere through something that is really difficult. To achieve goals despite that feeling of not wanting to, not being able to, achieve it. This strategy is used all across the board in any kind of goal achievement. I’ve personally used it in many ways, especially in weight loss, since we’re on the topic, to help me keep going. 

When we find someone to help hold us accountable, we know that they are looking out to see if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. It just gives us that extra energy, that extra little oomph in whatever we’re trying to accomplish, to see it through until the end. So I’m suggesting that you find some accountability in helping you to follow through for the rest of the school year.

Think back to our passion post of this series. What are some goals that you want to achieve? And how can you insert some accountability to make sure you follow through? 

Accountability in Practice

So for example, I decided that I wanted to work one on one with a specific student. This is very inconvenient for me as I have a whole classroom of students who have to have something meaningful to work on during this time. I knew I would not start it if I didn’t find some accountability first. So I went ahead and sent this child’s mother a message. And I told her about my intentions to work with her child, one on one within the school day. This turned out to be just the accountability that I needed, because now mom is looking for results. And we talk regularly about what I’m doing and how this is affecting her child.

So this is just one example of some accountability. It’s just you telling someone your intentions that you know has some interest in it. I’ll tell you something else, is that this student has also held me accountable since I mentioned it. I mentioned it to her weeks ahead. And I told her that I would be doing this. I also told my other students that our schedule would be changing. And guess what?

Each and every day she asked me about it, when are we going to start that? So if you really want to achieve something, mention it to your students, and they, my friend, will hold you accountable. Many times I’ve done this and regretted it because they never forget anything. Right? 

So strategy number one in finding more perseverance is finding some accountability. 

Perseverance Strategy #2: Support

The next strategy we’re going to talk about is support. This is different from accountability. In many ways, accountability is focused specifically on a goal. Support, on the other hand, is not goal specific. Support is finding people in your environment, who feed your flower. This is a Joyful Teacher Academy reference. But basically, there are things in your environment that weed your flower, they want to kill the joy that you have. And so we have to limit those things. But flower feeders are people and actions and things that make your flower grow, they make your joy grow, they help you find more satisfaction and happiness at work. Support is feeders. Flower feeders are support. 

Find Support in Your Environment

So I’m encouraging you to find support in your environment. Support isn’t always a person that you sit down and speak with, although those are magnificent examples. So let’s start there. Do you know a teacher or someone in your district who loves to talk about teaching and who loves to offer meaningful, helpful advice? That is something I want you to seek after right now as this school year is winding down. 

I specifically have one veteran teacher friend who I go to for support. I used to call her on the phone because we didn’t work together, she worked at another school in my district. But now that I’ve moved schools, I actually get to work with her. So I just have to go down the hall and knock on her door whenever I need support. 

But who could be that for you? Is there someone in your district? Maybe there’s a teacher who lives far away that you’ve connected with online that you can just have a simple conversation with each week that helps you to feel supported, to feel validated, encouraged. 

You Can Also Support Yourself

Support can definitely come from those instances, those conversations, but my friend, you can also, believe it or not, support yourself. This seems kind of crazy for those of us who are very resistant to try these kinds of strategies. I’m talking about myself here. But they can be life changing. There isn’t always someone around to validate your decisions, to help you make those decisions, to help you feel accomplished. Sometimes that support has to come from within. 

I actually teach this to my own children and to my students in the classroom through the use of mantras. And that is what I’m suggesting that you do. A mantra is just a short statement, a reminder that you put within your thoughts. One of my student favorite mantras that just keeps showing up all the time in my classroom is “I can do hard things.” 

Can you support yourself with a statement like that? When you feel overwhelmed, and there’s no one around to lift you up? Who even understands what you’re going through? Can you support yourself? “I can do hard things.” 

If you are really struggling, I would suggest you go back to this post, which was part of my Burnout Buster series. And it was all about anchor thoughts and I really believe that can help you. Mantras are very similar to anchor thoughts. But sometimes we just need a little extra intention with what mantras that we choose. Just remember you are a means of support. 

I’m Here to Support You!

Actually, the blog and podcast are a means of support. My goal is to uplift, encourage, and motivate you. And when you seek help, here you are seeking that support that can help you persevere. So maybe challenge yourself to listen to an episode here every couple of days to help you persevere. If you need more than that, more support than you can find in your environment or within yourself, I definitely recommend it’s time to seek out some coaching. And as I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, I would love, love, love to help you with that. 

Perseverance Strategy #3: Recharge

And our last strategy I want to mention is to recharge. Oh, we teachers are notorious for focusing on everyone’s needs but our own. And that is why in Joyful Teacher Academy, I have an entire module about self care. It is called Preserve Joy, because self care is truly what helps us hang on to sustainable joy. In this career, we need it. 

So to persevere, I’m encouraging you to be intentional in recharging for the rest of the school year. We have this feeling that, hey, I can keep going and keep going and keep going just a little bit longer. And I’ll rest when it’s over. When I say that out loud to you, which is probably a thought you have, it’s definitely a thought that I have, doesn’t it seem kind of silly that we would pressure ourselves in that way? Especially considering that we hold the most incredibly impactful career. 

Our students deserve better than that. Just pushing and pushing and pushing until we can’t push any more. You deserve better than that, my friend. 

Put Yourself on Your Schedule

One of the best strategies to make sure that you recharge, despite this very unnatural feeling of doing that, is to schedule your rest. When we put something in our schedule, we feel compelled to do it. We feel accountable to it. Why don’t we do that with our rest, with our relaxation, with our family. Time recharging is just as, if not more important than, anything else, any other priority in your day. 

So I’m challenging you to get out your planner, wherever you write things down, and write down when each day and each week you will take time to recharge. To just watch a movie with your kids, to cook with your husband, to walk your dog, to exercise, to work on your passion project. I always schedule my time to podcast by the way. 

What it does when we schedule it is that it cuts back on the guilt. You don’t feel guilty for resting, because you’ve strategically placed it somewhere in your day. And when you do that you still have the time to get the other most important things done. You can enjoy it more. Give it a try. When do you plan to rest, to recharge, to help you find that moment of peace that helps you keep on in a more productive way for the rest of the year? 

You can persevere!

So those are my three favorite strategies to teach teachers to help them persevere: find accountability, find support, and recharge by scheduling yourself care. Try one, try them all, but do something different. Do something you’ve never done before. That way you find this perseverance that you’ve never felt before. 

And I’d like to end all of this with one of my favorite quotes, because I know times are hard. I know that it seems impossible that we can hang on and really keep passion and energy and purpose at the forefront when we’ve just gone through so much already this school year. But this is what Nelson Mandela said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” 

So my friend, I want you to know that you can do it. Don’t think about it so much. Just take action, and you’ve got this. Hang in there. And just know if you need me, I’m here for you. And that is a wrap on our Summer In Sight series. 

Oh my friend, I hope it’s been helpful. I want you to end this school year better than ever. I want you to be filled with joy so that you can enjoy those little ones. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This time will never come back. This group of students will never come back. Make the most of it. My thoughts and my prayers and my hopes are all with you my friend. It has been a joy to share this time with you. And as always, until we meet again, go make a difference, my joyful teacher friend.

XOXOXO

Toni

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