Recharged and Ready to Rock

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Always Be YOU….do what you need to be YOU

Spring break is over and I tried to enjoy every minute. If you saw my earlier post my hope for everyone this spring break was to rest, relax and rejuvenate. I shared some ideas on how I like to achieve those three R’s. I was able to do some of them and a few things I hadn’t thought of.  I really tried to make the most of this time off.  I love a vacation away, but sometimes it is nice to appreciate home.

Monday:

Thank You Spring

Mammogram. Perfect way to start a week off -with a clean bill of health! Pushed the cart at HomeGoods and fed my Rae Dunn addiction.  I found a few things that I “needed”. Watched a sappy, girly movie with my mini me-tissues were not optional. So thankful she now enjoys movies with people.  I love all our years in animation city, but this new phase is pretty great.  Took a family walk and sucked up the sunshine and the signs of spring.

Tuesday:

Totally Spoiled

I don’t know if this is considered relaxing, but I painted our guestroom. Not enough guests to keep it the way it was, so Momma gets a room. Virginia Wolfe would approve. It is a work in progress, but I am happy with it so far. Do you need your own space???

This was literally my whole day. I did stop and make dinner for my family….because the paint was drying (haha). Then I was back at it arranging and trying to make sense of things.

Wednesday:

Girls day! Shopping at the outlet mall with my mini me. We stocked up on Crocs (love a sale). They are her jam! We found the cutest silver glitter pair ( there is a 3rd pair, but she put them on as soon as we got home).  Got some mothers day gifts purchased.  Felt good to get it done a few weeks before.  Vera Bradley made it a very easy task to buy something pretty for blessed women who don’t really need or want a thing.   Panera for lunch. I was super happy they have this new (or at least to me) chocolate cookie that is gluten friendly.  Delish! Calories don’t count on vacation….right?! After we refueled…Hobby Lobby.  Found some cute things for the wall in my work space.  Trying to have a positive and inspiring place to get all the things done.  We went out to dinner as a family….yep 2x eating out.  Had to be done. It’s break!

Thursday:

Family Mini Golf

Did a couple of hours of work.  Trying to finish a resource for my TpT store. I have had this idea for my students advocating for themselves for a bit.  My hubs took a half day and then it was time to turn off the Chromebook…family first! We went to lunch and then did a round of mini golf.  Who says winning doesn’t feel good!?! Haha!

Friday:

Popcorn Always

So typically I love to make it to Friday, but this Friday meant break is coming to a close-what better way to spend it, than to go to the movies and watch a little action! We went to see Avengers: End Game.  It was superhero packed-zipping my lips on the details. One thing I can say is it is long and we made sure we got all the good snacks!

The rest of the day was very rainy day blah.  A gluten free pasta dinner at home, Marvel movie marathon running in the background and some TpT work.  I happily put 2 new resources in my store.  I need both of these things.  I am already starting to think of end of the year teachers gifts for my teachers and my child’s teachers. 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teacher-Thank-You-Tags-4535329

Check these out

I really have been thinking about this advocacy resource for  while. I just needed to sit down and do it. I have most of my annual reviews completed, but I am forecasting for next years advocacy goals. I needed something simple and clear for all parties involved. 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hearing-Advocacy-Punch-Cards-4533984

A little work was inevitable!

Saturday:

I have grown to love a filter!!!

Woke up early to go to yoga. I love it once I am there, but I always struggle to leave the house to go workout-especially when it is bleak outside. My Rae Dunn BEAST mug said it all! Getting a good flow in tames the inner struggles. An hour of just listening to the instructor and listening to my breath is a practice for me, because it is hard to not listen to my inner monologue and to do lists. Surrender to the mat!

Got some baking in. This gingerbread girl needed a sweet treat-heavenly with coffee.

We wrapped our Saturday with a very lovely and lively dinner with friends. It feels so good to connect with people you adore. Our lives get too hectic sometimes, so it is nice to enjoy simple moments where everyone was device free and happily social. The kids were great, so a stop at Dairy Queen was the perfect way to say goodnight.

Sunday:

Family Fun

I got up close to my workday alarm time. Tomorrow is going to be an early wake-up, so it was nice to get up by myself and enjoy my morning caffeine just listening to the birds. We had no idea what to do today. Do we do all the Sunday prep things or try to stretch this break out 1 more day. We stretched it out. We decided to do some free family fun and go to the power authority. It was nerdy fun for a couple of hours, then back to reality….laundry and meal prep, planning and errands.

Back to Reality

If you were off this week I hope whatever you did with your time was enjoyable. That you had some time to decompress. I think starting tomorrow there are eight weeks left in my school year. Depending on where you are maybe less. Whatever your count down is, I hope you can enjoy these last weeks. I hope you accomplish whatever you need to finish out 2018-2019. I know this week really put me back on track. I had time to think about what I need to do to make these next two months great. Bye bye spring break….see you next year (maybe on a beach). If you want share what made your week off that would be awesome!

If I can’t drive through it I don’t do it

Teacher thank you cards. I add a coffee gift card the the back. Made by: Me

Ok so if you knew me better, you would know this is my motto! As an itinerant teacher I know I have freedom and could abuse this freedom. I don’t park and stay in one place all day like a typical classroom teacher. I love this part of my job….for the most part. Freezing weather egh…kinda ruins it, but I still appreciate the good days! So, when I travel from school to school I drive by lots of stores and places that I might want to wander in, stop & shop, or do one of my many mommy errands, but do I? NOPE. I live by this phrase. If I can’t drive through it, I do not do it! I don’t park and get out. Typically drive thrus are limited and designed to be efficient.

Places I Drive Thru

  • The bank
  • Coffee places
  • Fast food….sometimes I need fries
  • Mailboxes

Short list. I figure if it doesn’t have a drive thru feature it isn’t for me to do in between schools. I consider that to be an abuse of the glorious freedom I have with the basic makeup of my job.

I have thought about the car wash…greatly. I would love to drive through and make my black beauty look all sparkly and pretty, but I don’t. I am a worrier. What if the line is long and I get trapped between slow pokes or the conveyor breaks and I get stuck….that would be super awesome to explain to a teacher why I’m late. So no go. I drive it dirty and wash it after hours just like everyone else.

Are their other places that have a drive thru???

Now, I think of all my classroom teachers who are in their buildings all day-no fresh, hot refills of their favorite coffee (sad face). If I’m friends with a teacher I will happily drive thru if a friend is in need! We get by with a little help. Sometimes I feel like I need a bat signal, like a coffee cup in the sky.

What I don’t do is flaunt my fresh cup. I don’t parade in with a fresh cup- 5 minutes late. Of course if I am going to be late…which happens due to life happening….I never get something. The clock is ticking and I drive by with a longing look…..see you later my hot or icy friend.

What I have seen and experienced in my decade plus of driving from school to school is that all teachers have bad days, all teachers feel the itch of being in their room all day and all teachers sometimes envy our freedom, so walking in late on one of these off days with hot, fresh tea or coffee is not doing me any favors. I once walked in on time and felt the aggravation of my caffeinated presence. I also have gone through the drive through, with time to spare, picked up my tea and then gotten stuck behind Slowpoke Joe. Yep, now I’m late, now that innocent drive thru experience has become a dilemma. Do I go in with hot beverage? Do I just leave it in my cup holder? I leave it. It will still taste good later. Besides, tea is typically atomic hot, so it will be Goldilocks ready after my session is completed. My loss is really my gain here-making the classroom teacher annoyed is not on my to do list.

Maybe you feel differently and that’s okay. Like I said I worry. Heaven forbid someone see me on their day off and I look like I am leisurely pushing a red cart or trying on shoes. I would be mortified. And I know there cancellations and unforeseen gaps in a days schedule, but I stay in a school to do work. There is always work and I feel like if my classroom friends are working, then I am not getting a pedicure, no matter how desperate my piggies are. I know my momsibilities keep me busy after school, so it is a never ending balancing act with school responsibilities and home. No matter how tempting the schedule gap is or how long the daily to do list is I keep my tush in my seat and drive on to my next session.

What do you do? How do you manage this?

Stay In Your Lane

Because I drive so much I am always thinking about staying in my lane…I obviously don’t want to get into an accident, but I am thinking about how as itinernat teachers we are always trying to stay in our lane. I know that I am very aware of my role with my students. I have clear lines with the relationship with them, but I think that the relationship we build with staff can be very difficult to navigate. Have you had moments where you stop and say to yourself “wow did that just happen?”

I think it is hard for classroom teachers to really understand what we do, what it is like to travel, what it is like to follow a schedule that you make from thin air every September and what it feels like to be “homeless”. Some teachers get it (total blessings) but for those who don’t I just try to breathe and take a second to try to see their perspective. I feel that some think we are just roaming wild and free. This is the exact opposite. I find, I feel guilty when I am a few minutes late or have to adjust my schedule to accommodate a student not in their building. I try my best everyday, but the years I have a crazy, busy schedule I have to allow myself some grace. LIFE happens. I might need to talk to a teacher about progress, take extra time with a student if we are working through something or make a potty stop.

Staying in my “lane” can be hard sometimes. My students are sometimes the only hearing impaired or deaf student in their building. That can be difficult for everyone to navigate. I feel like because I am in a supporting role- finding the balance of who needs more of my support or voice can be either very clear or a bit fuzzy. I sometimes I feel I understand a student better because I see them one on one and understand their abilities, however I think there are times, depending on the student’s personality, the classroom teacher sees and knows more or different things. When everyone understands the student’s abilities and needs I find it is so much easier.

I have started making forms and resources to help me stay focused and help others help me. I had these gross looking forms for years. This year I needed to jazz them up, put my spin on the basics. I love color! And who could miss this!!!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/FreeDownload/Parent-Teacher-Notes-4229926

Parent teacher conferences were an area I was not that awesome in. Sometimes they are at times I can not attend, due to my schedule in other buildings. I fill out and print this sheet and give it to the classroom teacher and they will add in information if I need more facts. I use these to help think of goals, track progress and plan lessons. This information helps me stay in my lane, focus me and highlight gaps and cracks I need to fill. Sometimes I have it partially filled in and attend the meeting-taking notes in the empty areas or I fill it out and give it to the classroom teacher to share with my families at the meeting. This has been very effective and looks much nicer than what I was using before.

As an itinerant teacher I feel like I am trying my best to advocate, teach and support my students with balance. I am constantly thinking of ways to fill this role with grace and humor….a year can be long!

How are you making this work? What strategies or things are you doing for success? I would love to hear from you.

Rest, Relax and Rejuvenate

Spring break is days away. I am obviously counting the minutes. I am looking forward to time with my people, some yoga and jellybeans. I wanted to post and wish you a great holiday weekend, long weekend or spring break. I have no plan for this break which is so unlike me. I am really trying to turn my capital type A into maybe a lowercase a (fingers crossed). After this holiday weekend is over I will have a week…one glorious week to try to rest, relax and rejuvenate.

Self care is a new hot term. I am not sure yet if I like the term, but I love the idea. Many of us are running from here to there, taking care of many and forgetting about ourselves, so maybe this is a perfect opportunity to do a little of this self care…..or what ever you want to call it….R&R…me time.

As I was driving between schools today I was trying to think of things that could provide me with a much needed reboot. I love my job, but winter wore me down this year. Maybe it is being another year older or it was just long and salty. Time to put the pep back in my step! Here are a few things I was rolling around:

REST

  • Take a nap
  • Sleep in
  • Good to bed early (huge for me-total night owl)
  • Take a break from my phone and computer…baby steps
  • Drive less

RELAX

  • Binge watch a new show-thank you Netflix
  • Craft something
  • Spend time with my peeps
  • Take a bath
  • Read
  • Bake-gluten free of course
  • Go to the movies-popcorn of course
  • Get ice cream
  • Dinner with friends
  • Girl time
  • Date night
  • Book store
  • Shopping….could be dangerous, especially if the cart is red
  • Garden

REJUVENATE

  • Yoga
  • Pedicure
  • Facial
  • Hair mask
  • Manicure
  • Workout
  • Purge something….this is not cleaning. Purging cleanses the soul!
  • Take a road trip-seeing a new part of the world does wonders
  • Talk a walk

Well my count down has begun. Two more days of bunnies infused in my lesson plans….which I love. I put together a spring eraser kit to play games that is beyond cute. img_20190411_201246_2858880461672745253357.jpgUsing erasers as manipulatives is a fairly new things for me and I love putting sets together. I’ll save that for a future post!

I really wish you wonderful, well deserved time off. If you have the time comment or share what your plans are.  Maybe what you did with your time off. Hippity hoppity break is days away!!!

Spring Cleaning Your Itinerant Vehicle

Spring cleaning has come to mean something different for me as an itinerant teacher.  I am beyond ready for better weather, green grass, flowers and the leaves on the trees. With all the beauty and regrowth I long for a clean car.  I realize that not everyone who travels all day lives in a climate that makes their car disgusting 6 months out of the year.  I drive through it all: rain, snow, slush and ice…and with all of that wintry awesomeness (not really) is a heavy coat of road salt. My black beauty was beginning to look greige.  One day I was in a school parking lot and I actually thought my car was gone! For everyone who loves winter, like my child, I say you love it to the fullest, but if your like me- you want to be done with hats, boots, a heavy coat and trudging through it.  I think if my car could talk it would tell old man winter to take a nap.

So, now that the snow has melted and we are starting to thaw out, I take full advantage of the intermittent nicer weather. When it is 50 degrees out I do the biggest happy dance and roll down a window.  It feels so amazing to blow the winter out of my car. Then I start daydreaming about actually cleaning and organizing the inside of my vehicle.  I think about how it will look, smell and feel.  The outside is easy….drive through and watch the bubble show, but the inside is where the real work is.  I have always thought it would be awesome to use a planning period to clean my mobile classroom. Classroom teachers can whistle while they work and tidy as much as they like during the school day.  Just a thought.

Spring break is just around the corner, which means I will devote at least 1 hour to my “classroom”.  Here are a few ideas I have to freshen up your vehicle:

5 Ideas To Put Spring In Your RIDE

The Wipe Down

  • Whatever you like to clean with…whether you buy it new, dig it out from a cupboard or make it-use your cleaner of choice to wipe down all the hard surfaces. I personally like a combination of items. I like a wipe or a natural spray with a microfiber cleaning cloth to attack the winter dust, salt and mystery smudges. I think as long as you are wiping away all the germs that have been hibernating you are doing something awesome for yourself. I consider this practicing self-care.

What You See Is What You Get

  • I love opening a window but I “forget” to clean them. My car is no different than my house-sadly! Time to put on my big girl pants and use some elbow grease. I prefer to use paper towels and window cleaner or a mix of water and vinegar. I am not fancy. It is simple, basic and gets the job done. I realize this isn’t a news flash but somehow clean windows, inside and out, can give you a fresh view.

Suck It Up

  • Okay, so here is a job I do not like in my house or car. If my hubs is available and in a giving mood I will try to get him help me out. He does a way better job than I do (not just buttering him up with that statement…it is a fact). He uses the shop vac and you would think he had a part time job at the car wash-impressive skills and attention to detail! Now if I am going to do it (sad face) I will get out my vacuum. Now there are 2 ways I handle this job -the lazy way ( which usually wins out) where I vacuum and leave the floor mats in the car and then there is the right way, where I remove them. I used to have fabric floor mats which would come out stiff and white every April. Now I have the rubber floor liners that can be power washed. So awesome. However, I don’t like cleaning them either, so if I am really LUCKY the floor fairy will come out and help me. No matter how it gets done I am typically happy and feel like I got a new car. Bye bye salt! Even if you don’t have salt to remove, you deserve a clean and fresh floor to put your very busy , possibly tired feet.

Organize, Purge and Prioritize

  • This is my favorite part. I love to purge. Considering that I am getting things in and out of my car in windy, frigid conditions for many months I am not always motivated to keep my teaching things perfectly organized. I get a thematic build up every year. My littles need more seasonal teaching materials, so it isn’t weird or unlikely to find Christmas materials in my car bins in April. I go through everything. I look closely at materials that maybe seem like an all year resource to use, but if it is April and I haven’t popped it into my bag since September it might be something to stash in the basement or toss. This is where I prioritize things and myself. I know as teachers we think we will find a purpose for it…we will use it….what if I need it, but it is OK to toss something or pass it on to a peer. I am slowly coming around to the idea that I can survive with less. Clutter slows me down and this gingerbread girl needs to be quick.
  • Travel lighter my friends!!!

Pretty It Up

  • Find something that makes you happy. If you are like me and get in and out of your car multiple times a day you deserve something that brightens your day. Think about getting something functional and fresh: a new air freshener, cute box of tissues, new hand sanitizer, or lip balm. If you want to treat yourself even more think about a new travel mug/cup, colorful umbrella or switch out your bag. I know by this point in my year I am sometimes overwhelmed by meetings, data and IEPs. I might need a inspirational or motivational lift, so I will picked up something I can read or see that will give me a boost. I have also created and ordered personalized phone cases and key chains. I love looking down at my daughters face or a vacation memory on a hectic day. This refocuses me and I feel like it is a great reminder of my purpose.

Springing Forward

These are just a few tips and ideas I have to keep myself balanced and recharged as I cruise on into the last 10 weeks of school. I hope that you can take at least one thing away from these ideas. Being itinerant or traveling for work can make you feel like a little island or disconnected. Remember you are not alone. I hope you enjoyed this post. I will be back at it with new ideas and thought. Please feel free to like, comment & share!