This year has been an especially trying one. My husband and I are both teachers, and we BOTH started at a new grade level this year. For those outside the field of education, this seemingly simple change is really quite a drastic shift. It means scrapping all of our plans, activities, grade-level content knowledge, and state standards, and starting completely from scratch! Essentially we are both first year teachers again, learning everything from the ground up. So as you may imagine, our lives have been a bit chaotic and stress-filled these past few months.
I’ve learned that it’s all too easy to let my career stress dominate my life. I think this is especially true in the field of education, where our care and concern for our students stretches far beyond the walls of the school. It’s easy to “leave work at work” when you’re dealing with machinery, computers, business deals, and marketing pitches. But when “work” involves tiny humans who depend on us to teach them, mold them, and foster their growth, it’s a whole lot harder to simply forget that world when I step out of the building. Their lives go on even when I’m not there, so my concern for their wellbeing is never-ending!
Nevertheless, I reached a point this weekend where my mind was so bogged down with work stress that I was forgetting to live in the now. My husband noticed this – noticed me – and found the perfect way to put it all into perspective. He reminded me of our beautiful life, and how our pieces have all fallen together so perfectly. He reminded me how blessed we are to be here – a place we’d only dreamed of when we first met all those years ago. We couldn’t have imagined how beautifully our life would have turned out when our paths first crossed back in college! And how lucky we are to be doing something we love, touching the lives of students every day, and coming home to our sweet little life together when the work day ends.
I know that it doesn’t eliminate my work stress. I will still worry about my students, and lesson plans, and assessment data, and pacing guides, and common core standards. But I will remember to keep that piece of my life in perspective. I’ll remember that it’s a small slice of my beautiful life, and I need to take the time to live in the moment and be grateful for the rest of the picture! This month is a time when we often reflect on things that we’re grateful for, so I’m challenging myself to stress less and rejoice more! I’m challenging myself to live in the now, soak up every precious moment with my family, and be more grateful for the things I have, rather than dwelling on the stress and negativity that I can’t always control.
I challenge you to reflect too! We can’t always control our stress, but we can keep it in perspective. What is one thing YOU are grateful for?