The most important work

A few years ago I attended a conference where I was introduced to a speaker named Dr.Jody Carrington. The sessions discussed emotional regulation and another talked about the concept of compassion fatigue and those in fields of work like teaching needing to practice some self care. I was immediately struck by her passion (and the swearing) but she was so dedicated to her message and the importance of helping both the kids and those working with them because our work is so important.

In the years since I have followed her on Social Media including tuning in to her Facebook Live sessions on Sundays and watching her book, “Kids These Days move from an announcement to a tangible accomplishment that I at one point owned 4 copies of and have the audiobook that she narrates.

The book is a wonderful resource when looking at a variety of important topics with actionable steps.

The kids in our care during the school day have so much on their plate that is just school related. Work load, expectations, extra curricular like sports, clubs and other activities all add up. I don’t remember a lot of multi-sport kids when I was younger. I don’t remember kids having to miss out on class because the only time they could fit piano lessons in was during the school day. We have all of these things on their already full plate and then for some they are arriving to school with a plate that is already half full with trauma, income inequalities and other factors FAR outside their control.

The wisdom found in Jody’s book and in her keynote presentations gives educators advice in how to work with, lift up and support all of our students and specifically those who are facing these significant obstacles.

Teachers need support too. Our students are often struggling and we feel powerless to do much when it is happening outside of our walls. The emotional strain is significant. A few years ago I was ready to quit teaching. I was doing everything I could possibly do around the school I worked at. I was invested in my students and burning the candle at both ends, actually the candle was really just one big fire. A single piece of advice from Jody really put it in perspective for me. “We can’t light ourselves on fire to keep others warm.” Now at the time I looked at it like I needed to take care of myself first, the whole put your mask on in an emergency before those around you. But as I looked at the words more I realize for myself it is about looking at what is left in the tank and who gets the reserves.

You can choose the analogy, filling a bucket, drink from an empty glass… whatever the case. As I wrote about a while back for some of our students the world is on fire and we can’t help them if we have nothing left to give. So we need to be mindful. Help our students in need but also help ourselves and those we work with. It is ok to ask for help. Like Jody says we are doing some of the most important work.

Please join use tomorrow (Thursday 8:30 EST, 6:30 MT) for our #G2Great chat with Dr.Jody Carrington as we discuss he book Kids These Days and the powerful topics it addresses.

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