My One Word 7-month Reflection

A Seven Month Reflection on the Word I Chose for 2020

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

2020 is my year of MORE.

I started choosing a word for the year several years ago rather than making resolutions. I always have goals, but they are more specific to seven areas of my life including health, emotions, career, contribution, and wealth. A word is easier to come back to and keep in the forefront of my mind.

Around the halfway mark of the year, I like to revisit my list from January and check in with how my life is progressing.

More Time — I have had more time allowed to me or at least the illusion of it. January, February, and March were stressful and full of change before the pandemic even hit. During quarantine, I was able to do some projects. I transcribed notebooks.I was able to write. I took advantage of the free classes and prompts that were offered by teachers I love and follow. I learned some interesting practices with my kindergarten team on how to conduct distance learning with 5-year-olds.

I was granted more time with my husband while teaching from home because of the sheltering in place this spring. It wasn’t the vision I had envisioned but I am excited the universe granted it to me anyway. 

More Money — I changed jobs in January and am finally being paid what I am worth. I had used all the avenues I had for my former job and came to a dead-end every time. The sad reality was that I was never going to get the money that I desired, even though they were paying my colleagues upwards of $25,000 more than me for the same job. Changing jobs became my only option.

More Time Saying Yes to the Right Things — I have started to say no to things that do not align with my beliefs and values. This covers activities and people. From the outside, I suppose this seems harsh. Some relationships, I have tried to repair in an adult manner and have come to a dead end. I am taking Maya Angelou’s words and recognizing when people show me who they are, to believe them the first time. 

More Writing — I wasn’t sure this was possible, but I am writing every day and have several challenges going at the same time. Through the learning I have immersed myself in this year, my pieces are better and I am thankful. I was able to do my 100 rejections project and share some of my learnings from it as well.

More Fun — I am focusing on the positive and bringing more of it to my life simply by paying attention. When I feel joy and things are going well I revel in it! I enjoyed the time at home, time with my husband, time with my kids. I enjoyed the learning. I loved the time with friends and in classes online. I had fun with my students. In recent weeks, the family has been horseback riding, boating on the Wisconsin River, ziplining, playing games at home, and laughing.

More Walks — I have changed my exercise and health routine. I am over 70 days into my Back To Zero plan. Walks are a daily practice now — rain or shine. Fasting happens every day. More water as well.

More Sun and Moons — I have been out in the sun more and have the tan to prove it. I pay attention to the moon cycles and this has brought me joy and insight.

More Movies — With the sheltering in place, I have never been more thankful for streaming. Netflix and Amazon are our friends.

More of What Matters. This has been an area of hyperfocus for me. If an action does not align with my beliefs and values then I delete it. I have refocused my social media and communities with this in mind. The books I keep and the way I spend my time as well.

More Hikes Near Trees — This one is more difficult since I moved. My daily walking route has trees along the path, but there is mostly open space and hills. The hills are great for fitness and toning while you walk and run!

More Time to be Who I Am — I am in the last week of my coaching program and am coming back into my power. I am a force of nature and needed to stop pretending I am not. . I am a leader, but I get irritated when groups don’t go the way I would facilitate them. Recognizing these reactions, and then changing my actions has been helping.

More Words that Matter — I have been paying attention to the sentence level of my writing. My 100-day project has been helping with this considerably. My project is to write a random sentence every day for 100 days. At the end of the 100 days I will gather all the sentences, read them aloud to myself, and find the plot within. Then I will edit and revise the sentences into an amazing short story.

I also write every morning. There is a combination of Janning ( a combo of journaling and planning), fiction, and morning pages.

More of the Stories that Need to be Told — This one I am still struggling with. I use various ways to get out of my own way to trick my brain to stop putting up walls. I am trying to write more about what wounds me and what the ripple effect has been on my life. There is learning, loss, betrayal , and growth. 

More Writing in Bed — My bed is my desk. Part of my morning routine is to write with my coffee. I do have a desk, but it is in the boys’ room. I need a better chair. I write while I am walking too but that is more notes.

More Reading by the Fireplace — This one is more of a visualization, for now. I put the fireplace on my computer screen. I have no fireplace in the apartment. This is more when I move to my forever house. There will also be a small fireplace in my writing shed when I get there too!

More Connections with People who make me Grow and Feel Supported — This is one of the four main goals I am working on now. I am nurturing my female friendships and am being more intentional about them. I am reaching out to some writer friends to get to know them better. I am also looking for a real-life group of writers to meet with and made a power move to start a teacher group this fall.

Overall, I am living a life as close to my ideal life that I have since….EVER. I am thankful for the changes that I have made and continue to grow. I am excited to see where my word takes me for the rest of the year!!

Window Of Time

A Poem

Writing/Reading

Image for post
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The window
Of time
You cannot see
Through

Holds the
Swallow of wine,
Swallow of chicken,
Swallow of brown rice,
Bite and
Swallow of sugar cookie.
Time’s expired.

On my walk,
On the other side,

I see the
Royal blue, cream, and
Reddish brown
Of one swallow
Perched in the one tree
Not uprooted.

It is not
Lost
On me.

Move On!

A Poem

Image for post
Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash

We are
Where we are
Just keep going forward.
This is my
Mantra.

My life is
Backward.
Success came early
Then dissolved like
The tablets my grandpa
Used to put in glasses of water
Grimacing as he drank
Heartburn
And regret
Down
Boiling in his throat.

I am a learning machine.
I just have to trust the process and
see what happens.
This is what I tell myself.
I do not believe it.

I don’t like not knowing.
Evolution has not helped me.
I am at a party
Uncomfortable
With weird door prizes
The winners of
A clothes iron
A toaster oven, and
Serving dishes
Are not my people.

This is not a bridal shower.
I am misfit
Among the people
Who are supposed to be my
Tribe

Pens,
Notebooks, and
Paper
Would have made more sense
For people who live in their imaginations.

It was not clever, but
I cannot decide
If I am
Disappointed or
Defeated.

I am a discontinued Monopoly piece
Like the door prizes from the party
.

The prompt:

Write a poem, or any other kind of writing, using the word misfit; it doesn’t have to contain exactly that word: your piece might use the concepts or attributes of the word.

J.D. Harms

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What Story Are You Telling Yourself? #SOL20

I write every Tuesday and share on the Two Writing Teachers blog. Join other teachers that share their writing and thoughts.

Think about a time you were teaching and you CRUSHED it! It was one of those lessons that went so perfect you wish you would have taped it or that your principal was in the back of the room frantically writing the notes of how brilliant your classroom is.

What were you doing? What had you done before the lesson began? What are your students doing? What were you saying to yourself?

What were you wearing? Where were you standing? Did you have a Powerpoint? What materials were out?

Get yourself back into that moment. See it in your mind’s eye and feel what it felt to be in that moment.

***

I have several moments that I like to come back to from my 25 years as an educator. One is from early in my teaching career when I was teaching first grade. We had gathered on the floor in a circle to share our writing journals. I had established a clear rhythm of family meeting that ended with a read aloud and then we wrote a group chart and then students wrote independently. I sat in the circle with everyone and had given the directions that someone would read and then we would ask questions about what was not clear and then also tell the writer what we loved about the writing.

I started the activity and guided the first couple of writers and the comments. Then my kids took over. They asked each other questions and took turns like expert writer workshop participants. I was awed. I slowly backed out of the circle because they didn’t need me. I watched as my students gave helpful feedback and suggestions. The writers knew the piece was still theirs and if they didn’t like the feedback they didn’t have to use it. I was so proud of my little students. My heart was so full that day.

I can literally tap into this experience because I have associated it within my physiology by my right hand tapping on my upper chest, right under my neck. I can get back to this moment by triggering the memory with the hand motion. I know young students are capable of doing great things because I have seen it. Even if I haven’t seen it with my own eyes I know I can find studies and stories from other teachers who have with their students. I can piggy back off their experience to fuel my own.

Over the next few weeks, I am creating a teacher identity that exemplifies what I want to accomplish this school year no matter what it looks like.

Here are some of the questions I am asking myself:

What adjectives would you use to describe yourself as a level 10 teacher?

What outcomes do you want to consistently create over the school year?

What actions do you need to take to ensure those outcomes are reached?

What mantras do you need to remember to bring you back to your goals? I wrote about this one here.

What three things if I do every day at school will guarantee I have a successful day?

What gives me energy during the school day and what depletes it?

What beliefs do I have about school, my students, and my teaching? Are they limiting or empowering?

I would love to hear about your teaching moment that you brought to the forefront of your memories!

Sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already! I would love to connect!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

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Welcome to the weekend! It is almost 90 here again today but I still have my hot black coffee! Let’s visit inside with the A/C today.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a flat this week on my car and had to get a new tire. I went to Discount Tire which has been a wonderful company. I have been going there for years and have been happy each and every time. They have great warranties and are always polite and never pushy. This isn’t a paid advertisement, I just love their service and prices. For this incident, whatever I hit went straight through the tire and the rim making a large hole. I am thankful it just required a new tire and rim and not cause more damage to the car.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I connected with another kindergarten teacher who has an amazing blog and podcast. You can find her here: https://creativekindergartenblog.com/. She just did a YouTube training about making a checklist in Google Sheets and it was amazing! I made it while she was talking and I am so excited to use it. I can just duplicate it and save myself so much time this school year. I always find what she shares valuable and useful. Her idea of the blueprint book at my block center was just one of the ideas I incorporated after listening to her podcast.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we went camping. This trip was a bit off-center. We were not able to take our boat because it wasn’t repaired yet. When we arrived at the campground there was some confusion about our trailer and where to put it. Then we went to our space and the neighbors decided to help themselves to our electricity and water hookups. The front office called them and they disconnected it but didn’t say a word even though he walked right past us. It was rude. The campfire is one of my favorite parts. They had a wonderful pool and inflatable playground in the river which the kids used. The sunsets were gorgeous. We rented a boat for Friday and was able to go tubing. It was perfect weather. When we came back to the site it was super hot and the tents were like ovens. When the reservations were made we thought there was wifi which was not the case. In addition to that, the mobile data didn’t work either. Being disconnected isn’t a bad thing, but that was not the thought process going into the trip. At the end of the day, we decided to come back early because everyone was tired and the next day was predicted to be 90 degrees. All the kids were amazing getting everything packed and then unpacked and back into the house.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my email got hacked. Luckily, I was at the end of my workout and almost home when I started getting hit with the emails so only ended up with about 600 random signups, not 6,000. I was able to go in and change all the passwords and change almost everything to two-step verification.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I wrote every day. I have not been writing as aggressively this month on purpose. I have a big course starting on the 24th of August so will have to dedicate a lot of time to specific assignments. I am working on goals and systems for coming back to the person I am at my essence.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this week seemed packed and full of item warps but the sun is shining and it is still July!

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, you can do so here. There is a book giveaway for new subscribers if you sign up before July 30th!

I am hosting another free workshop on July 29th at 7pm Central. It is about personality types, relationships and communication! Teachers and friends of teachers are welcome. You can also sign up by going here: https://mailchi.mp/e9fd7ea01b99/wwpersonality

The Delight of Swings

One of the delights of living somewhere new is all the fresh running routes you get to embark on! Thanks to my husband, I was able to walk/run on a new route with wonderful hills. (See the tall one pictured above.) The weather was much less humid and was overcast yesterday so overall it was a pleasant session. I also saw my assistant principal and we were able to chat for a few minutes as well.

Along this route there is also a playground in one of the neighborhoods. I could not resist the delight of swinging for a few minutes. The smile on my face was wide and I felt like a kid. There also happens to be a free little library there as well.

One of the focuses for this week has been centered around play. I want to take advantage of the small opportunities that bring me joy. I have always loved swings, and I do not know a child that doesn’t like them either. We used to have jumping contests and height contests in elementary school. For a short time I thought about putting a plank swing in my living room in one of my apartments! I am certain that wasn’t practical and it would cost me my security deposit for sure.

What opportunities for play have you taken advantage of lately? What has been bringing you joy?

I would love to hear in the comments.

Synchronicity #SOL20

How a request was met with an answer…

Photo by Swapnil Sharma on Pexels.com

Several days ago I wrote a post called, “The Delight of Connections,” about wanting to connect with a specific type of educator. You can read that here. Luckily, I have this community of teacher writers and it has changed my life for the better. I am so glad to know there are so many teacher writers out there. There are friends that I see their names or the names of their blog and I know I am in for a reading treat, especially on Tuesdays.

Lately, I have felt a bit lost. There is uncertainty that every one feels hovering around the next couple of weeks. I struggle with how I feel about it. I never shy away from hard work or new learning. I thrive on growth, but I cannot wrap my head around the details to plan because I have none.

When I am uncertain I try to find other people who are doing it better than I am. I learn from everyone I interact with. This was the reasoning behind the post: to find someone in a similar situation to find some solutions and validation. The post was liked, but there were no comments. That sometimes happens of course. Not every post we write resonates with someone and compels them to respond.

Sunday a friend reached out in text and we started talking. As a coach, I went into her room frequently. She is one of those teachers I love working with because her teaching light is so bright. Every time it was a joy to enter her room. Her kids learned and were happy to do it. They were fun and had humor in their room. I listened to them perform their readers theatre just after winter break and the students were amazing and expressive. I will never forget that day.

This friend mentioned she knew one of the ladies that had applied for my job when I left. Through the text conversation I learned she was teaching fifth grade but had been a coach and a kindergarten teacher in the duration of her career! This new connection and I had an amazing conversation over Instagram.

If there is something you are seeking, ask. You never know how the answer will show up for you. I remained open to it and am pleased with this new connection. I thought it would come from the blog. It is a delight it came through a random conversation with a friend who doesn’t even know I have a blog! Be open to what comes. I love it when our needs are provided for in such unexpected ways.

Have you experienced Synchronicity lately? I would love to hear about it.

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

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Welcome back to the weekend! HOW is it the middle of July already? I am trying to savor my summertime but it seems to be whizzing by.

I am having black coffee today as usual, but I have cream and sugar if you like. As always, there is ice water as well. It is nice right now, let’s go out onto the porch. The view is lovely and the sun is shining today!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been walking/running every day. It has gone well except for the rain. I check the app before I go like all good runners do and it lies. I have gotten soaked multiple times this week. Other than the annoyance I worry that my phone will be affected one of these times. I try to shield it with my shirt which works for a while. I am always learning something on my runs because I listen to podcasts or workshops.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have had some great conversations with my writing friends over Slack and text. I rely on them and am so grateful they are in my inner circle. I was able to figure out a way to revise my one novel that seems to be working so I am thrilled about that fact!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I scheduled my next workshop. I am super excited about it since the first one was so full of life-giving conversation and laughter. If you would like to sign up for this free workshop on personality and relationships please click here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am doing a giveaway fueled by sign ups for my newsletter! Click here to sign up. I update once a week so I won’t flood your inbox. I always have a cool quote, a personal story, something I have learned, and a journal prompt.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have enjoyed avocados this week! I love avocado toast and have eaten it for the last couple of days. Juicy red tomatoes, sea salt, pepper, a little mayo on whole grain bread — delicious. It has been such a delight to eat. What are your favorite foods? When was the last time you had them?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the five minute Friday prompt was SMILE this week. I had fun writing it and threw a comment about sweet corn in there. It always amazes me what resonates with people. Several comments were made about the corn which made me smile all over again.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I send you laughter and warmth. I send you sunshine and smiles!

I would love to hear about your week.

The Delight of Connections

100+ Preschool Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Finding our tribe is important. It helps us belong and feel comforted that there are people that are like us. Having diversity in the group helps us learn from people who are different from us as well. No two people are exactly alike and that is a good thing!

I will be teaching kindergarten this fall, hopefully in person. I will be incorporating play, centers, loads of writing and reading, priming, EL education, and protocols. This is not an exhaustive list.

One of the things I do is incorporate my personal passions into my classroom. If there is something I become obsessed with – like llamas, for instance – they find their way into my teaching. I believe this shows my students that the things they love are important as well. I had a student one time that put a pickle in her stories. For some reason, she was obsessed with them. It became a fun game how she could incorporate them into her writing and her speech. She learned she could play with words and it was accepted in the room and encouraged.

My education experience feels unique and I want to close that gap. I am sure I am not the only one who is a writer, a coach, and a classroom teacher. I plan to go back to coaching after a year back in the classroom. I believe the classroom experience makes me a better coach especially in a new district. I continue to write and publish. This makes me more of an authority to my students when they know this information when we have writing workshop.

My students will see themselves as readers, writers, and problem solvers on day 1.

My goal is to form a mastermind of like minded educators in order to fuel each other to take risks and learn from what we experience with our students. Does this appeal to you?

Comment or email me at tammybreitweiser@gmail.com – I would love to connect.

#FMF Smile

smile

Every Friday, Kate posts a one word prompt for the community to write whatever comes to mind for 5 minutes.

Join me, set the timer for 5 minutes and …..GO!

I read the word and smile automatically. There are so many aspects of my life I am grateful for. My family makes me smile. I laugh when my 9 year old says crazy things like, “Look how tall my feet are!” We create family Jeopardys and play them. The categories get silly and we good naturally make fun of each other. I smile when I think about how ideal my life is right now. I live in a place that is beautiful and I adore. My job is amazing, I have wonderful friends and I write every day. The library is my town is awesome. I have read some amazing books the last 6 months.

After 57 days of my Back to Zero program to get myself back to its true form, I was able to wear two dresses that didn’t fit 2 months ago. Everything tastes better in Wisconsin especially sweet corn.

I finally have figured out a way to revise my novel and am thrilled. It finally clicked after an amazing conversation with my friend Jamie. I am always learning and am thankful for all the opportunities that come to me.

There is a lot to be grateful for and it all makes me smile.