Choices – Path to the Future or the Past?

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This school year feels like it is everyone’s first year teaching no matter what year you are on.

A friend recommended a book by Debbie Ford called The Right Questions. There is power to questions. The first one in the book is: Will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?

As I was making notes on these first two weeks of the new school year this question was floating around in my head.

After 7 years as a coach, I went back to the classroom. As I have written before, there is a list of reasons for this movement. It is a step of learning and experience. I believe it is an important step for me necessary for an inspired future and what I want to do next.

How does this change serve me? One of the ways is to experience teaching again in a day to day way. Kindergarten is the year where the I am required to think about the simplest explanations for the most complex ideas. In kindergarten there is potential for stories in everything. Five year olds make connections and say things that are unusual and is one of my favorite parts of the job.

When I teach, I make micro-movements in instruction based on the students actions. I am taking this year to analyze how I do this in real time. This year I have the advantage of recording my meetings with students so I can go back again if there are important breakthroughs that happen in class.

There has been two weeks of this school year so far and all prep. Breaking down what I have done with my time is important for my own learning.

-There has been lots of professional development and meetings (all virtual). Some meetings have been done well, and others not so much. I am always analyzing how people conduct their trainings so I can learn what to do and what not to do in my own.

-Everything is new for everyone. The overwhelm hit us all at different times. There were moments that people felt like there were too many changes. This happened for first year teachers and the 30 year veterans. We all feel like we learn and then stumble around in the dark and find our way again. My team is wonderful and we help each other. The strengths we have become everyone’s because of the sharing. We teach each other. I have not had a true team in a long time.

-Contact with parents is always a tricky area for me but a requirement. We are must use Class DOJO and SEESAW here at the beginning. Parents are familiar with DOJO we were told. I have issue with starting with too many things and then changing.

In the Spring, I had success with text messages for contact with parents so I did the same this fall.

I sent this message to my parents this week:

Hello! This is Mrs. Breitweiser (child)’s Kindergarten teacher. I just wanted to reach out and say hello.

Material pick up starts tomorrow.

We will have a combination of live and recorded teaching in 2 sessions. 8-11 and 12-3. Please let me know which (child) prefers.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Follow up texts required answered questions. I also sent this message:

What is something you would like me to know about (child)? Something that is her/his favorite? Or a special story?

I use the child’s name as much as possible. I send audio messages talking to the student and short video messages as well.

-Virtual open house was successful. We had two 30 minute Zoom meetings and I had over half my students show up. There were smiling faces and cats on the screen. The virtual tour of the classroom and my live explanation of the learning kits were a hit. I introduced myself with a list of favorites that I told the students they would answer starting next week. I showed pictures of my family. Whatever we show our students is what they think we value so those first impressions are important.

It was important to me to tell the parents my past teaching experience. I want to assure them I am qualified to teach their child so they feel as secure as possible.

In the virtual tour I showed all the places where I have the student’s names. I want them to know that it is their classroom even when we are far away.

-Having to be in the building has helped with focus for the start of school. I had some frustration with this requirement especially on the days I spent most of the time in a chair in a meeting in front of my computer. Another focus that is a positive is that it is easier to fast while at school. There is no food there and it requires effort to get in the car and leave if I am stressed.

Do I feel prepped enough? I think so. If something goes wrong then I will pivot and we will use it as a learning experience.

I will make a list of things to remember before Tuesday at 8am.

There is a list of things I want to make sure to remember. If I don’t? I will write it down for the next meeting. This is the same practice whether I am in real life teaching or virtual.

We will see how it goes! I know for certain my choice propels me to the future I create.

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.” — Tony Robbins

Welcome back to the weekend! The time is flowing now that we are on the other side of the July 4th holidays. I am not sure about where you live, but it was a lot quieter this year for us. The next neighborhood over lit some that were pretty but there was no noise after 9pm. I was soooo thankful.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I walked on the Ice Age Trail this week and some trails at a “new to me” state park. The mosquitos were having me for lunch so we ended the hike a little early. It was lush and green I was getting swarmed!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am sad my 10-week prep course for Sarah Selecky’s Story Intensive finished this week. I am looking forward to the next steps and digging into the course at the end of August. I have made some good writing friends in the forums and am happy our time together is not over. I am lucky there is another community that will hold me over til the August 24th start date.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you it has been hot hot hot here. Yes, it warrants the three hots. It doesn’t stop me from my daily exercise but it does promote walking over running. My route is 98% sun. I do have the best tan I have had in years!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we took the kids canoeing on Friday on the Wisconsin River. It was perfect weather and beautiful scenery. We paddled for 3.5 hours and no one complained. We saw a bunch of party people on rafts. We were in red canoes and named “The Big Burrito” and “Shenanigans” which made me laugh.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my friend Annie has her website up and running. I love her journals. She has other products. Be sure to go and sign up for her newsletter. You can do that here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you a podcast this week about my writing process. You can listen to that here. The link is at the bottom of the post.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I would love to hear about your week! What was the most inspiring thing that happened to you?

Summer Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

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It is the weekend again! Summer is moving along. We have been engrossed in it for a week now. Have you done anything fun?

I am having black coffee today since I am fasting. I have some creamer and some other flavors. Would you like ice water today? It has been hot here. I do love these mugs though. I bought some after I had coffee in them at a coffee shop back in Indiana.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we went to a water park for Father’s Day. Because of corona and the ripple effect, there were only about 6 rides open. It was a beautiful sunny 80-degree day. Because of my Back to Zero program, I was not embarrassed to be in a swimsuit. By the time we go camping at the end of July, I will be back to the weight and look want to be. We rode the slides until we didn’t feel like it anymore. We ate in the park because the meal deals came with our tickets. Then we of course stopped for ice cream. I am going to have to call this the ICE CREAM Share by the time summer is over.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am taking a writing class this week and couldn’t be more thrilled. After I read the first story on Monday morning I was blown away with how wonderful all the writing is from the other participants. There was one It was one flash piece that stuck with me all day and I kept going back to reread it. The exercises are ones that I can come back to again and again. The instructor has at least 5 example stories for each day, most of which were new to me. I also appreciated the mini video explanations that she included this time as well. It was so worth the money but her classes always are.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my story was published in a book! Here is the link to purchase. I am super excited to have a story and an essay now in a real book. I loved this story too called APP WORLD and had fun writing it.

If we were having coffee I would tell you a poem was published this week. You can read it here.It is called Window of Time.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I published an article about closing gaps in Teachers on Fire magazine. Even if you aren’t a teacher, summer is a time to learn something new or take an action to become more of the person you want to be. You can click and read that here.

If we were having coffee I would tell you we went to the beach this week. We played in the water, jumped off the pier, and enjoyed the beautiful day. Of course, there was ice cream involved before we set back home.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you a friend through Unleashing Her Power Within just launched her website. Her first post is up and it is amazing! Check that out here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the kids and I went to a fun tourist attraction called the TOP SECRET Upside Down House. The kids’ reactions were the best. There was a photo op before we went in of course. They each got little secret agent cards. Then we went to lunch. It was an adventure.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you a writing friend and I have decided to check in with each other more often. We have been giving feedback to each other’s writing the last couple of weeks and I am glad to welcome her to my inner circle of writing! I was thrilled she reached out.

What is new with you this week? What decisions have you made to move forward?

I would love to hear. Til next week’s coffee time!

Birthday Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

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It’s the weekend again! Let’s go sit out on the porch and have our coffee. It is such a nice day. It has been a busy week for me and we have lots to talk about today! I have black coffee as always, but we bought some creamer that is delightful if you like something sweet today.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went to the dentist this week. It was a risk for me. A power move, if you will. Due to COVID-19 and precautions I was not able to have the full visit that I needed, but there are appointments scheduled for what is needed. I did need a crown. Apparently, I do not grind my teeth but I press them together so hard I broke two teeth. These two are in addition to one I already cracked that was previously fixed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my Back to Zero plan is on track. I am moving every day, fasting, and have a clear vision of where I want to go! Clothes are starting to fit that have not in a long time.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am excited to announce the podcast went up on time this week. Continuing the birthday theme, I talked about the birthday tarot card reading I did. If you want to listen you can go here. Hopefully soon the podcast will be on Spotify.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I began my video series on my blog called “5 Minute Coach”. Here I am sharing a teaching tip or activity from my education life. You can check out the first one about my story auctions here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was inspired by Liara Tamani and her podcast interview on Fierce Womxn Writing. She talked about The Book Of Delights by Ross Gay. I started writing about my own daily delights. If you want to get a flavor of how I write about this check out this piece I wrote about Sundays. Liara and I are birthday twins too so that is exciting.Sunday DelightA Reflection of Daily Delightsmedium.com

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been doodling in my notebooks again and I love it. The new pens my youngest son bought me for my birthday are perfect for adding a bit of color too. It makes writing time even more special. I am thankful for doodle accounts I follow on Instagram and Pinterest to keep the ideas brewing.

If we were having coffee I would tell you one of my delights this week was driving. I was able to listen to my podcasts and think about writing. Kathy Fish sponsors a reunion for the alumni of her classes and that is this weekend. It is nice to see familiar names. I am also starting a new writing class on Monday which I am thrilled about.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I continue my streak of writing every day. I have been transcribing my Selecky prompt into the forum and have been getting some nice comments. There is a group that seems to be forming there.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this week was full of input and learning. I am examining the areas of my life where I need more knowledge and taking lots of action to close that gap.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you Saturday is the summer solstice. How will you take advantage of the most sunlight? Delight in the rays and warmth my friend!

I would love to hear about your week!

Back to Zero

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Fourteen days ago I made the decision to take back my health. I know how to take care of myself. Many times we know what to do, we just choose to not do it. There are short term and long term consequences to this thinking.

Now taking back my health is a true statement, but a consequence of this idea is also weight loss and that is on purpose. This is the heaviest I have been in years. As someone who prides herself on her appearance, looking in the mirror 15 days ago was a hard pill to swallow. I have allowed myself to emotionally eat. I have allowed myself to think, “Just one more piece won’t hurt.” Let me tell you – it hurts.

One decision I made was to drink at least 64 oz of ice water a day. We are White Sox fans and have souvenir glasses so that makes it easy to measure. Two of those babies filled up do the trick. Once I made the decision, it was easy. My brain knows when I make a decision that is what we are doing. The weather here has been hot so drinking the water has been simple. I also choose water over any other drink.

I also decided to go back to intermittent fasting. This works for me. I know it because I ate this way before I knew it had a name. I am going to play with the different types of timing schedules. I typically do the Warrior schedule which is 20 hours of fasting with a 4 hour eating window. I am intrigued by the 24 hours of fasting 2 days a week.  The last 2 days I have waited for the 24 hour mark since I last ate and have noticed significant body changes. I am uncertain if it is due to the 24 hours or just that I have been fasting for 2 weeks!

I have weight to lose from the stress of the last couple of years , major transitions, and the coronavirus sheltering.

I am moving everyday as part of this plan. I run and walk. I have affirmations I write for myself everyday. I went through Tony Robbins’ The Body You Deserve Workbook. I also have habit stacked push ups and movements from Chalene Johnson’s workouts. I do these several times a day.

I was too embarrassed to weigh myself. I have a number from the health check as part of the requirements for my new teaching job. I have pants that didn’t fit two weeks ago.

I am making progress and am happy. It is working. I feel better and have more energy. Soon I will be back to the size I am supposed to be and all those pants in the closet will fit again.

It’s not easy, but I know I will never go back to where I was.