Last Day of School

I work as an elementary Tech Teacher. This is the end of my first year here at my school. As I let kids out of their cars at bus duty this morning I found myself saying, “We did it! It’s the last day of school!”

This “I did it feeling” is pretty triumphant for me today. The kids kind of smile and go on their way like, “yeah Mrs. Miller, we came to school, no big deal.” But all I feel is this giddiness to think that I MADE IT.

This time a year ago I was doing graphic design freelance and working in a church. I was doing many things I enjoyed, but was still feeling unfulfilled. On a whim I applied to an Instructional Aide position in an elementary school. The posting said I would be able to work in various classrooms, help with lessons and be a support for the teachers.

I’ve always had an interest in education. Through college I traveled and worked with 3 different schools in Peru, Jamaica and Nepal. I made advocacy posters for education on campus and read with 2nd graders a couple hours a week. It’s funny how God can be working in your life despite what you’re pursuing on your own. I love design stuff, don’t get me wrong. I think God knew I was an achiever…that he’d be able to use my design skills to bring me to the place he wanted me all along.

A principal emailed me last June and said he saw my resume. He said there was a Technology Teacher position open and that with my design and tech background I’d be a great candidate. That week I went in for an interview (knowing almost nothing except that I REALLY wanted to know more). I would go on to take the job and start my Master’s in Education within the following school year.

My design job got me into a school before I’ve finished my teaching degree. God worked with my heart to help me say NO to my other jobs and YES to the opportunity he wanted me in. It’s so crazy to see the puzzle pieces come together.

So here I am, one year later. I learned how to write lessons and teach them. I got to be creative and have fun and build relationships with all the students in my school. A family gave me a mug today that says “Teaching is a work of heart.” I cried a little, not going to lie. When you’re on the right path you’ll know because of this full-hearted feeling. The feeling of being filled up by goodness. I did not see this coming.

Happy summer to all my teacher friends! And to my students- I can’t wait to see you next year!

~Shelby

 

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Getting Caught in the Frenzy

It’s the last week of school, Grad classes are moving full steam ahead, we had Mother’s Day, school carnival, baseball games, wedding shower prep, taking down my classroom, teaching yoga classes, bible study and not to mention every day things like, oh yeah, eating and sleeping.

It is so hard not to get caught in the frenzy.

One of my biggest weaknesses is being present in the moment. So often I am doing one thing, but my brain is 3 activities ahead. We remember activities based on what we give our mind to. It’s very hard to fully experience, let alone enjoy, something when you are constantly running through mental to do lists.

When I teach yoga classes I will often say, “Set aside your mental todo list, it will be there when you are done. Take this time to fully focus your mind on your body and on your mat.” I had a teacher say this in a class I was taking and, though simple, made me stop and really think. Making your last mental note before jumping full focus into an activity is a good exercise to help you be fully aware of the current experience.

I had some great counsel recently on grounding. Grounding is the act of rooting yourself and your thoughts in this moment. Think of it literally: when we ground ourselves on our yoga mat, in the classroom with kids, or in your living room with family, you are feeling the ground beneath your feet. You are rooting yourself in that location and even in a conversation. If you often find your mind wandering, your body pacing or constantly moving, you probably are not grounded. Allow yourself to settle and enjoy.

The counsel I received was this wonderful exercise. When you walk into a new room or a new situation as your day progresses, think through these 4 senses:

Take a deep breath, look around and
4:
Note 4 things that you SEE
3. Note 3 things that you HEAR
2. Note 2 things that you FEEL (touch or feelings)
1. Note 1 thing that you smell

Feel free to mix and match and take time to observe your environment. If we allow ourselves to get caught in the frenzy we will be swept away by stress, doubt and sleepless nights. There can be peace and enjoyment in the frenzy. For me the goal this week is simply to ‘experience.’ As I get better at this exercise the goal will be to truly ENJOY. We all start with baby steps.

What 4321 things are you experiencing right now?

 

34Β Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:34