Listen: It truly is an art

It has been a few months since my last post. The past few months have been busy. There have been a few bad moments but overall it has been good.

With everything that has been happening in the past few months I have come to a realisation, I no longer listen.

For a very long time I used to be a really good listener but somehow that changed. I went from being a listener to being a talker. In hind sight, it comes from a need to express myself but now I have verbal diarrhoea.

When I came to the realisation that I do not listen as well as I used to I decided to change it. It is not easy. I became so used to talking that now I have to teach myself to listen. Not just listen to respond but to actually listen to what others have to say and to give them the opportunity to say it.

I have also noticed that many people listen to speak or are just waiting to say what they want to say irregardless of what the other person is saying. I have fallen into that category as well.

Communication is important and listening is an important part of it. I have noticed because less people listen there is an increase in miscommunication. People hear what they “think” a person is saying instead of actually just listening to what they “are” saying. This causes arguments and fights and it creates a lot of tension and discord in working, social and home environments.

As individuals we should learn to listen to what the other person is saying, just because that person is choosing to share that information and/or experience with you. Not to respond or judge or advise but just to take in what they are saying.

-Saniya

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Growth

My year so far has been busy and filled with many challenges. Sometimes they are disheartening and demotivating. When I am in a moment of chaos I go into panic mode and anxiety sets in.

This year I have been trying to change that. The more I try the better each day is and the less these moments affect me. I now understand better that my learners are just children who need someone to support and understand them. Each day I walk in with a positive attitude and try to work with the learners to teach them the content but also to help them grow as individuals. I continue to look for new and interesting ways to approach lesson as well as to manage learner discipline.

In the end, as long as I keep trying I can never fail.

-Saniya

Time for a break

The school term is coming to an end which means that we get to slow the pace down a bit. After the term I had, I really need a break but it is not a holiday.

Many people believe that teachers have so many holidays because schools close during the year. That is not true. If you can manage it, as a teacher, your marking might be done just before school closes for the term but there is so much more to do.

There is preparing lessons and assessments for the next term. Analysing the learners perfomances to determine how to improve lessons and which learners need extra help. If you are a grade 12 teacher then you have holiday school, it’s not a full school day but it is at least a 2 hour lesson every day or every second day.

It’s easy to take a break and become lazy but it’s not good for self management. I use my school holidays to help me be as prepared as possible for the next term so that I encounter as little chaos and stress as possible.

We cannot control everything but where we can, we should use it to our advantage.

-Saniya

Changing the pace

It has been 2 crazy weeks filled with lots of marking, running after learners (who still need to complete assessments), workshops and meetings. I have been struggling to stay motivated this year but have survived these past 2 weeks well.

I do not feel down or exhausted. I am not miserable. Things appear to be getting better. That does not mean that I plan on staying here, at my current job, just that while I am here I will not be miserable.

I have realised that as much as the situation has been bad my attitude has also contributed to how I feel. In previous posts I have mentioned the chaos, stress and unhappiness and most of it is still there. However, my attitude towards it all has changed.

I play calm music whenever I have alone time to mark during free lessons. I am also more aware of how I react to learners. I am trying not to get worked up but to deal with the situation calmly. Sometimes it means me walking out of class for a minute to get my emotions in check and sometimes it means asking for help. As for any other issues I may be dealing with, I try to stay professional and deal with it.

I have learnt that everything in life is a choice, even in situations that are out of our control. We choose to act and react, and how we do so is also a choice. We choose to do what we feel or see is best based on past experiences and existing knowledge. So, I am choosing to be more calm, more focused and more aware of myself and my surroundings.

I have made these changes to improve my life and my health. As I see how these small changes have made me feel better, I also see how others react to me differently. It’s not perfect and I do forget to stay calm sometimes but what is important is that I am trying.

Becka Schoettle says, “There is no failure except giving up”. As long as I keep trying, I have not yet failed.

-Saniya

Are you struggling under the pressure or is it time to leave an unhealthy environment?

There are times when the work load is crazy and you just need a moment to catch your breath, come up with a plan of action and then execute it. Then there is a time when you’ve already done that but you still feel stressed and unhappy.

There are many situations that can cause you to feel unhappy at work but if you have dealt with it and resolved the problem, and still feel unhappy maybe it’s time for a new environment.

I find myself in a situation where I think I need a new environment. There isn’t actually a problem with any colleague and I have found a reasonable way to manage my work load, yet I am unhappy. I wake up in the morning and do not want to go to work. I have such a strong feeling of not wanting to go that I procrastinate until I have no choice but to leave or sit in terrible traffic.

I have never felt this before and it is a scary feeling. With all the politics and chaos that goes with being a teacher, I still enjoy what I do. But, I don’t want to go to school.

I do believe that the energy of an environment can affect you. This year, there appears to be a shift in energy, and for me it’s not good. I hope each day that it changes and try to be positive but nothing changes. Maybe I am being ‘silly’ and reading into something that isn’t there or maybe I really do need to leave and a change of environment will be good for me.

Only time will tell…

Deadlines, Stress, Anxiety

The second month of the year is almost over and the deadlines are coming in fast. I can feel the anxiety, pressure and stress waiting to kick-in.

I don’t want that to happen and have been trying something to prevent it. My deadlines refer to completing my marking and submitting marks on time. I have not been following my marking plan so well but have not been stressing. I feel that if I divide my marking load realistically over the number of days I have before the deadline I should be ok.

I have realised that stressing and putting myself under intense pressure is not worth it. Yes, I do need to complete my work and meet my deadlines but my peace of mind and health is also important. Last year, I allowed myself to be in a situation where I was stressed and under such intense pressure to meet my deadlines that I was sick for over 2 weeks. I have never been sick like that before and it took the 3 weeks after that for my body to fully recover. That is not happening this year.

There is no “How to” guide to manage stress perfectly because each person has various factors that contribute to it. I look at the various factors that generally contribute to my stress on a daily basis and try to minimise it. I am always coming up with new plans or amended plans. I am always re-organizing cleaning schedules or other daily routines. My intention is to continuously adapt to the changes that take place in my life. My biggest challenge is Not Stressing.

I find that stress comes so easily and naturally these days. The class making a noise or learners not doing their homework can easily make me go into stress mode. I have to consciously remind myself not to stress. It is not easy and some days I do not get it right. What is important is that I keep trying. My week went from horrible to good because I chose not to stress and to follow my plans and schedules with little resistance.

What do you do to reduce stress daily?

What are we chasing?

I have been spending time talking to friends and family and have noticed that the energy is just bad.

Almost everyone I have spoken to is going through a bad experience in some aspect of their life. Why? Why is everyone going through something bad? These are not just bad moments but really depressing and/or stressful experiences. So many people are unhappy, why?

We seem to be at a point where everyone is chasing something or trying to be something. There are many stories that I could tell you, that are personal experiences or the experiences of others but it’s not necessary. I’m sure you have your own experiences or stories of those around you.

After all that I have experienced so far this year, which is a lot for 6 weeks, I have come to a conclusion. Stop chasing and start living. Be in the moment as much as you can. Let go. Stop trying to control everything. Stop killing yourself for the world.

What do you want? How do you feel? How do you want to feel? Is this the life that you truly want? Or are you trying to please someone else? Or an idea of what you should be?

The sun shines brightest after the storm. It feels as though this is storm and our choices will determine how we see the sun shine.

-Saniya

The Chaos has arrived…

I haven’t posted in a few weeks because I procrastinated and was always “busy”.

As the days go by work becomes busier. This week I have 2 assessments for my learners, an essay and speech presentations. Just the thought of it puts me into panic mode.

The “chaos” is that I have approximately 200 learners in total. For me, that means that when assessments begin I have a ton of marking.

I’ve learnt from my experiences last year that having a marking plan and setting daily and weekly plan helps me meet term deadlines with minimal stress.

I hope to improve my plan and make marking less stressful than it was last year.

To all teachers who have started assessments, enjoy the marking!

Being Organized!

As the New Year begins and the holiday ends, it’s time to get back into things. Last year I let the chaos of the moment get to me and before I knew it every day was chaos. I was overwhelmed, stressed and losing my mind. The best thing we can do is learn from experience and that’s where being organized is important.

My approach to this year is to be as organized as possible and not let one moment roll into every moment. I have a planner which I use for all appointments, meetings and anything else. I use a combination of my smartphone and a planner, a bulky book that goes everywhere with me Monday to Friday. I use my phone to save all personal appointments or events and the planner is used for anything work related. Apart from using a planner, I have made sure that where I could plan ahead I do and that I practice good time management to ensure that I don’t get overwhelmed.

If you feel that you get overwhelmed when you get to the busy time of the year or when you suddenly have more than one deadline close to each other, create a plan of action that is realistic and will allow you to complete all tasks fairly comfortably. The one thing I have learnt is that no matter how prepared you may try to be there will always be moments where everything will seem to be chaotic and all deadlines have suddenly ended up at the same time. These are moments that require you to keep your cool and do some overtime just make sure it doesn’t become and everyday occurrence.

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My planners for the year! I love the colour, it makes planning more fun.

New Beginnings

A new year and a new beginning. An opportunity to start a new venture and see where it leads me. I hope to grab “the bull by the horns” and work towards my goals.

It’s 2018 and this is my very first blog. I am excited and slightly nervous but know that I will enjoy it. I chose to start a blog because I want to share things that I have learnt with others in the hope that it will help them and if not, then hopefully they will find it entertaining.

I hope you enjoy my posts and find them useful! Looking forward to the next one.