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Respectful Boundaries: Creating Balance at the Beginning of the School Year

Note on our Monthly Tips Series:
Since the beginning of 2018, we have offered a series of monthly tips based on the 5 dimensions of engaged teaching (as explored in our book).  So far, we have explored the dimensions of Open Heart, Being Present, and the Self Observer. This month, we explore Respectful Boundaries

Respectful Boundaries: Creating Balance at the Beginning of the School Year
It’s that time of year again! And with all of the anticipation, excitement and anxiety that arises at the beginning of a school year—having a sense of our own boundaries and capacities is essential. It is so easy—in our enthusiasm, in our desire to create a fresh start—to take on more than we can really handle.  But if we overcommit at the beginning of the year, we may feel spread thin and under-resourced weeks or months down the line. Our school year is more of a marathon than a sprint—and when we intentionally pace ourselves, integrate self-care, and draw boundaries early on—we are more likely to effectively balance our professional and personal lives and to stay connected to our passion for teaching.

Before you dive back into school, consider taking some time to reflect on last year. Where did you feel overcommitted? Where did you wish you had put more of your energy?  Taking time to prioritize what is most essential for the upcoming year can support us to stay on track—and to have a clear ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to requests that come our way. For example, this year, your top priority might be to focus on community building or integrate mindfulness activities or to connect more deeply and meaningfully with your colleagues. You may wish to develop a vision statement that articulates what your primary priorities are—and to use this as a guide whenever you have a choice to make about a possible new commitment (coaching a team, joining a new committee, teaching an extra class).

Our capacity to honor our own boundaries in the beginning of the year, when our new patterns are being set—helps us to teach sustainably. What if it was possible to go through the school year without feeling constantly stressed out, exhausted, and over-drawn?  What would it be like to have space and time to renew and replenish amidst the busyness?  This is your opportunity to find out!

We hope you enjoy the video entitled “The Seductive Optimism of the New School Year”—created by educator Kristen McKeown from Teaching Balance. Kristen is also a SMART mindfulness faculty member with PassageWorks.

Stay tuned next month for a monthly tips installment on Emotional Capacity.  And if you want to experience practices and principles related to the 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching—please consider coming to our upcoming courses this Fall—Creating Engaged Classrooms October 5-7 and Cultural Responsiveness Leadership for Educators October 25-28.

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