Monday, July 27, 2015

#flipclass Flash Blog: Emotional Labor

Wow...this is a toughie.

We had a #flipclass reading assignment about emotional labor - and its worth - tonight. Then we began exploring what emotional labor might be involved in teaching.

As was tweeted by a participant, I believe emotional labor is part of the job description of a teacher.

Or maybe it's a part of the job that takes one by surprise. I don't think one knows going in how much emotional labor is involved.

There is all SORTS of emotional labor in teaching.

I worry about lessons, wondering if I've taught the right thing the right way.

I worry about students. Their academic success. Their emotional well-being. Their lives at home.

I stress over extra paperwork and deadlines.

I get excited. When a lesson works. When a student's light bulb comes on. When students "talk math" to each other.

I experience joy. When a student or parent says thank you. When a student's effort pays off.

It's exhausting.

How do I deal with it?

I find it's important to let my brain decompress.

I try to take one day a week - usually Saturday - and make it a school-free day. No grading, no planning.

I try to leave school on time one day a week (that is one of the most difficult things I try to do).

The spa tub helps. Getting an appropriate amount of sleep help. Music helps. Laughing helps.

There will always be emotional labor in teaching. And it will always be hard to deal with it effectively and efficiently.

But it's most often worth it, and I guess that's why I keep laboring.

Monday, July 20, 2015

#flipclass Flash Blog: Building Community Outside of School

Tonight's #flipclass blog prompt: How do you find/build community outside your school site?

The short answer: Twitter.

When I first joined Twitter I was very lost; it has a learning curve. Now, if I could only have one social media site, Twitter would be it.

When I decided to flip my classroom a year ago, I found #flipclass chat on Twitter and made so many helpful, like-minded connections. Those connections often lead to other connections. I could not have flipped my classroom without the help and encouragement of the Twitter #flipclass community.

I made a connection with @RoxyGirlTeacher on Twitter. She teaches 8th grade math, too, and has been an invaluable source of help and information and resources.

Through my blog I've made a connection with another 8th grade math teacher in Illinois. We comment on each other's blogs, ask each other questions, and get ideas from each other.

One of my newer connections is a teacher in a nearby district. We met at a tech conference in June. We stay connected via - you guessed it - Twitter.

I am thankful for the community I continue to build. I love being able to throw a question "out there" and get so many ideas and answers. If one of my connections doesn't know the answer, I'll be directed to someone (new!) who does. I love being able to share new ideas and resources I learn from my online connections with those in my building.

My growing community has made me a better teacher.