What does it mean to thrive as an educator? How do you do it when you’ve got so much to do? Here’s some tips and strategies.
It’s like someone ignited a spark at the start of the hour and WHOOSH…..
Ideas shared at a breath-taking pace….Challenges and Connections a plenty…Support from all corners.
There was no doubt, that these educators were bringing their A Game. Heck they were living it – BIG TIME.
They were in flow – in-tune with their passions – tapping into their Core – to what makes them tick as an educator – to what resonates loud and clear.
Time sped past – yet it seemed as though no-one noticed. We were utterly absorbed in this cacophony of Ideas and Inspiration.
Outside the box ideas. Unconventional ideas. Challenging ideas.
Ideas that that have you striving to do more – reaching higher – stretching yourself that little bit further.
It got me thinking about Thriving. This event was a collective Thriving. A Thrive Fest you might say.
Thriving was happening in the present – in the past (as we shared successes) and in the future (as we planned exciting ventures).
This Thriving didn’t just happen by chance. These educators created SPACE where both they & their students thrived.
“So where was this happening,” I hear you ask.
Well it’s a regular ole Tuesday morning (Australia time), and I’m participating in a Teach Like a Pirate chat on Twitter (#tlap).
And lest you think, Greg you’re overdoing the praise somewhat, I stand firm. It’s like this every-time I take part in a TLAP chat. I never fail to come away, utterly pumped, on a high – with a bucket-full of ideas and an ever-expanding Personal Learning Network.
I want to catch up with the Teach Like a Pirate educators – on a regular basis – to see how they (and their lucky students) thrive in all sorts of circumstances. I want to soak up the ambience and the infectious energy.
Carving Out SPACE to Thrive
Thriving – It’s something I’m passionate about. It’s something I’ve sought to create SPACE for, regardless of my teaching situation.
Through carving out this space, I’ve managed to stay interested, kept pushing my boundaries further and further out, kept upping my knowledge and skills, kept facing my fears, kept iterating, and above all – kept true to me and my passions.
- when I felt heart thumpingly scared and nervous – challenging injustice;
- when I felt utterly alone, suggesting what others thought to be ‘risky’ ideas;
- when I was making mistakes as I dared to stretch myself –
In all these moments, I was thriving. I probably wouldn’t have labelled it as such at the time. Yet I was doing what I felt compelled to do. I was daring myself to be truly ME – doing what made me feel alive – doing what made a difference .
When I recall other highs in my teaching career – those moments that I can recall like they were yesterday – there’s a consistent thread. In all these moments, I had carved out SPACE to THRIVE.
When I was THRIVING, I had carved out a patch of turf to be me – to do what made me soar – to do what kept me on my toes – to do what made me feel like there was a reason to get up everyday.
That’s probably why the Teach Like a Pirate chats – and a whole host of other Twitter chats – resonate so powerfully for me. Here’s a whole bunch of other educators who are carving out their turf – making space for their innovative, passionate ideas and practices. They Thrive and you bet their students and their communities do too.
Navigating the Obstacles to Thrive Time
It’s not always easy to do though is it – Creating space to Thrive.
Image: TaniaVDB (Pixabay)
When you’re different. When you’re an outside the box thinker – this part of your being (Your risk-taking, daring, innovative, fun and lively self) can get swamped – knocked about – squashed or dampened.
You’re doing what you’re supposed to do as a teacher – meeting the never-ending demands of the job – being a ‘good’ teacher. Being everything to everyone, ticking all the boxes, crossing all the items off your ever-growing ‘To do’ list.
It’s like there’s no space or time for left for daring, risk-taking, innovative you… and you definitely have little energy for it.
Alongside the stresses, pressures and demands of teaching, there’s the negativity and apathy of others
. It can cause your flame to splutter….maybe you lose your spark altogether. “What’s the use,” you say. “There’s just too many naysayers, too many obstacles.”
Or maybe you feel under siege…as though that thrive time …is constantly being nipped away at.
Little by little, it feels like you’re ceding ground to tradition, to the everyday usual teaching practices. Little by little, you start to wonder, ‘Have I lost it? Am I becoming boring and predictable?’
And here’s the cruncher: If you don’t consciously make SPACE to Thrive –
- it wont happen; or
- it’ll get whittled away; or
- you’ll lose it; or
- you’ll end up with a compromised version. And no-one can seriously call that thriving.
How to Thrive: 5 Tips
So here’s a few dot-pointers to go (And Stay Tuned there’ll be more to come):
1. Begin with You
. It’s crucial that you take care of you. We’re so used to giving, to looking out for others that we often forget that most important person – US. So here’s a bunch of ideas and resources that have Empowered Me
2. Plan to Thrive or it probably won’t happen.
3. Schedule Thrive time
. This notion of scheduling: investing regular time in our passions or goals is well canvassed by James Clear in this fabulous podcast, The Unmistakeable Creative
Listen for the whole hour. There’s additional insights about failure, creating identities that support our new habits, and the nuggets keep coming right till the end of the hour.
4. Be alert for Signs of Thriving – among your colleagues, your students, friends, or other inspirational people online.
- Learn: What are their regular thrive practices? How do they continue to thrive? What are their tips and strategies?
- Recognise, support and affirm thriving wherever you see it happening.
- Connect with other Thrivers.
5. Hold firm to your Thrive time. You don’t have an ever-expanding time-table and I’m pretty sure you’re fully committed time-wise. When new requirements and expectations are thrust upon you – hold firm.
- If it is a valuable thing to do – then you need to let go of something – to make space for it.
- If it’s something that’s expected, then it’s reasonable to ask, What do you want me to let go of so I can take this on?
Your Thrive time should never be on the bargaining table. You – and your students – are too valuable to let it go.
Thrive time keeps you passionate, engaged, and switched on. That shouldn’t be up for grabs. Stay true to You.