A Teacher's Best Friend Book Club discussion

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Fringe Hours Summer Book Club > Week 1: Before We Begin and Ch. 1

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message 1: by Alison (new)

Alison Smith (ateachersbestfriend) | 28 comments Mod
Hello everyone! Welcome to the first week of our book study on Fringe Hours!! This is a fantastic book, and it will be wonderful to dig in to it together!

Please Introduce Yourself When you Reply! Tell us your name, location, grade you teach, and what you hope to get out of this book club.

Questions for this week:
1. At the very beginning of the book there is a quote by Charles Bixton that reads “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” How does that resonate for you?

2. What one word would you use to describe your daily life as it is currently? What word do you want to describe your daily life?

3. Oftentimes the thing we crave - balance - can be actually impossible to achieve. What is it you really want to experience in your daily life? Try to use a word other than balance. Paint a picture for what it would look like if you can.

4. What is something in your teacher-life that is a good thing but maybe isn’t good for this season? (i.e. a committee you volunteered for, an extra PD opportunity, etc.)

5. What are the consequences you feel when you don’t have balance in your life?

6. Of the 9 suggestions Jessica gives for cultivating balance in the various areas of your life, what is one that you want to commit to right now? What will you do this week to begin that healthy habit?


message 2: by Alison (new)

Alison Smith (ateachersbestfriend) | 28 comments Mod
Hi everyone! I’m Alison - I live in Chandler, AZ - and I taught 4th grade and have taught adults and at the collegiate level too. I am a teacher trainer (in STEM) and a life coach for teachers. I am hoping to facilitate a robust discussion about the topics in this book that enriches ALL of our experiences. My intention is to facilitate a REAL yet positive discussion so please feel free to really open up. (And I seek to model that too!)

1. This quote hit me like a ton of bricks. I can’t go around saying “I just don’t have time” for things that are really important to me. I need to MAKE them a priority and adjust my schedule accordingly!

2. My word - FRACTURED. Owning my own business, still maintaining my regular job, mom to a toddler, coach, wife, friend, etc. etc. - this means I’m wearing multiple hats a day and single-tasking is a luxury I scarcely remember. I HATE feeling fractured - constantly interrupted and scattered. I’m working on this. I would like my word to be PEACEFUL.

3. I want a life aligned to my priorities. Which means identifying my priorities and then aligning my time accordingly. Thus, I want to spend less time at work and more time with my family. I want to spend less time on social media and have more actual face time with my friends.

4. I’ve worked on this one a lot - so I’ll tell you something I recently gave up that took some effort on my part. I had the (amazing) opportunity to travel abroad to do a teacher institute for some foreign teachers on a curriculum I wrote for them. I decided to decline the invitation knowing that my family would suffer with me gone for two weeks to travel and conduct the teacher institute. Although I wanted to go and would have had a ton of fun, once I put it through my “values filter” it just didn’t make the cut.

5. Oh boy - the consequences of an unbalanced life for me include: overwhelm, tears, emotionality, bitchiness (pardon my french), blaming others, blaming myself, feeling so torn between all my commitments that I get frozen, lots of ruminating about how I’m going to get out of commitments, etc. etc. There are physical manifestations too - I tend to stress eat - which is a crappy ailment to be honest! Working on that one too!!

6. I’ve been working on a lot of these, but the thing I need to laser focus on now is Taking Care of My Health! I have started planning my meals and food journaling just to keep myself accountable.


message 3: by Keesa (new)

Keesa | 2 comments Hi. My name is Keesa DuPre. I teach English as a Foreign Language in a Christian school in Lima, Peru. I teach K4 (4-year-old pre-K) and K5 (kindergarten) classes. I'm looking for a community of other teachers who 1) love reading, 2) want to grow, and 3) are kind, encouraging, and supportive. I've been teaching for 8 years now, and some days I feel like I know less than when I started, so I'm definitely looking for great ideas, suggestions, and other teachers who are willing and eager to talk about what works and what doesn't in their classrooms.

Questions for this week:
1. At the very beginning of the book there is a quote by Charles Bixton that reads “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” How does that resonate for you?

I definitely agree with this. It is something I have been reminded of time and time again. And I think it's good to remember that making time for one thing means deliberately leaving something else undone (often several something elses.)

2. What one word would you use to describe your daily life as it is currently? What word do you want to describe your daily life?

Probably HUNGRY. Not just in the physical sense (although I wouldn't mind a slice of pizza or some cheese crackers right about now....) but professionally. I'm at a stage in my life where I really want to grow as a teacher, and I'm always looking for new opportunities to learn and practice.

3. Oftentimes the thing we crave - balance - can be actually impossible to achieve. What is it you really want to experience in your daily life? Try to use a word other than balance. Paint a picture for what it would look like if you can.

I want to experience order. It's something I'm pretty lousy at, actually (as the pile of dirty dishes on my kitchen counter can testify!) but somehow I still think of myself (or, would like to think of myself!) as an orderly person....someone who has the dishes washed and the lessons planned and worksheets filed by topic and date. Instead, my schoolroom/home office has a desk piled so high with random papers and cardboard boxes and books and acrilyc paints and bottle caps that I can't even find anything, let alone actually get things done.

4. What is something in your teacher-life that is a good thing but maybe isn’t good for this season? (i.e. a committee you volunteered for, an extra PD opportunity, etc.)

Nothing this season....I've been pretty ruthless about cutting things back this year. (I've had to be; I'm barely making it as it is)

5. What are the consequences you feel when you don’t have balance in your life?

Stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, on the verge of tears, and vaguely threatened....as if something terrible is going to happen if I don't get something really important done, except that I never really know exactly what the really important thing is, and I probably couldn't find it, anyway.

6. Of the 9 suggestions Jessica gives for cultivating balance in the various areas of your life, what is one that you want to commit to right now? What will you do this week to begin that healthy habit?

I need to work more on saying "no." I tend to say "yes" automatically, and on those few occasions where I do say no (I've done it a couple of times this year out of sheer necessity) it always leaves me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach...as though I wasn't living up to expectations. I don't really know what to do about that...other than just do it often enough that I get used to it.


message 4: by Alison (new)

Alison Smith (ateachersbestfriend) | 28 comments Mod
Keesa wrote: "Hi. My name is Keesa DuPre. I teach English as a Foreign Language in a Christian school in Lima, Peru. I teach K4 (4-year-old pre-K) and K5 (kindergarten) classes. I'm looking for a community of ot..."
Keesa! So nice to meet you and have you here in this book club! You've chosen an awesome book!

I can definitely relate to a lot of the sentiments you have written about! Especially with saying "yes" as my automatic response! Dang it!!! I have to work on that one too!! And I love that you identified "orderly" as a trait you would like to obtain! I can't even think straight when I don't feel organized (which if left to my own devices would be most of the time) - so I actively have to work at it!!! One thing that helped me was creating a weekly schedule of tasks to do (straighten up rooms on certain days, clean the toilets on a certain day, and lesson plan on a certain day etc) - having a routine helps me to stay on top of things and feel more orderly without having to do full-day-long organizing/cleaning sessions on the weekends. And then of course there has to be a HUGE helping of grace in there too for the days that I don't follow my routine. :) I'm with ya girl!!!

Thanks for your awesome and honest responses! Can't wait to walk the rest of this book with you!!

Best,
Alison


message 5: by Keesa (new)

Keesa | 2 comments Thank you, Alison! It's nice to be here. :-) I'm hoping that this book will perhaps help me regain a bit of control over my time. My organizing style is something along the lines of "Work on lesson plans while the dishes pile up and the cobwebs gather and the laundry starts to mold until I can't stand it anymore, then frantically clean the house for two days while the lesson plans go undone". I would like to change that. I've been reading a lot about the power of little things - little habits that in turn spark other little habits - and I've decided to start with making my bed every morning. It's super easy to do and doesn't take long, which makes it a good place to start. I would love to get to a point where I can actually assign days to certain tasks and do them on the day I've assigned them!


message 6: by Alison (new)

Alison Smith (ateachersbestfriend) | 28 comments Mod
Keesa wrote: "Thank you, Alison! It's nice to be here. :-) I'm hoping that this book will perhaps help me regain a bit of control over my time. My organizing style is something along the lines of "Work on lesson..."
Amen sister!!! Check out the resources section of my website (www.ATeachersBestFriend.com) for a link to the Day Designer Printables library. You can download a monthly cleaning schedule for free - it's a great format. You could print a few - and use one for cleaning and one for lesson planning. :) It helps to have the right tools - and this is one that I LOVE!!!! Good luck! Let me know how it goes for you!!!


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