Oct 08, 2022

It’s time to get honest…

I've been struggling lately, and in some cases, since the beginning of the school year. 

I want to share with you how I’m processing and working through these challenges and to be open and honest with you because I don’t have it all figured out.  I created Burned-In Teacher for teachers who - like me - don’t want to settle for being stuck in burnout.  I don’t want to settle for the feelings associated with burnout; I won’t settle for less because I know that I have a plan and people supporting me.  

But there are some things that are weighing heavy on my heart both professionally and personally.

I want to start out by saying that I work for a wonderful principal, amazing dean of students, and phenomenal counselor, and we have a fantastic instructional coach.  But during a writing data meeting when my principal asked about what the hardest thing has been recently, I just broke down…

I’ve been dealing with some extremely challenging behaviors, some of which I’ve never experienced in any of my 14 years of teaching.  And I’ve been using ALL of my tricks, everything that I've been learning about supporting students' behavior and restorative justice and practices. And I feel like things are getting worse before they're getting better and I'm felt like a failure. 

And as a self-proclaimed, recovering people-pleasing perfectionist control freak who has extremely high expectations for herself and for her students, I’ve been internalizing all of these things happening in my classroom daily and taking them personally.  And it just all came out during that meeting.

I built this community so that you would know you’re not alone. we're all struggling with something- I'm struggling.  And I refuse to use this platform as a place to only show the good. I built Burned-In Teacher and this process for teachers to truly work through their challenges. You might be struggling with your own personal or professional challenges, but the most important thing to understand is that when we’re struggling, we CANNOT struggle in silence,  we cannot struggle in silos because nothing good is going to come from us hiding and isolating ourselves.  

So, I started with B - begin where you are.  I gave myself the space to think about and process what’s challenging me and what brought me here.  I thought about what was causing me to feel overwhelmed, not enough, and frustrated.

And I realized that I was at a crossroads.  I needed to decide whether or not I would continue to believe that I needed to control other people’s decisions and behavior or if I’m going to choose to let things go and just do my very best.  And I get it, it’s REALLY hard because, like many teachers, I’m a fixer; I want to do what’s best for everybody - or at least what I THINK is best for everyone…

But what it comes down to is that I can only do so much.  I’m just ONE person.

Burned-In Teacher was not created to make everything sunshine and rainbows, but rather it was created to show us all that we are better together and, that when hardship happens, we know that we can lean on each other and we can figure out what our next best steps are.   

Whether or not hardship is or has been happening to you, I want you to know that I and the entire Burned-In Teacher community is here and has your back!

So, in thinking about and changing my mindset around my challenges, here’s what I’ve learned: 

#1 - I need to meet people where they are at, and NOT where I wish they would be.  

  • This is so hard for me because of the high expectations that I hold for myself, my behavior, and my actions might not be the same as everyone else.  This means that I need to raise my self-awareness around where people are and meet them there.  

#2 - Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have right now.  

  • And even if they were able to show up and give me their best yesterday, it may not be within their capacity to do so today or tomorrow. When I meet people on a human level like that - where there are no expectations for how things should be, they are just what they are - it allows me an opportunity to build a relationship based on understanding, empathy, and on the fact that we're in this together 

So, if you’re struggling with some challenging relationships right now - whether it be with your students, principal, the teacher down the hall, or maybe someone in your personal life - I’d like to encourage you to try these three steps: 

  1. Write down your most challenging relationships. 
  2. Next, write down where you feel the other person in the relationship is emotionally.
  3. Braindump ways you can meet this person where they are.   

I would love to hear your thoughts and how you are choosing to process your hardships. You can send me an email at [email protected] or connect with me on Instagram or on Facebook. 

I am feeling so much better after opening up about my challenges and I’m consistently being reminded that I've done the right thing by not struggling in silence, and I want the same for you. 





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