Before I became "Miss Powell," I was just a nature-loving, guitar-playing hopeful - aspiring to change the world for the better.
I chose teaching because, despite what people told me, I believed it would allow me to make a change in the world, one child at a time. I really felt that if I could prove to each child in my class that he/she is loved and really matters, their lives would take a turn for the better – no matter what circumstances they were in. I still believe this, by the way. I believe in leading with love.
During my first year, I was quickly yanked from my naïve little bubble. I was bombarded with thousands of teacher-responsibilities (some of which have nothing to do with caring for kids), negativity around me and within me, and crippling anxiety and stress. At the same time, I was also surrounded by inspired educators, passionate leaders, resilient students, and some of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced.
(Little peek into my classroom with some flowers from a student's garden)
My first year held some of my highest highs and lowest lows. When I watched my kids come into our classroom with stories of abuse, violence, drug use and neglect written all over their faces, I realized very quickly that I was not capable of providing them with the amount of love and care they needed if I was broken myself. I worked hard on my anxiety – as hard as I could with the responsibilities of teaching eating up most of my time – and I actually came a long way by the end of the year. Still, I feel that these kids need so much more from me. Luckily, most of my third graders from last year are my fourth graders for this year. That’s right! I get a second chance to make even more of a positive impact on these little souls.
I have finally found a program that will provide me with the tools I need to care for myself and my kids: Breathe for Change. Breathe for Change is specifically geared towards educators. They decided to do something about the extremely high teacher burn out rate. They realized that unhappy and unhealthy teachers create unhappy and unhealthy learners. First, we will learn about wellness in our own lives, and then we will take these strategies and implement them into our classrooms. Ultimately, Breathe for Change takes ordinary classrooms and turns them into communities of wellness, where love and learning can flourish.
Help me to introduce my 4th grade students, as well as other teachers in my district, to the wonderful world of wellness. This program is quite expensive, but I know it will make the difference we need! If you can spare a few dollars so I can make it there, it would mean the world to us!
- Steve Gardner
- Emily Szutkowski
- Anne Ballentine
- Steve Gardner
- John Shannon
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