If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.-—Joseph Campbell

Once a Teacher…

Work while you have the light. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you. Henri Frederic Amiel

Quotes like this can make me anxious.

I struggle with depression. It’s a family thing. It’s who I have been for probably forever. It’s the introvert behavior, the easily overwhelmed feelings, etc.

I want to get over it. Just be cured of it. There, I said it. But the truth of the matter is it is always there, just under the surface, ready to show itself, when I’m tired or hungry or I’ve overbooked myself and who-knows-what-else.

So I find strategies that might help. There are the obvious ones– Zoloft, morning pages, exercise, eating healthily. Then, of course, every time I think I’m “cured” I let the obvious slide, until it becomes…obvious.

But I am also a teacher, and as I watch some of my beginning teachers becoming increasingly overwhelmed and disillusioned, I begin to develop a plan, a lesson plan. Something teachers use to map out their day.

The format includes:

1.  A measurable objective (what I want to accomplish)…I’ve made a list for today.

2.  Motivation (a link to what I know and why I want to accomplish this)…If this is works, it could be next week’s seminar lesson on time management.

3.  “Plan of attack” (that’s not teacher language)…I add times to my list of things to do–how long each will take and where it fits in the schedule.

4.  Assessment (how well I accomplished the objectives)…I will check off each item as it is done.

5. Closure (a review of what was done/learned)

OK, I’ve taken liberties with this lesson plan idea. A purist (like maybe a teacher) might take me to task. But this is a structure I know. I’m ready to try it out on my day.

My life is a classroom.


Comments on: "Once a Teacher…" (13)

  1. You’re speaking to my heart here. Thank you.

  2. being a teacher myself I really appreciate your sincere effort and planning

  3. fransiweinstein said:

    Life is a classroom! You have a lot of courage and strength. Give yourself the credit you deserve.

  4. Genetically predisposed to being depressed (or the opposite – hyper),
    futher conditioned by the nurturing family with the same DNA, is a condition that rarely if ever has been cured. The best is to be aware of the condition, have a friend/family/guru/mentor/stranger or someone who will point out your sideways behavior when you cannot see it in yourself and take your medications and treatments as prescribed. HALT, hungry, angry, lonely and tired are symptoms that everyone should be aware of. The child with no breakfast, no sleep, carrying resentments against the world is a non-student, the one who can disrupt the class, destroy the best laid lesson plans of any teacher. The same can be said of the teacher who is overloaded. Best medicine, education, life experiences taught by the mentor, the lessons that are rarely found in books written by those who think they are normal.As an ex bad teacher who has learned some of lifes lessons much to late in life, the best advise is flexability. Body, mind and soul, natured and nurtured, the child and the teacher cannot live by plans alone, the lessons best learned are the ones that reflect the lives, the practical applications, of those involved.Keep up your good work, writing is learning. Hugs (body), Love (mind)and Prayers (soul). ME and the Boss

  5. Always a struggle but in the end worth it. One thing I would add is to try and always be supportive of others and to accept the support that is also offered. We’re not necessarily in it alone, and that makes a huge difference.

  6. “I am still learning.” Michelangelo An excellent post! By far the best teachers that I ever had were the ones who focused on who I was rather than a test score to be accomplished or a task to be completed within a unreasonable time-frame. There is nothing so depressing than to fail to come up to a questionable benchmark. Most reward systems are at best, flawed. And at worst, they take away all human dignity and hope. The hope that we have is in the connections of friends and family. I am a great believer in community – that is where we learn, share, and heal. Looking forward to more of your posts!!

    • gulp…teaching is a sacred opportunity…as is learning

      • I agree wholeheartedly. Most teachers do not get the education required to deal with our complex society and are give very little tools with which to accomplish the task. And yet, education is vital to our very survival. One of my favourite quotes is by a man who lived in a previous generation and anticipated the world we live in today: “We don’t even know what skills may be needed in the years ahead. That is why we must train our young people in the fundamental fields of knowledge, and equip them to understand and cope with change. That is why we must give them the critical qualities of mind and durable qualities of character that will serve them in circumstances we cannot now even predict.”
        John William Gardner, “Excellence” So to all the teachers out there – keep the faith! You are needed desperately.

  7. I wrestle with depression as well and I’ve found that keeping busy helps me keep those dark feelings at bay. Thanks for sharing and keep your chin up!

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Learning to Listen

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A Teacher and her Writing Practice

Writing Is My Drink

slake your thirst; find your voice


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