What IS in your control? Just FOCUS on that…


“Instead of focusing on that circumstances that you cannot change – focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can.”

~Joy Page

It’s Monday morning and I am kind of dreading what’s to come.  We just started a new semester.  In an hour I will have a room full of exuberant teenagers and this will continue in 90 minute increments until the end of the day, where I will be left in a puddle of my own good intentions only to scrape myself up off the ground figure out the next move and do it all over again tomorrow (and for the following 87 school days…but who’s counting:-))

Everything feels influx: a new schedule, a new planning block, kids here most days, new classes to teach, new students to understand.

So how can I move from this uncomfortability of the unknown to feeling more solid right where I stand, right now?

Page helps us to see that it does little good to catastrophize on that which I can’t change and instead harness all of my intention and emotion on that which I have a little control.

This is the next skill we can build as teachers during these unknown times: FOCUS.

The teaching ill is to feel scattered, and spread too thin.  This is the trap I can fall into when everything feels like it’s changing.  I don’t know where to place my focus.

Page suggests ONLY focusing on that which is in our control.

Although it may not feel like it, most teachers have some kind of autonomy in their classrooms.  It may not be content, but perhaps it can be delivery.  

Now more than ever, there are probably really great reasons to modify curriculum and rote standards that have been arbitrarily put upon your grade level.  

Can you focus in on making the changes that you can make to better serve the students who are sitting in front of you?

What about simply focusing on the relationships you have with your students?  This is a place where you can focus and impact real change. Instead of feeling scattered in doing all the things, what can you do to really build a base and a relationship with these students so that you can deliver instruction where they are at, not where the state standards thinks they should be.

Invitations for FOCUSING on what you CAN control..

{READ} Serenity prayer
Check out this blog post about how to take our to do lists through the Serenity Prayer and get some perspective on what we can begin to let go of to free ourselves for the other parts of our lives.

{TRY} Set a timer for a single-tasking session.
Instead of multi-tasking, try setting a timer for a set amount of time and ONLY focus on a single task.  Close out other tabs on your computer, turn your phone on silent, and get to work.  When the timer goes, see if you want to do another round of single-tasking or move onto something else.

{PRACTICE} What’s the worst that could happen? 
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and really don’t want to do a task right at that moment, ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen” if {the task didn’t get completed}. Who would notice?  Are you putting undue pressure on yourself?  Are you able to let some details go and it be okay for now? 

Take some of your to do list items through this process and you may find that some can be taken off the list.

I’d love to hear how you’re doing building your skill of focus!  What are those circumstances you can control?  Understand those and you’re on your way to a little more freedom and a lot more wellness. 

P.S. If you are curious about how to prioritize your self-care in 2021, please schedule a complimentary 30-minute Teacher Coaching Call to see if we’re a good fit to work together and make your personal and/or classroom goals a reality.


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