Don't you dare be ashamed of feeling like that, okay? We've all been there, where your passion for teaching infiltrates your life so much that you forget to human first, right? We can get so easily caught up in it. I know I do it all the time where I get stuck in a project and I am in my flow. I am there. I am enjoying it, but it ends up taking time that I perhaps has set aside for family or some self- care or other things that I need to tend to, to make sure that I have got a healthy and well balanced life. We all do it.
It's almost like a badge of honour, isn't it? Where we walk around as teachers and we're always so busy. If you're not busy, then you must be doing something wrong but that's not true. There are methods, techniques, tools that we can be using to create time and space in our work weeks to make sure we're tending to our soul care, tending to our families, tending to our health. Because those things, if we do not human first are going to suffer.
This kind of living long term, will lead to burnout. It will lead to broken relationships and possibly the passion and fire of your teaching will smolder and we don't want that.
So how can we human first and still get it all done? I think the first place to start is to think about the way we are thinking. If you actually don't believe that putting your humanity first above teaching is more important, then that's where you need to start. It is so important to look after your spiritual health, your soul health, your general well- being, and tend to your family and relationships first. And research shows that teachers that do that well, they flourish in the classroom. They've got so much more to offer because they themselves, are healthy human beings.
In his book, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which I love by C. S. Lewis. I was reading it at a prayer retreat and it was in a time where I was trying to figure out how do I prioritise my family and my spiritual growth and my soul health above the ministry of teaching. And at the time I was ministering in my church as well and I just didn't want to get to that point of burnout or overwhelm. So I was there to learn and grow. I was reading this book in our quiet time and I got to a part in the story after Aslan had been sacrificed on the stone and he rose again and the girls were with him and they were so happy and they danced and played and frolicked through the wilderness and it was right before they're about to go into battle. And I'm just going to read a quote from the book it says, " And the funny thing was that when all three finally lay together panting in the sun, the girls no longer felt in the least tired or hungry or thirsty." And I know C. S. Lewis is brilliant. I love the way that he was able to encapture the importance of rest and play before we go and do the work.
Throughout this term and this series, we'll be looking at ways we can human first. Practical things that we can be putting in place to create space for our own personal spiritual health, soul, health, well- being, personal growth, family time, all of those sorts of things.
Psalm 16 is a go- to reminder for me to human first. Within it, David expresses his deep trust in God to provide everything he needs within the boundary lines God has given him. He says this, it says, " The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup, you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance." Everything within the boundary lines that God has given us in our vocation, in our job, in our family lives. He has provided for us and I do believe that he provides rest for us as well. We just have to be intentional about creating space to rest and play and do those things that feed our soul.
Now, there's no straightforward rubric checklist or anything that I can give you to say, "This is how it's going to work for you. This is a guaranteed, this will work for you." It's about finding your own way, your own things, because we're all created so differently. So it may take you some time to actually figure out where you can create space, but you have to start somewhere.
So here is my one tip for you. Grab your teacher diary and mark out some time for you. It doesn't have to start big. You might be able to find more wiggle room as time goes on. Even if it's just five minutes a day, that you are very intentional about that being time for you, whether it's time spent reading your Bible, whether it's time where you go and sit in creation, and you be really mindful. Maybe it's time where you go for a walk and a pray. Maybe it's time where you sit with a cuppa and you read your devotional. Make some time this week, write it in your diary.
You don't even have to write in your diary what it is. You could just write meeting time and that can be meeting with Jesus. It could be meeting with your family. It could be meeting with yourself, but it's your time, you get to choose what you do with it. Someone says, " Can we meet with you this afternoon?" And that's your time that you've set aside. The answer is no. I have a meeting on already.
So put those boundaries in place. Pencil it into your diary. Make time for you because you are important. What you bring to the classroom is incredibly valuable. And if we are wanting to bring our best selves to the classroom, then we need to fill our cup. We need to human first. We need to take care of ourselves.
I choose to human first.
I choose to show myself grace.
I choose to rest when I need it.
I choose boundaries so I can be healthy and I choose compassion when I'm not doing it well, because I am valuable, because I have something important to offer to the world.
I will human first.
Well, thanks for joining me for the very first episode of It's Not a Silly Question, A Spiritual Soul Time Out for Teachers. You can send your questions to me if you like at carlythomson. com You can hit subscribe, you can share this with your friends.
Next week, we will continue this journey and we'll be looking at overwhelm and what we can do practically to defeat overwhelm, or to walk through it well.
As you begin to create a little margin in your life this week, let me leave you with this quote from Henry David Thoreau. " There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life."