Shelley and I are fortunate to be a part of a literacy coach collaborative lead by our friend and mentor, Dr. Stephanie Affinito. In a job that can be isolating, where there is typically one coach per building or district, having the time to collaborate and think through coaching moves with fellow coaches is sacred to me. Last spring, after giving a book talk of Elena Aguilar’s Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators, Stephanie asked if I would infuse some mindfulness into our meetings. I enthusiastically agreed. This year we typically spend about 15 minutes of each meeting engaged in a mindful activity. We have explored:
- What brings us joy
- What we are grateful for
- Managing time
- Being present
- Shifting our mindsets around challenging colleagues (or people in general in our lives)
The topic of teacher (and literacy coach) resilience has maintained a steady presence on our monthly agendas. Not only does it inspire conversations about wellness and self care, it has also led others to share tools they find useful in their lives.
It was thanks to a fellow literacy coach that I discovered motivational speaker, writer, and soon to be talk show host, Mel Robbins. In January she launched a free 36 day program called “Mindset Reset” where she airs daily videos that include approaches for training your mind to focus on the positive aspects of life. At the risk of sounding like a commercial, she is very “real”; acknowledging how difficult it is to shift your thinking but always stressing her belief that we have the potential to do so.
One of the lessons I’ve learned from Mel is to give myself more time in the morning before letting the world in. Lately that means carving out at least 30 minutes to write in my notebook before checking email, Twitter etc. I give myself time to check in, assess how I am feeling and make plans for how to feel more energized and set intentions for the day. This practice leaves me feeling centered and results in a more productive day.
Lately when I lead professional development sessions, I can’t help but spend a few minutes talking about Mel. The other morning, before a particularly challenging meeting, I mentioned my morning routine to which my colleague Kate exclaimed: “I love Mel Robbins!” and took The 5 Second Journal out of her big canvas bag. We started talking about how this work has shifted our minds and hearts.
I always recognized Kate as kindred spirit, but the connection we made in that moment helped to build my resilience for the morning ahead. This power of this work is that it unites us. We all want to be happy. We all want to feel more positive. It is hard work that takes daily practice but if we share and talk about it together, we are more likely to shift our thinking and lives for the better.