My Quest for Zen: A GIVEAWAY

Yes, not only does my quest for Zen continue, but so does this week of giveaways! I mean,

Let’s see, my quest for Zen started here and then continued on it’s journey to here and here among other places.

I think it’s fair to say that I struggle with the Zen. Some might even say that Mrs. Mimi can be a wee bit negative.

Shut the front door!

I know, I know, but really? It’s true. I can be a complainer.

There were a few years in my teaching career where I was angry more than I was anything else. (Remember those?) I have always loved my students and the challenge of pushing them academically, but I have also always struggled with difficult colleagues, ridiculous administrators and the drama that is today’s educational system.

So maybe I’ve got an issue with anger or a predisposition to throw around the word “douche”. Who knows?

For me, this blog was a life saver. Instead of stewing for hours days weeks too long over the most recent feat of You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me, I would reframe my thinking to turn the situation into a nice juicy post. Very turn my frown upside down kind of stuff. I would get home, blog it out and move on. I feel like I should pay all of YOU for listening.

I know some of you are struggling with the same thing- you love your job, you love your students, but holy shitballs do you work with some doozies! And, seriously? No one ordered pencils this year?! Wait. You want me to “progress monitor” my friends how often???

What I’m saying is I know I’m not alone in having these feelings.

Enter Angela Watson (from The Cornerstone) and her new book Awakened: Change Your Mindset To Transform Your Teaching. Ta da! In this book, Angela takes on the destructive mental habits that many of us share and puts the power in the hands of teachers to change. What’s that you say? Power to the teachers? Yes, please.

Check out some of these heavy hitting destructive habits straight from the old Table of Contents:

Taking things personally
Explaining setbacks in a negative way
Ruminating needlessly
Making presumptive judgements

Sound familiar? Come on, we’re all friends here. You can be honest with Mimi.

Or what about these more positive habits, all covered in this book:

Separate practical and emotional problems
Train yourself to be difficult to offend
Accept that you’ll never get it ALL right
Decide ahead of time how you’re going to act

Sound like a recipe for a bit more Zen. I thought so.

Angela speaks candidly about her own journey, which was very spiritual in nature. However, this book is written from a very practical place and filled with concrete examples that will have you thinking, “I totally sound like that!” While written for educators, I definitely plan on re-reading portions of this book to help me be more positive in general. (But don’t worry too much, Mrs. Mimi will still get her rant on when necessary.)

Don’t get me wrong- there is a place for our frustration, our demands and our negativity, but we all know that place is NOT in our classrooms. So during this time when so much control of our day to day work lives is being ripped out of our fingers, let’s embrace the idea that somethings are still in our control.

Angela has given Mrs. Mimi a signed copy of her book to giveaway to one fabulous reader in need of some more Zen. What a fabulous time to retrain your thinking and rediscover what you love about this truly special job.

To enter, let’s take the first step toward releasing ourselves of some stress. In the comments section, share some aspect of your work that you’d like to change your thoughts about. What frown do YOU want to turn upside down? The giveaway starts today and runs through Monday, September 5th. I’ll use a rando number generator to choose the winner and will announce the identity of the lucky reader on Tuesday, September 6th. Enter as often as you like and don’t forget to enter the Avery school supplies giveaway too! Good luck, duckies!

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  • After this past week, I need to find a way to get away from my colleagues negative approach to anything 'new and different' (i.e. scary and research-based and not what we've done in the past!) Imagine that. I make my positive comments and then get shot down and ignored. Thank goodness kids come in a few days, that'll be a nice distraction from the drama of the adults! I would love to read this book!

    August 31, 2011 at 12:51 am
  • I'm a new teacher, and the thing I'd like to change the most is my personal feelings/reflections on a new lesson. Whenever I try something new I always have hours of conversations in my head (no, I'm not THAT crazy : ) ) trying to decide whether or not it went well, what I could do better, if it was that horrible I'll never do it again, or wondering if they liked it or not. I find myself getting easily discouraged when I get negative or confused responses from students. It makes me not want to try new things because it's so hard for my little friends to catch on sometimes. I wish I could figure out how to develop confidence in my lessons, and have the courage to plow through the mucky beginnings!

    August 31, 2011 at 12:51 am
  • Day to day drama and gossip…would love to leave that behind.

    August 31, 2011 at 12:51 am
  • I would really like to change my attitude about the last-minute-ness of my school. Sometimes, it's like the administrators refuse to think more than three seconds ahead, literally.

    August 31, 2011 at 12:51 am
  • I have a doozy – I teach high school biology. We started out the year with one vacancy (normally a YAY!), possibly becoming two or maybe even three, depending on why one of our veteran teachers has been absent since the last day of pre-school for cryptic reasons. I am currently doing not only my own lesson planning for my two preps, but also the lesson planning (including labs, Powerpoints and worksheets) for two sections with a long-term sub (until the vacancy is filled, when my principal has received a sum total of ZERO resumes). Guess how much extra I'm being paid? If you guessed nothing, you'd be right.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:13 am
  • Hmmmm…choose one thing…I think I'm a fairly positive person but I'm feeling a bit…shall we say…unsupported. I'd like to have some training for new things BEFORE the kids arrive at my door and I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing…that would be nice. But I'll be a-smilin' tomorrow in my new oh-so-comfy red patten leather loafers.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:13 am
  • I am a special education teacher and the chairperson of our department this year…or as I like to put it, the captain of a sinking ship. We have almost 100 special education students but only 4 teachers…CRAZYTOWN. Basically I am frustrated with how we are not truly meeting the needs of all of these studens in the classroom. I also feel like I can't support my colleagues (special ed or general ed) because I am drowning in paperwork and the "interesting qualities and events" of my own classroom (self contained Autism). I want to be more zen about not letting the restrictions of budget cuts and staff shortages keep me from doing the best I can for my colleagues and students. Going with the whole "accept what you can not change" thing…

    August 31, 2011 at 1:13 am
  • You know the Harry Potter movie (don't remember which) when Hogwarts is taken over by the Ministry of Magic and everything is super dark and horrible? Well, my school has been like that the last couple years…I would like to "leave behind" feeling helpless about being on a sinking ship.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:13 am
  • We are having huge technology issues. I would like to let it go and stop letting it ruin my day. Yes I have all my writing lessons saved to some beautiful flipcharts that I can't use…but sheesh…I did teach for years without them. It would be nice to not want to sucker punch the IT people when I see them wandering around all calm and assuring us that yes, it is two weeks into the school year but at least half the people can access their email and maybe two thirds can even print….

    August 31, 2011 at 1:13 am
  • I'm a new teacher this year, and the para that has been assigned to my classroom makes me a little nutty. She is always telling me how to do things. While I am a new teacher and am completely open to suggestions from someone with experience, I wish she would frame it as a suggestion and not a "here's what we are doing". I mean, at the end of the day it is MY classroom and MY students, and I am the one being held accountable. Therefore it is not her place to boss me around and tell me how to run my room.

    That being said, I do realize that I will have her in my room all year, and being more positive about the situation will surely make it a smoother and more enjoyable year with my students.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:13 am
  • Ahhh! Yes, please! I now work at a glorious school which helps me keep my head on straight, but I nearly ended my teaching career after four years of taking every apathetic parent and struggling kid personally. I still (this is now year 10) shake in my heels every back to school night and parent-teacher conference. Thanks, Ms Mimi for everything!

    August 31, 2011 at 1:33 am
  • I would love to be able to be a bit more zen about the administration and their new initiatives. For example, school starts next week, and, apparently, we are instituting a new technology curriculum – with no training. Oh, and the bonus was that I only found out because I was on our district's website. I could totally use some zen right about now.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:33 am
  • I would love to learn to separate my emotions from how I interact with others 🙂

    August 31, 2011 at 1:33 am
  • I would love to be able to find peace with all the mother-loving testing, testing, testing that is not going anywhere – at least for now.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • Where would I begin?? There is drama on my team that wears me out!! I need this book…. sounds great and I love the cornerstone blog!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • I'd love to leave behind pitiful administrators! I wish they'd step up and treat us like professionals. As for me, I'm going to chose to ignore their negativity.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • I need the chapter on how not to be easily offended…one of my greatest downfalls!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • Oh, give me some zen, please. I haven't been given a key to my building. I have to ring a doorbell to have someone in the office buzz me in. If noone is in the office. I just have to walk around and hope someone else who is there early will open a door. It might seem like a little thing, but it is a reminder every morning and every recess duty that I don't belong yet.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • I need to let go of my resentment towards inconsiderate colleagues who think I can drop everything to clean up their mess. If I speak up, I end up looking like the bad guy. Lose/Lose situation…thanks for a great giveaway. School doesn't start for another week, but I already know I need that book!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • I would like to be able to have people's compliments have as big an impact on my emotional state as insults. I will dwell on negative comments for days (or years). But I just let compliments pass me by. I feel guilty remembering the good things people see in me and some times I don't trust what they have to say. For some reason I always believe the negative things no matter how far fetched and wrong they are. The last thing a insult does is make me what to fix what the person doesn't like. I become resentful and petty. I want to fight back and be just as nasty. I don't want to be that person and I know by working hard I don't have to be.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • Amen to negative attitudes towards positive changes! Aren't some teachers TIRED of teaching from the same awful anthology for 15 years??? You wouldn't believe the fight they put up! Change is GOOD! I'd like to stay positive and ROCK some literature circles! 🙂

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • Communication related issues… I just have to trust that everyone is doing the best they can to get info out, and they don't always remember everyone because we're all a tad bit busy…

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • I would love to not let other's opinions get me down – when they are oppositional to what I want to be doing in my classroom. While I am always open to new ideas and innovations, I think I can get too down on myself when others shut down my ideas. I would love to read this book to help out these and other problems!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • My school is a great place to teach so my complaints run more to the national level. I'd like to stop getting upset by the trend to blame someone other than ourselves when something goes wrong.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm
  • sounds like a great book for our staff to read… we have a new motto this year: "cya". No, not "cover your ass"- although that is good general advice..but "choose your attitude". We are trying to rise above a bunch of stuff and this book would aide us in doing that!

    August 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm
  • I want to let go of getting angry when people "shoot the messenger". I am always the messenger in my job, it's what I do, so it's time to quit expecting that to change, and to just let the "bullets" roll off my back.

    August 31, 2011 at 7:43 pm
  • We have a brand new principal this year and she is changing EVERYTHING! I have to let go of this fear that all this change is too much too soon and go with the flow. There are some really good things brewing and I really hope they are for the best.

    September 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm
  • Ahh, a post from my own heart! I am also on a quest for Zen this year (a Zenquest?) and just frond Angela's site a few weeks ago when googling workshop stations. I think the stars are aligning in my favor! 🙂
    And after I spontaneously emailed my principal today after being so flustered by a last minute change in plans…. It sounds like the time is right for this book and I to meet. I need to change how I handle conflict!

    September 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm
  • I hate when things are "wrong" and the people with the power to make positive changes don't seem to do it. I get so frustrated!

    September 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm
  • The thing I would like to change the most would be the negative attitudes of coworkers! Don't bring me down – leave it in your own room.

    September 7, 2011 at 2:53 am
  • Dealing with parents who think nothing is wrong with their child, even when there clearly is!
    I need a positive outlook on dealing with parents!

    September 7, 2011 at 2:53 am
  • Andrea, I totally agree.

    October 6, 2011 at 2:42 am

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