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Friday, 24 February 2017

Why does teaching make me fat???

Here are some adjectives that I often describe myself as when I am run down and feeling...well let's just say it how it is, feeling like rubbish; sluggish, fat, fatigued, knackered, exhausted, beat and I'm sure many more. During a very hard and busy term, it's incredibly easy to begin to feel this way. But why? Yes, teaching is hard and demanding, but I love my job which has left me confused for a few years. I enjoy teaching, with great job and self satisfaction on a daily basis, so why am I feeling like a hippo that would rather float around in a pool of mud???

Raise your hand if you recognise these following bad habits: holding the need to pee because you're in the middle of a lesson, struggling through the pain of your over flowing bladder because as you were on the way to the toilet, you got side-tracked by a parent or your boss who just had to speak to you at that very moment; missing your snack breaks because you've got to get the homework marked and back out to the pupils that same day in order to re-set new homework, plus you're on lunch duty so it's now 3pm and you realise you've not eaten since breakfast; you've been teaching back to back lessons all day so you've forgotten to drink water and now realise as you are sending your pupils home that you're dehydrated because your headache is starting and your tongue is sticking to the roof of your mouth because you've been talking all day; after all of this, you feel exhausted, you're on your way home, the traffic is jammed and you know you've not got any food in the house...do you go to the shops or do you risk driving home thinking, oh well...beans on toast will be fine because all you want to do is get your PJs on and climb into bed; when you do the shopping finally, you've got your routine down to such a fine art that you can be in and out of the shop in 15 mins flat because you always pick up the same ingredients...pretty much every week; you're home, you cram in your beans on toast and eat it fast because you're literally starving and then sit down to finish your marking/planning and other after hours activities as well as juggling family life; after all of this it's finally time for bed and knowing that you have to be up for work at 5.30/6/6.15/6.30am (after the 4th alarm) it would be best to go to bed by 9pm knowing that you should be asleep by 10pm in order to get your recommended 8 hours sleep. However, you've had such a rushed day, you decide that eating in bed with your favourite food & drinks whilst watching/reading your favourite TV show/book is just awesome and after the fourth episode/chapter or 3rd hour on twitter/facebook/google+ you look at the clock and it's now midnight. 5 hours sleep. Oh well...and then it's Tuesday...repeat x 4!

Does any of this sound familiar?

We professionals all know and appreciate that teaching is not just a job, it's our lifestyle. There's me thinking I was a good teacher because my class were performing well, students & parents were happy, I was managing my work load well...as best as I could, so why did I feel so sluggish? I stood back and really spent some time reflecting on what it was that I was missing or doing wrong! This process took me about a year and then all of a sudden I fell ill with a severe bladder infection! Not nice, but I realised then that I was managing my job very well, but at the cost of my health because it seemed that I had forgotten to go the toilet since I had...well, basically joined the profession back in 2007! A slight exaggeration, but the point is, in order to cope with the busy demands of our day to day job, I had unconsciously re-wired my body clock in more ways than I could have possibly imagined and ended up with some pretty bad habits. Non of which hindered my ability to perform the job well, it was just at the cost of my overall health and feel good factor. I had put my body into fight mode! Fight or Flight as they say and mine was fighting! 

As we all know, bad habits are difficult to break. I evaluated my behaviour and had become somebody that could work efficiently on 5 hours sleep with two meals a day, could hold the need to pee for about 7 hours and only drank about 3/4 cups of water a day. This wasn't good and needed to change. But I'm one of those unfortunate, slightly chubby girls whose metabolism got lost somewhere years ago, hates exercise and would rather mark than go to the gym...so you can imagine my enthusiasm for starting a new diet, with a new gym routine etc etc! I couldn't think of anything worse! At this point, I was much happier coping with tiredness, fatigue and sluggishness than I was the idea of working really hard at school, only to then have to face the gym after work as well. Some people are very fortunate to be active, have fast metabolisms or just enjoy exercising, but I'm not one of those and never have been.

So, how do people like us break these bad habits? If you're like me, you're great at your job. The fact that your body feels like hell probably means your classroom is in tip-top shape because it's your classroom that's getting all the attention right?? That means you're super efficient, organised and capable of setting up strong routines and boundaries as you do for your students. The only way I could find the ability to MOTIVATE myself was to re-set my health and fitness goals and add them to my CPD. Managing your health should be part of every teacher's CPD. It makes sense considering we spend 50-60 of our hours per week dedicated to our jobs. In my opinion, our health and fitness should be incorporated into our CPD and assessed every term, just like our lessons, child achievement and planning etc. 

As a collective group of colleagues who shared some similar bad habits, we worked as a team to compare and contrast those teachers who were successfully maintaining their health against those who weren't. The results were so simple that I couldn't believe after all these years I had not been doing these essential yet easy things. No gym memberships needed at all! Below are the main things I wasn't and should have been doing.


1) SLEEP - 8 to 9 hours every night without fail. This step cannot be compromised. 

2) WATER - Drink 3 litres every day. Not, 1, not 2, but 3 for your body to be functioning at its optimal rate.

3) TOILET BREAKS - Before lessons, at every break/lunch time, after school and more. Always remember to go, even if you don't need to!

4) EAT LITTLE & OFTEN - 4/5 smaller meals a day keeps your blood sugar levels consistent & fuel in your tank. (3 of these meals will be consumed during school hours so planning the night before is essential for this step...something I'm terrible at).

5) TAKE MULTIVITAMINS EVERY DAY with Ginseng (Extra vitamin C and Echinacea during cold seasons or whenever students in your class fall ill with colds). Carrying a small antibacterial hand sanitiser is a good idea as we teachers all know how easy it is to pick up bugs!

6) 20 MINS EXERCISE EVERY DAY - This can be absolutely anything and even broken down into x2 10 mins sessions which you could even do with your students in class if you can't fit it in at home. 

7) CHANGE YOUR WEEKLY FOOD INGREDIENTS every week! Throw a curve ball at your diet by  changing what you eat. Our bodies are incredible machines that can adapt to any environment and even your food. You don't want to be feeding your body with the same ingredients as it will learn to maintain itself. For weight loss, you need variety.

8) KEEP YOUR WORK AT SCHOOL - Everybody works differently and some prefer to leave work earlier and take work home rather than stay an extra hour longer, but managing your time to the point that where possible you can leave work at school, will leave you feeling lighter, less anxious and allow you more time to relax at home with your family.

As Albert Einstein said himself; 

"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."

How are you managing your work/life balance?

IGNITE your own professional development! Great Tips...

A very dear professional friend of mine (+carmen blyth TheTeacherWhisperer @teacherwhispers) once gave me some excellent advice. After she had taught for many years across the globe, whilst casually swimming along and talking about how I could improve my professional development...she left me with two very profound and eye-opening tips:

1) You must take charge of your own professional development yourself. You are on your own and don't expect anybody to put it on your lap. Do it yourself! 
2) Wear great clothes, do your hair, put on a pair of heels and flutter your eyelashes! It's true that this works wonders! Do you look like you're trying to impress anyone?

There comes a time in everybody's career when you feel stuck. You've got so far and don't know where to turn next. I was so inspired by my friends words which were so simple. I knew I could at least manage point 2 very easily, but I pondered on point 1 for a few months. How can I take charge of my own professional development? The kind where I am improving my practice on my own. We all know as teachers that getting out of the classroom and onto a training course is hard and happens rarely. Yes, we may have great systems in place to share practice within our school, but how could I access peers beyond my school?

The answer was simple: THE INTERNET! Online networking. 

When talking about twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr with my peers at work, I was surprised to find so many people still not using these networking sites (myself included). At this time in my career, I had still only mastered Facebook and used this only for personal reasons.

I had no professional online identity. 

I had started a school blog to help my students communicate their success and achievements to their parents at home and this was my first step. Having spent time in school learning how to create and set up a blog using Blogger, I thought to myself, I can do this for my PD. So I did. Having begun this task, I quickly found myself discovering other teachers doing the same thing. Looking for ways to improve their knowledge and practice online. This small step opened up so many new paths and connections that I can now honestly advice all teachers/professionals to do the same. 

Investing in yourself is the best way to achieve success. I was thoroughly excited writing my very first blog post,  THE BLOGFOLIO - Have you got one? 

What I have learned though on this journey are many peers have either still not discovered these great networks, or know they exist but haven't found the time to explore them.

So, below are my TIPS to help you achieve this goal within your own time. It's easy to do but the most important thing to remember is that you are doing it for yourself, for your own enjoyment and discovery, on your time when it suits you. 

I hope you find them useful :)

IGNITE your own professional development - KEY TIPS

1) Create a Google+ account from your own already existing gmail email account. If you don't have one, create one.  Enjoy completing your new Google+ profile. Once completed, link with your family and friends and start creating circles for yourself. Once you start following people, they will start following you.

R2M! Is your class doing this?


What's R2M? Is your class doing it?

Thousands of students, whether young, teenage or adult love star wars! As such, its characters are a great way to inject some captivating, visual stimulus into your classroom. 

So what is R2M? Inspired by the character's name R2-D2, R2M stands for 'Respond to Marking!' 

This is simply time that teachers give to students on a daily basis (where possible) for students to reflect and respond to marking. This is an incredibly important step in the learning process and often missed due to timetable demands. However, I have found that simply adding this to your daily routine (approx 5-10 mins) is positive in many ways;
  1. Students take more time and care over their work by checking, correcting and evaluating.
  2. Students enjoy responding back to their teacher.
  3. Students appreciate their marking more.
  4. Student's discussions on learning outcomes are more proactive, positive and reflective.
  5. Student's understanding and knowledge of their progress is deeper as they identify their next steps.

Finally...they love it and even request this time. After all, what's the point in marking if they don't read it and learn from it; similarly, what's the point in doing the work, if they don't see the teacher responding to it effectively?

Try this and let me know how it goes for you!  :)

Advertised now on Netmums :) Childminder - Corsham

Shoebox Cafe Tuition and Childcare - http://www.shoeboxcafe.co.uk

Now advertised on NetMums! :) 

Click the link below...

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Shoebox Cafe Tuition & Childminding POLICIES now ONLINE!

Shoebox Cafe Tuition and Childcare - http://www.shoeboxcafe.co.uk

UPDATE: My Tuition and Childminding POLICIES are now online for your convenience. Please feel free to read if you're interested in my services. I have also uploaded my Childminding Welcome Pack including forms you may need to complete at home.


Take Care

Samantha Rix 

New Website and Facebook Page name - Updated

Shoebox Cafe Tuition and Childcare - http://www.shoeboxcafe.co.uk

Hi Everyone! Hope you're enjoying your half term. As it is the holidays, I am catching up on some website improvements. Please note that my usual website and facebook page name (Samantha Rix Tutoring) has now changed to reflect all new aspects of my business. 

Website is Now: SHOEBOXCAFE

Facebook Page Url: SHOEBOXCAFE1


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Childminding spaces **available** January

CHILDMINDING spaces **available** JANUARY
Mondays & Tuesdays 7.30am-5.00pm Wednesday Mornings 7.30am-1.30pm
£5 per hour, includes all snacks, drinks/outings!

(Local Schools in Corsham for Drop off & pick up available.)