I didn't plan to tell this personal story today, but because of what's going on with me on this beautiful Friday, I'm changing it up.
I'm currently going through treatment for an autoimmune disease, and I feel like total crap. Sick selfie below.
I've been in bed most of today working on my phone. I got up once to see if I could work at my desk and filmed an Instagram story and then realized it was a terrible idea.
I remember when I had these flares when I was a teacher. A sub never picked up my jobs, and I always felt guilty, like I was letting my students and co-workers down. The years I taught first grade were the worst. I had no idea what was wrong with me (nor did my doctors) and I was so hard on myself. Frankly, my co-workers weren't that supportive either.
It was during that time that I realized that my expectations for myself were toxic. I realized that I had been taught that being at school was more important than my health, and I had bought into the lie.
What followed was resentment and eventually burnout. I didn't have social support. I was unable to detach from work because of toxic expectations. I had really challenging, large groups those two years and while I loved it, I could feel my compassion satisfaction starting to wane. Of course I couldn't label it at the time, but in hindsight I know. I wasn't taking care of myself because I had no clue about evidence-based care. To me taking care of myself was a massage, a pedicure, goat yoga, etc.
But now it's different, and it's not because I'm not a teacher. It's because I know better now. I respect myself. I respect my illness. And I don't take crap from anybody about having to lay in bed all day. I have tools in my proverbial tool belt like social support, the ability to detach, evidence-based care, and compassion satisfaction.
And I'm not writing this because I can't take a day off. I'm writing it because it's something I can do while I lay in my bed, and I want to.
I wonder if you can relate?
Maybe not about chronic illness, but about the toxic expectations and culture you've seen in your workplace...in your school?
If you are, you opened the right blog, because in the Teacher Care Network, we're going to explore what it would look like for you to take back the respect you deserve and do what's right for you.
If you haven't joined my free Facebook group yet, Teacher Care Network Support Community, hop on over and join. If you're an administrator, we have one for you too, and you can find it here. Make sure you answer the membership questions because that's what our community manager uses to screen people. We want to make everyone in our community is there for the right reason and is actually an educator.
See you in there!
-Dr. Jen Johnson
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