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Teacher Anxiety and Student Outcomes

I'm coming at you this morning with some doctorly advice from an MD. And it's not doctorly advice about the pandemic...never fear!! That's not my lane, and I'm staying in mine. 

The past six months I've been making some really big changes in how I engage in medical selfcare, a sub-category of physical selfcare. 

I found out I had an autoimmune disease back in April, and there was a long list of things I needed to do to help my body recover and thrive.

I usually struggle with routinely taking pills and supplements, feeding myself well, and prioritizing my body, but the past six months have been drastically different.

I have taken 20+ pills and supplements daily. I've cut gluten, dairy, and soy from my diet. I've cooked at home more than ever. I have absolutely rocked it, and I've been so proud of myself. (This blog is not about praising myself so bear with me.)

Then came the six month bloodwork.

Nothing changed!

I sat in my doctor's office in disbelief. Total and complete disbelief that I could have done ALL the things that science says should improve my condition, and NONE of them were effective. Pictured below is me in my doctor's office.



In fact, not only did nothing change, but some things got WORSE!

I was so angry, frustrated, sad, and disappointed. My doctor on the other hand said, "This is good information." 

Say what?!?! No ma'am. No. This is NOT good information.

She said, "Now that we know this doesn't work, we can try other treatments. You did everything you were supposed to do. Whether your body responds is out of your control. We try again. This is a win."

This is NOT what I wanted to hear, but it reminded me how much I have to detach from outcomes. 

And you do too!

This week in the Teacher Care Network Support Community, there were several discussion threads where teachers shared they felt like they were failing their students. Maybe you feel like that sometimes too?

Here's the can provide the best, evidence-based instruction ever for your students and some students will not master the content. You don't have control over the brains of kids. Your job is to provide an educational environment that is warm and hopeful alongside instruction based in best practices. Beyond that, you have no control. 

We must detach from students' outcomes if we are going to continue to have the emotional resilience to keep getting up everyday and going to school. 

Student outcomes give us information about what evidence-based practices work for a child. They do not, and I repeat, do not, speak to your worth and value as a teacher and human being.


How To Move Past Outcomes-Based Thinking

One strategy that helps people move past outcomes-based thinking is documenting every little emotional win like you're documenting them for a court case. 

Every time I get an email, FB/IG comment, DM, or snail mail telling me I've made someone's day or helped them in any way, I print it out and glue it in a notebook. I know people think educational psychologists have it all together emotionally and don't struggle, but we do.

Some days I wake up and feel like I'm not helping anyone....just like you wake up some days feeling awful about your job. On those days, I get out that notebook and I read it until I realize the truth again, that I do impact teachers' lives. 

Do the same for you. Whatever it looks like for you, keep track of those successes and those feel good moments because you're going to need them to get you through the trying times when you just want to quit. 

If you need support changing your mindset, check out my free Facebook community, the Teacher Care Network Support Community, or check out the Teacher Care Network Membership.

And do something for YOU today!

-Dr. Johnson 

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