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In this episode, we are back and chatting about some of our goals and reflections for the new year. We will talk about what we have learned through the course of 2022, and goals we plan to implement this year.

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Show Notes

This week, we are back (at last!) to chat about what has been going on, what some of our reflections are, as well as some of our goals for the new year.

You may (or may not) have noticed that we have been absent a bit lately. We have both been dealing with some different things in our personal lives that have made everything a little bit challenging. Something had to give, and so we took a bit of a break, but we are back and hoping that we can stay strong and continue on our weekly schedule!

We really missed the podcasting part of our lives, so we are really grateful, happy and excited to be back!

We figured that since we are now in a brand new year (2023), we would start fresh with an episode dedicated to sharing some of our hopes and goals, as well as things that we have learned over the past year.

What we’ve learned about ourselves in 2022

Wow, what a year it has been! It has been such a chaotic year, full of so much change.

Relearning our roles

Rachel is back in the classroom after being in a coaching role, which has made for a huge transition, as well as some challenges. This transition back to the classroom also included her transition back to her leadership position as well, which isn’t always such a smooth transition. Administration are different, which has meant a lot of relearning her role, forging new relationships, and it has felt like she’s a department head for the first time again!

Bitmoji of Rachel and Katie. Text: Challenge Accepted!

That being said, we recognize that any new administration changes often come with a lot of change and relationship building, as new admin to the building often don’t know staff personally or professionally.

Katie also has new admin at her school, and has felt that change. She struggles to talk about herself, her skills and experience, etc. but recognizes that it’s often good to share these things so that staff (and admin) know that they can lean on her should they want to. That being said, she only just told her new principal in December about the podcast!

This year has been a lot of change and relearning. It isn’t a bad thing, but it’s definitely kept us on our toes! That being said, it has been exhausting, particularly since September, as this current school year has gone at such a break neck speed. It has felt very hectic and chaotic, running at a pace that can’t continue indefinitely.

Asking for help

Rachel’s transition back to the classroom also meant taking on some big changes and challenges with a new curriculum for grade nine science. All of this while she also dealing with some health things too!

This has allowed Rachel to get better at saying “no” when she needs to. She doesn’t feel great at it yet, but she is a work in progress. She has also been working on asking for help when she needs it, which has not been a very easy thing to do.

This has all led to one of the goals she is working on for this new year: putting herself first, and asking for what she needs.

Katie has also been slowly getting better at asking for help from others. With everything going on, it has been challenging to balance everything well. She recognized that she wouldn’t be able to do her job well if she continued to take on so many different things, and she didn’t want to neglect any of that work, so she spoke with her admin and said that she needed to take a step back from some of the roles until things resolve, and she feels comfortable taking it back on.

Work-life balance

Katie struggled quite a bit from January to June of 2022. Many of her students needed support and help finding the right resources/people to help support them and/or their families, many sharing a lot of difficult experiences of trauma, etc. This led to compassion fatigue that was quite difficult to balance and process by the end of June.

Bitmoji of Rachel and Katie smiling at each other. Text: #Adulting

She has been working to process and protect herself, and one way is to create more separation and balance between work and life outside of work.

At the beginning of this school year, she made the decision to not check work email once she was home from school. All work was left at the door, which was not something she was very good at in the past.

This simple act has made such a big different in her home life, her anxiety levels, and stress in general. She no longer wonders if there’s an email that’s waiting for her, or what’s going on, and she has found a much better balance as a result.

Katie’s goal is to continue this practice in 2023. It’s very challenging, but she recognizes the need for that balance and having a cut off time where she embraces her role as a wife, mom, sister, daughter, etc.

Rachel has also been terrible about checking work emails at night. She also was feeling stressed or anxious about potential messages, and struggled with hearing the pings of email notifications. She has been trying hard to change these behaviours, and made the decision to turn off all of the phone notifications, which has helped a lot. She recognizes the need to get better, and to stop checking emails at home, but it’s tough!

It’s just a job

While it has been difficult to learn and accept this one, we have both learned this hard lesson.

We, as educators, tend to take on the role of the teacher as such an important part of our identity. So much of our energy, blood, sweat and tears go into it, but we need to remember that we are more than just teachers, and that we have other roles that are even more important to our families and friends.

Katie and her staff experienced two great losses in the first half of 2022 when two of the teachers from their school died. They were not ill, and both were quite unexpected deaths. It was such a harsh reality to show up the next day and already see supply teachers in place, with ads for their jobs going out soon after. We recognize the need to get teachers in place, ensure a smooth transition and positive learning outcomes for students, etc. however it was so hard to see how easily replaced we are as teachers. Emotionally, it was terrible.

Rachel and her school also had a teacher death at the beginning of this current school year, and it was the same type of experience.

We get it entirely, but it also acted as a reminder that teaching really is a job. We can pour ourselves into it while we are there, but we still need parts of us and our energy when we leave our classrooms at the end of the day.

Screen time

Katie has found that her screen time on her laptop has decreased significantly since resolving to not check work emails from home. There are even days when she doesn’t remove her computer from her bag! Just this winter break, she actually didn’t even remove her computer from her bag for a week and a half – and the computer is her personal laptop!

Rachel has had her computer out quite a bit, but she hasn’t actually done work during the break, which is unusual yet good. This year she has just really needed the break. Instead she has been reading books and coming up with lots of new and creative ideas for semester two. She’s been using a new app called Freeform on her iPad to record and jot down all of this new ideas; Free is like a Google Jamboard on steroids.

Personal goal

Bitmoji of Katie and Rachel jogging.

Since reading and learning from “Atomic Habits,” Rachel has adopted some great habits and routines this past year, one of them being strength training. She has been doing her strength training almost every single day of the week. She hopes to continue this in 2023.

With fitness in mind, Katie has set a goal to get back in shape and do more road cycling again. Years ago, when her children were young, she and her husband did the Ride to Conquer Cancer, riding their bikes from Toronto to Niagara Falls over two days. He has continued, but she has not. This year, she wants to train and complete it again in June.

Goals for EduGals

Our first goal is to be consistent in the new year with our release of episodes. It’ll obviously depend on life, etc. but we are hoping to return to our normal schedule.

Bitmoji of Katie and Rachel with cheerleader pompoms and a loudspeaker with the text: Go Team

Our second goal is to take many of the books we have been discussing and reading, and perhaps have some episodes dedicated to them. One such book is “Why Don’t Students Like School?” by Daniel Willingham. It was a fantastic read. Others are “Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics” by Peter Liljedahl, as well as a mastery-based learning book by Thomas Guskey. It will be a bit like a book club where we share our thoughts and reflections on what we have been learning and reading.

A third goal is for us to hit 150 epidoes. That seems to be our next milestone to aim for, and we are getting there! 150 is realistic, and it’s a great goal for this upcoming year. We never really knew how long we would record episodes when we first started, but it’s exciting to see how much we have changed and grown over the years – it’s so hard to believe that our podcast turns 3 in April of 2023!

EduGals Successes for 2022

We have experienced so much over the last year. Here are a few of the highlights we have for 2022:

Our favourite podcast episode of 2022

Katie’s favourite podcasts would be all of the work we’ve done with regards to mastery-based classrooms, including the Modern Classrooms Project.

Rachel would also add the episodes on ungrading. We also love how companies like Mote have listened to some of these episodes and gotten ideas about new features based on things that we’ve said – it’s so cool to see the impact we are having.

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