Master Teaching

a blog for teachers who follow the Master Teacher

Eyes on the Master

IMG_8153[1]by Jill Schafhauser

How do I rest? How do I play? How do I capture some stillness while working a stressful and demanding job as a principal? I’ve been working on that for nearly twenty years of teaching, and I’ve found a few key strategies that keep me in a good spot.

1. Keep school at school and home at home.

I am a talker. I process through a stressful or complicated issue by talking. I know that if my brain is still chewing on something, I need to chat with a respected friend or colleague so that my thoughts will quiet. I try to get that done before I walk into my home each day. I want to offer my family a steady mom and wife. I don’t always accomplish this, but I try.

2. Keep my body in check.

I have recently begun exercising every day before work. I meet a friend at the gym and we sweat! It has been very helpful to my mood and energy level. In addition, I have finally stopped fighting an early bedtime. I go to bed very early, wake up very early, and enjoy a much calmer me.

3. Do what I love and love what I do.

I love my students. I love my colleagues. I love what I do. I am sometimes obnoxiously loud. It could be true that people know I’m in a location because I can be heard laughing. I truly enjoy my students. Taking time to laugh and have fun while teaching is critical. Isn’t that why we all got into this profession? Don’t we all enjoy students? A few weeks ago, I had a dance party with one of my students while he ate his lunch. He left that interaction knowing that we both just whole-heartedly enjoyed our time together. I never want a student to leave my school without knowing that I genuinely enjoyed him or her as a fellow human.

Outside of school I have never had trouble having a good time either. I love to read, garden and cook. My family likes to camp and spend time in nature. When we drive into a state park, I audibly groan with happiness. When my hands reach into dirt or pick a vegetable off of a vine, my heart does jumping jacks. When my family eats a meal made with food that I preserved from the garden, I swoon. I thoroughly enjoy my time outside of school (and don’t give work a second thought).

4. Take a minute to think.

I make approximately 4,267 decisions in a given day. 🙂 Our school team will often look at me and say, “What are we going to do about that?” I will often respond with, “I don’t know. I need to think about it.” I’ve learned to give myself a minute. I’ve learned to admit when I have no idea what to do. I’ve learned that I don’t need to have the answers, I just need to know who to talk with. I’ve learned that some distance and time always help me to figure out better next steps.

5. Forgive myself and ask for forgiveness from others.

I’m a sinner who is in need of grace. I make a ton of mistakes. I tend to be very hard on myself when that happens. Asking my heavenly Father for forgiveness and then asking for help to forgive myself has helped me lighten up. Admitting to others (aloud) that I’ve made a mistake is a humbling experience. However, it is crucial to building an environment where it is okay to fail and learn from failure.

6. Keep my eyes on the Master Teacher

Keeping my eyes on Jesus is by far the MOST important piece of remaining healthy as a professional. Some mornings on my drive to work, I crank up praise music and pray over my students and team. I often walk the building and pray over our classrooms. I keep Bible verses just above my computer screen so that I recall quickly who is really at work. Bible Study Fellowship keeps me accountable and in the Word regularly. A church that preaches real Biblical teaching guides me each week. We live life with other believers in lifegroup. Keeping an eternal perspective is not easy but it is what helps me stay healthy, happy, and serving in a profession that rarely keeps professionals past the 5 year mark.

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”[1]

[1] Revelation 4:11, English Standard Version

Further exploration

  • Hebrews 12:1-3
  • Be Still (our teacher lectionary entry for this series on stillness/rest)

What’s Your Perspective

We welcome your comments on any of the ideas in this post or in answer to the questions below.

  • What do you do to rest and/or play that refreshes you for the classroom? How do you find stillness in the busyness of teaching?
  • How do you keep your eyes on the Master Teacher?

Post Author

7b8c0-jill2bin2bactionJill Schafhauser is the Coordinator of ALPHA, a Separate Day Program for students with behavioral disorders. Jill has been loving life in the world of special education, for eighteen years. She also has two handsome sons and an awesome husband. The Schafhausers serve the Lord as a team, trying to be a bit more like Him daily.

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2016 by in be still, Jill Schafhauser, rest.



Photo Credit: Eric Fischer via Compfight cc
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