Contributor: Kerry Garnier
If you work in the education system, you can probably relate to the responsibility and challenges of being an educator. The long hours, the workload and strategies to keep things together while in the classroom. With changing times, it becomes increasingly important as a teacher to find new way to deal with the every day challenges in the classroom. Following is one teacher's journey to finding herself and how she was able to use a simple tool to keep moving forward as a teacher and not loose herself.
I am a teacher. I have been a teacher with the Toronto District School Board for 13 years. I came to teaching in my late 30’s, retraining while single parenting two children under the age of 5.
I was one of the lucky ones, because I got hired immediately after Teacher’s College. My first year of teaching was a blur, I don’t remember any of it. This was probably survival instinct kicking in. By my second year I started to hit a groove, but still could not believe HOW MUCH WORK there was. And I knew how much work there was, because I was the daughter of a teacher. I had witnessed my Mom’s whole career.
By my 3rd or 4th year of teaching I had discovered meditation, mindfulness and yoga. These were a godsend … allowing me to be more present, let more go, and cope with the endless work. And I do mean endless-from-September-to-June work. It never ceases.
By my 5th year I was already looking for ways to increase my work-life balance and lighten my teaching load. I was finally becoming a somewhat seasoned teacher and I was already worrying about burnout, despite my self-care practices. My coping strategies were good, but not good enough. I applied to and began contributing to the self-funded “4 over 5” leave program. I would work for 4 more years, then have a paid year off.
A couple of years into this program I was burning out. I began to seriously worry that I was not going to make it to my year off. I loved teaching but felt I was not thriving in the education system. Additionally, as a single parent I felt that I could not walk away from secure, steady work. So I started looking for a new position in the board; a position that would allow for more work-life balance.
Around this time I also found tapping (Emotional Freedom Techniques – EFT). It was an online course offered by Nick Ortner. Thank you Nick for starting me down the path to regaining my sanity and saving my career.
Through a friend I discovered that Canada’s only EFT training institute was right here in the Greater Toronto Area so I took a one day workshop with NeftTI. This first workshop, lead to a weekend workshop, which lead to me being able to save myself in my most difficult teaching assignment to date.
What I learned from working with EFT was not only can I change my emotions, my energy, my outlook, and my triggers, but by effectively changing myself I could affect change in those around me.
After focused tapping on myself, I had an extremely disrespectful and disengaged student go from being a daily challenge (insolent, verbally abusive, with full blown rages) to being a relatively calm student who was willing to dialogue with me and do what was necessary to get the credit. I don’t know if I would have believed this to be possible if I had not witnessed it myself.
EFT is effective beyond any other resiliency technique that I have come across. I still use mindfulness and meditation as a part of my daily practice, but if I want to calm myself and change my situation, I use EFT.
EFT is what allows me to go back into the classroom every day, ready, refreshed, recharged and inspired.