Posted in Personal Growth, teaching, Therapy, Uncategorized

Doing the work

As a teacher, I used to hesitate to say no when asked to do things. I worried that I would be labeled as someone who is not a team player. The unfortunate reality is that a lot of the time I became the team, because “I was good at ____”. Saying I was good at something, made me feel validated, but it’s also how many of us burnout. I was overwhelmed and my anxiety was through the roof, and it went on like this for a couple of years. I still gave my students my all, but my family had a more exhausted, emotionally drained version of their mom and wife.

When it became too much, I did what no one likes to admit, I asked for help, real professional help. That’s right, I saw a therapist- who stated the obvious, “you’re doing too much,” but unlike advice that I would have customarily blown off, since I was paying for his service, I listened to him. And then took his advice and put it to use. 

I started saying no to projects that didn’t make me happy. And you know what? It was okay, no one retaliated, and someone else who was glad to do it did it. So contrary to what we believe, things can get done without us. Therapy taught me to seek balance in all aspects of my life. 

I also learned the importance of creating my core values, a set of standards to guide me personally and professionally, something that I now realize was missing. My core values, a few which I am sharing, encouraged me to narrow down my motivations and goals for how I wanted to lead my life. 

Mrs. Tolman’s Core Values:

1. Engage fully or, as I prefer to say it- be where your feet are. If you are at school, you focus on school; if you are on the field, your feet are there. If I’m at school, I am a teacher and a colleague. At home, I am a mom, wife, and doctoral student. This balance is essential for me because my family deserves the same energy level that I give my students. 

2. We are servant leaders. I grew up without so many basic things- electricity, sometimes food, at one point without a bed. This is why in my heart, I find it important to serve. I believe to whom much is given, much is expected. My students are learning about servant leadership as well- we make sandwiches for the homeless, donate clothing and food, and serve every month. And I like to remind them, this is done with the most valuable resource-time. 


3. We choose joy. We practice gratitude daily during the first five minutes of class. It helps students shift their mindset and find small things that we are grateful for. This could be- my socks match, my mom made my favorite dinner, whatever it is that made a difference in their day. This reflection is how we avoid spiraling out, the small gesture resonates and makes a difference. My favorite part is that students are now actively seeking things to write in their journals. 

I don’t have all the answers, but the one thing I am sure of is that I didn’t want to lose my sense of self because I am a teacher. I can say no. I can find joy. Make no mistake though, I did the work. I did the work that we often hesitate to do because it seems selfish or frowned upon. Making time for myself was not selfish. In making time, I have created balance without sacrificing my mental health and I am a better teacher, mom and wife for it.  

Posted in Personal Growth, teaching

I’m intentional 🤷🏻‍♀️

When I interviewed last week, I told Doug, that I’m pretty sure I held my own. And that I forgot what leadership traits I have used to help my colleagues🤦🏻‍♀️
But here’s what I said:
I’m intentional with how I approach teaching them during professional development. I like to ensure that they leave with tangible lessons that they can implement in their classrooms. I respect their time and want them to feel like it has not been wasted.
If nothing else it is a true statement. Whether it’s a leadership trait 🤷🏻‍♀️
But here’s to a new adventure.

Posted in parenting, Personal Growth, Relationship

Make sure you they know

Today marks 20 years since my dad’s passing. To say that I was blessed to have him as my father would be an understatement. He was a quiet patient man, but when he spoke he was brilliant. I would sit with him and talk about anything- he’d give me index cards and say can you find out what this is? (Technology was just emerging and it was not within our means to afford it just yet-so I’d look it up in school.)
I know I lost him way too soon- he was only 51 and I was 18.
He did however, instill in me the value of a formal education and the importance of continued personal growth. He never used his diabetes or loss of vision as an excuse to stop learning, instead he’d call me over to be his eyes.
Because of this- I’ve learned to be curious, to continue growing, to continue learning, to not make excuses, most importantly to value my health.
The reality is we never know how much time is granted to us.
Here’s what gives me peace:
I always sat with my dad before coming to Brownsville, we’d talk about the most random of things, and when it was time to go- I’d tell him I love him.
Make sure the people you love, know that you do. It will provide you with the peace in your heart long after they’re gone.

Posted in Blended Family, Personal Growth, Relationship

Goals and Resolutions

What crazy things are you tackling this new year? Did you claim it as yours? I did not. However, we have signed up for a few half marathons, a life/ business course with Scott Miller, along with a few other drastic changes that were long in the making. I have goals to make A’s in my doctoral courses and I am resolved to run those races and read 24 books.

I can not wait to see this year unfold, but for now we are definitely off to an amazing start. And as always, we recognize God’s amazing grace in all of our blessings.

Reminder set attainable goals and resolve to do something that builds you up.

Wishing you a great week!

Posted in edtech, Personal Growth, teaching, Uncategorized

Creating solutions

I am seeing so many educators struggle for so many reason and I decided to create something that would alleviate some concerns. I have decided to add content to my YouTube channel that gives MINUTE long lessons on how to bring technology into your classroom. The videos are created in real time to show that we are heavily overthinking what we need to do for this new and revised version of teaching.

I am both a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer, so I know a little about what I am talking about.I am currently only at 3 but have a whole list of topics in mind.

I respect and value time and learning which is why I kept them short but relevant. Anything I suggest is because they have proven effective and I am not being paid by anyone to promote them. Here’s the link- I hope you find something that helps.

Yours in service.

Today’s lesson:

I loved seeing this because it shows that they’re watching us. They see the journey and the result. We think we can only teach from a book and not from our hearts. We can do both. I choose to live an authentic life, because any other way would be exhausting. I’m teaching this female student and all my other students that they determine what the future looks like.

Happy Tuesday!

Posted in Personal Growth, Uncategorized

Ya’ll it’s Friday and February

So let’s recap how January has gone and discuss what the intentions for 2019 are.

Small win #1

Fitness wise I am proud to say that I have made it a point to workout at least 4 times a week before heading to work.

Small win #2

Start today journaling has been consistent during the week. If you’re not familiar with this- you list 5 things you are grateful for and 10 dreams you’ve made happen (while they’ve not happened, you write them as if they have).

Small win #3

Only one week so far, but lunch has been packed daily.

Small win #4

Currently on step 2 of 4 towards completing induction to the National Society of Leadership and Success

Small win #5

Made it through January and am currently typing this from my elliptical.

The month was obviously filled with more moments than that, but those were my personal wins. Which is the point of this post- what small wins are you making and acknowledging in your personal life daily? As moms or busy adults it’s easy to overlook the things we’re doing well that we focus on the things that we feel defeated by. You think “well I’m supposed to be doing those things”, maybe but I was never issued a handbook with these kids. So if you packed a lunch or got in the workout- yay you!!!

You are rocking it today and if you miss one day, you have tomorrow or this afternoon. You don’t have to wait until next year. Be intentional daily.

Happy Friday Ya’ll!

Posted in Blended Family, co-parenting, parenting, Personal Growth, small business, teaching, Uncategorized

Are you growing?

I’m a teacher by trade. I love love love what I do. But we have our side hustle and podcasts which I’m also loving. So as the days are going by I’m listening to all the podcasts and watching the lives on Facebook or IG doing the life coaching or reading books. Every moment is used for growth and gratitude. As I believe it should be. Seeing our shirts on parents on the field or people drinking from our cups-that’s what encourages the late nights. Kids commenting on the podcasts- makes the effort worth it.

Reminder who’s watching. So do what you love so that they can ask how do I stay motivated instead of man I never want to be like that.

Happy Wednesday!