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 Servant Leadership, teaching, Uncategorized

Teaching to Serve

Guess how I spent my morning?!

That’s right another drive by collection, this time in preparation for our April service project.
I do get strange looks from people in the parking lot when they see students hop off their cars to place their donations in my car… but this has been the best solution for me.
From here, Doug and I will assemble 65 Easter boxes and stuff them with the goodies the kids dropped off and deliver to a local adult day care facility next Friday.
I’m proud to say that we have successfully completed a community service project every month this school year, which is no easy feat during a pandemic.
I am incredibly grateful that the parents have found it in their hearts to allow participation to even occur.

I will continue to say that the ability to serve doesn’t/shouldn’t stop and if it is within your ability to do so, please do. Time is as valuable as money.

Wishing everyone a happy Saturday!

Posted in Relationship, Uncategorized

Be intentional with how you love

In my start today journal- 1 of the 10 dreams/goals of things I made happen is:

We are a couple that actively works on their marriage.
I write this DAILY. This creates intention.

Which brings me to today.

Doug and I were previously sharing a digital copy, but this is definitely a nicer way to do this. This is one of many ways that we actively work on our marriage.

One daily devotional helps set the tone for the day.

Remember, when Covey said love is verb.

“When you live together in unity, you honor God and open the door for His blessings to flow into every area of your life.”

What is something you are doing for your marriage?

Posted in Uncategorized

The most romantic words of February 2021

On February 1st Doug called and said, “I’m dropping off our last rent check”

Yup, with less than ten words, my heart skipped a beat and I knew that while we’ve been building a life we would now be doing it in our own home. Our kids would be able to paint their rooms and set them up however their hearts desired. The smallest things often bring the greatest joy.

As for me, I am in awe, of the God’s immense grace. Having grown up frequently moving, sometimes not having a bed, often sharing a room. To now be a homeowner. And doing it alongside a man who is my best friend.

That’s God’s grace.

Even though our first days in our new home were spent without electricity courtesy of the winter storm, we never worried, we just layered and kept moving forward.

My reminder to you is to keep moving forward. Whether it’s through this current pandemics or a weather challenges. There’s nothing you can’t achieve with faith and perseverance.

Our first coffee and tea in our garden room. It was also our first since the storm had hit so it was that much nicer.

Happy Wednesday!

Posted in Uncategorized


After a week of WiFi issues we’ve opted on hardwiring everyone to eliminate or at least minimize connectivity issues within our home.
We were asked what do people who aren’t familiar with these solutions do?
Doug’s response: they go on Facebook to complain.
🤷🏻‍♀️ sounds accurate
All jokes aside, we did have a chat with our kids about the blessing that it is to have these things within our own home. Make no mistake it’s an investment.
We shared an image that was circulating where the kids are on the sidewalk doing their class work. We reminded them that they should have grace and recognize the small blessings that these conveniences are… even when they seen inconvenient.
Maybe some adults can recognize the same.

Items purchased include a LOT of Ethernet wire, an 8 port switch, and usb to Ethernet adapters.

Happy Sunday.

Posted in Uncategorized

Tolmans are starting a new season!

We are truly starting a new season in our home with the way that we teach, parent and basically navigate this new space that life has provided. We are having the big discussions regarding the decisions being made by those around us and how that affects those of us who actually teach. This is an incredibly candid talk about how classrooms are being affected even more unnecessarily than needed. 

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.