New Year’s Resolutions for TEACHERS

I’ve started on my New Year’s Resolution…a little early! Is it cheating to pick a New Year’s Resolotion that I know I can keep??

A lot of people make resolutions to lose weight, get fit, exercise more and just be all around healthier people. These are fantastic resolutions and I admire people who can stick with these goals!

However…. I know myself. I’ve made those kinds of resolutions and I have that “Hoorah!” attitude for about… a month?

So… 2 years ago I made the first New Year’s Resolution I knew I could keep: I would wear more flowers in my hair! I’m sure this sounds like a silly resolution to many of you. But you know what? I really needed a resolution I could succeed with to boost my confidence of being able to keep another one in the future. And wearing flowers in my hair makes me feel pretty, so it’s a great resolution: look and feel prettier!

So, my New Year’s Resolution this year is for better health. But, rather than try to keep myself to a “I need to exercise more and lose a few pounds” kind of resolution, my better health resolution is to focus on my mental and spiritual health.

In order to keep my resolution, I will actively seek new inspiration from multiple sources, I will practice meditation, I will move my body every day (from yoga, going for a walk, stretching to running, rock climbing and kick boxing), and I will practice de-stressing techniques (what I’ve already mentioned are all de-stressing techniques, but I’ll actively search out more).

It’s so important to take care of not just our bodies, but our minds as well! We as teachers must be in one of the most stress-inducing professions on the planet! We’re constantly taking care of others before ourselves and giving, giving, giving until we haven’t got anything left to give. Taking care of our mental health, our mental attitude, is so important for our overall health!

I recently read an article that tells even more about the benefits of taking care of our attitudes:
“Being optimistic and focusing on mental wellness seems to reduce stress. … an upbeat attitude, or happiness, can help lessen the burden of chronic pain, say from arthritis, or even reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.”
Woah. Awesome!

The author of the article (Gina Roberts-Grey) also explains that the Mayo Clinic did a study where they followed a group of people for 30 years. “They found that those who were originally classified as “optimistic” on a standard personality test turned out to be 20 percent less likely to suffer an early death than those classified as ‘pessimistic.’ ”
So, I can live longer too?

Great!Fantastic! Staying upbeat is directly linked to longevity! The happier you are = the longer you’ll live. :)And, the best part? It’s EASY! Really!

There are so many little things that we can do to stay positive. Simple things:

-put a positive quote as your phone or computer background

-cuddle or play with with your pet

-move your body – go for a walk, stretch, practice yoga

-be aware of your breathing and practice breathing exercises

-doodle, draw or paint

And technology has helped make relaxing even easier!
If you have an iPod or iPhone, do a search for relaxation apps, there are tons to choose from!

If you have any relaxation techniques that I haven’t mentioned, please share them below in the comments area! Your ideas could help someone else live a happier, more peaceful life! 🙂


Here’s another link to the article I mentioned above; totally fascinating stuff!

Smile, People will wonder what you’re up to

Well, that’s not exactly what this post is about, but it IS about smiling!

I remember the first few months at my last school….

The school I worked at before this one had sucked the life out of me.
The town was in the middle of nowhere and was NOT a nice place for a single person to live. There was next to nothing to do and on my measly teacher’s salary, driving 2 hours round trip just to go to a movie didn’t seem like the smartest move in the world.

And on top of that…. I was constantly thinking, “Geez. Just because I WORK in a high school doesn’t mean the staff need to ACT like high schoolers!” The CLIQUES at this school were unbelievable. Eesh!
And then there was the head of my department. Who was volatile on the best of days. I was constantly tip-toeing around her hoping and praying that just asking a simple question wouldn’t set her off!

All of this (plus a few other things!) made the decision to search for a new job an easy decision.

And I landed in a school in a beautiful town on the North Shore of Lake Superior, just an hour from “home;” where I grew up! Fantastic!

My new students were fun, friendly and engaged in learning! I was shocked at how FRIENDLY everyone was! I was being invited to outings with other teachers, there were plenty of things to do in the area, plus it is a BEAUTIFUL area– voted the #1 place to live in Minnesota by Minnesota Monthly magazine! My students were always asking me to come and watch them play in their basketball, hockey, volleball games, choir concerts, band concerts, etc!!
I was SO HAPPY in my new job!!

I mentioned this one day to the Dean of Students. I told him that I couldn’t believe how NICE everyone was here. I told him that at my last school students don’t even look teachers in the eye when they’re walking down the hallway, and here, my goodness, the students were saying “Good morning!!” and… *gasp! SMILING at me!!

His response totally shocked me and made me really think. It was an “Ah ha!” moment!

He said, “Sarah, I don’t think it’s entirely THEM. I think it’s YOU too.” He said that it was definitely a combination of me FINALLY being happy with where I was teaching and that I was just exuding positive energy because I was SO content!

Oh my goodness. What an “Ah ha!” revelation!
He was right.
When we have a positive attitude, it can change EVERYTHING about our day.
Everything about our work environment.
And when we have a positive attitude, it’s catchy!
Think about it…

Let’s say that on a happiness scale of 1-100, you’re feeling at about 30.
And you get to work and you see one of your favorite colleagues. You smile. Immediately your happiness meter goes up to 50. You chit chat for a few minutes and it’s a good chat. You’re now at 60.
YOU’RE smiling now!
You smile at the next person you see and you say a cheerful “Good morning!”
You are at 65 now, and THEY are a bit higher on the happiness scale too!

You walk into the office and say “Good morning!” to the office staff, who smile back at you, and give you a greeting in return. Your happiness meter just nudged up a bit. You’re at 70.

On the way to your classroom, you smile and greet students as you juggle your coffee and correcting from last night. A student offers to hold your coffee and books for you as you unlock your door.

You get in the room, your safe haven, you’are already at 90.
You open your email and some goof on your email list has emailed a silly picture to you that makes you laugh out loud!

Wow. Look at that, students are filing into class and you’re ready to start for the day!
You say “Buenos Dias Clase!!” and they say “Buenos Dias!!” back!

A perfect 100.
It’s so easy to be happy! 🙂

It just starts with a smile.

Cyber Monday Oh oh oh, That’s my Fun Day oh oh oh oh oh

I can’t get The Bangles “Manic Monday” out of my head!
Only I’ve replaced some of the words!
“Cyber Monday, oh oh oh, That’s my Fun Day oh oh oh oh oh!”

I’m so excited for Cyber Monday!
20% off everything in my store
+ another 10% off from TpT!


Please visit my store! 😀


Fast Finishers Packet FREE TODAY! :D

Hey ya’ll!!

I just created my very first FAST FINISHERS Packet! Woohoooo!

I’m offering it for FREE today for Black Friday!

I would really appreciate your positive feedback!


How to celebrate Thanksgiving in a foreign country?

My fiance and I have been searching through recipes today so that we can create a Thanksgiving Feast (for 2!)!

Any suggestions on how to make Thanksgiving feel like “Thanksgiving” when you’re in a foreign country for the holiday?

Oh the places you’ll go!

My goodness how time flies!
There is absolutely no way a year and a half ago I could have imagined moving to the Netherlands!
I mean, WHO moves to Holland, right?? 😀

I’ve been to many places I couldn’t have imagined visiting….
And I feel so blessed to have these opportunities. And I feel so blessed that my passion for teaching has comingled with my passion for travel and history and has brought me here to Europe.

And you?
Life takes us on twists and turns with exciting things around the corner that we couldn’t imagine until they are on upon us.

What are some of the exciting spirals that life has taken you on?

Home again, home again, Jiggedy Jig

What’s YOUR favorite place in Spain? Where would YOU like to visit next?

My fiance and I just returned from a mini-vacation in Spain!
How lucky am I?? Yes, SO lucky and counting my blessings!

Since moving to Europe this past Spring, I’ve been to Spain 4 times! Wow. Seriously, wow. I am a lucky, lucky duck. And a lucky, lucky Spanish teacher! Being immersed in the culture of the content area I teach! Fantastic!

I took a ton of pictures and am getting ready to make some new PowerPoint presentations about Spain! 🙂

We visited El Valle de Los Caidos (have you been there??),
Ronda, and

My favorite things we did:

A Tour Nocturna of Toledo!
SO interesting! We were led in a small group by a scientist who has been studying the paranormal history of Toledo!
Fun fact: Toledo is the only known city in the world that has had a LAW written about haunted houses! A law was created stating that if a hose was sold and the new occupants claimed the house was haunted the sale would be void and go back to the hands of the original owners!

Touring the Roman remains at Merida!
Diana is my favorite goddess (also known as Artemis) and there is a Temple of Diana right in the middle of the city!
Another fun fact: The Temple throughout time has also housed a synagogue and Catholic church! On our Tour Nocturna we were told that sacred spaces are often taken over by each new culture that comes in.

Fantastic food, sights and company.
I would really like to plan a labyrinth tour of northern Spain in the coming future. When I was looking for labyrinths to visit on this vacation I noticed that the most labyrinths that were listed were in the northern parts of Spain, which isn’t all that surprising– that is where the biggest pagan and Celtic populations lived over time.

What’s YOUR favorite place in Spain? Where would YOU like to visit next?

10 Ways to Have a Happier Life

While reading this article today, “10 Ways to Have a Happier Life,” by Dr. Andrew Weil, I felt some inspiration!

A few of the top things on his list are exercise, Vitamin D and breathing exercises. Fantastic!

But then I thought, What would TEACHERS say are the “Top 10 Ways to Have a Happy Teaching Day?” What would be on YOUR list?

Some of the things on my list:
-an organized classroom
-a break in the morning
-an engaging lesson
-enthusiastic learners

That’s the start of my list!
What would you add??