alexandracarlson88@gmail.com'

About Alexandra Carlson

I'm a proud Kansas City '12 corps member hailing from West Hartford, CT. I'm teaching in a 2nd-4th grade Self-Contained Autism Spectrum Disorders classroom and am a fashion fanatic, a lover of all things French, and a 2010 graduate of Dickinson College. I'm chronicling my life outside of teaching in Missouri on my blog www.glaminmo.wordpress.com.

Straight Fs: Surviving your first week teaching

Start Line

(Photo credit: jayneandd)

There were many things I wish I had done during my first week of school instead of skipping lunch and not taking any personal time for myself. While I don’t regret being so dedicated during that first week, getting through the first week of school is definitely a trial (and a lot different than the Institute experience). However, it is also completely possible to excel through the whole week and set yourself up for a year filled with success!

Good mental health can make the difference between a great week and a horrible week and by following the 4 F’s, you can flourish through the week!

It Takes A Village: Creating Community At Institute

Buddy System

(Photo credit: Eric Spiegel)

As stressful as Institute can be, there is no point in going through it alone; in fact, I feel that the relationships I made were the light in my day that got me through those difficult moments. By forming relationships with these wonderful people, I was able to go back to Kansas City with awesome roommates and a core group of friends and colleagues who were going through this first year teaching with me!

I couldn’t have made it through my first year without my community.

Here’s how you can start to make yours:

Run The World: Four ways to be a better advocate for yourself, your students

수퍼볼 하프타임 공연을 한 비욘세. "한푼도 받지 않았다고":ht...

Sometimes you need to find your inner diva to advocate for yourself and your students. (Photo credit: 만박)

Before I started teaching, I rarely had to ask for help. I worked hard and researched answers when I came across a challenge, but never in my life have I even felt quite like I was drowning and didn’t even begin to know where to turn. I dislike asking for help and would much rather pretend like everything is okay and try to deal with the difficulties on my own, trying not to burden others with the issues I was having in my classroom and my inability to deal with them. However, instead of successfully taking these problems on, I felt very small, like I was on my own island.

A favorite quote by Marianne Williamson recently started to change my thinking: 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

How could I be an advocate for my kids if I couldn’t even be an advocate for myself? In my frantic phone calls with my mom, she reminded me that even airlines remind you to secure your own oxygen mask before your children’s. I needed to learn how to secure myself before I was able to provide the same for my students.

Here are some tips to help you advocate for yourself so you’re better prepared to advocate for your students: