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Your Biggest Teacher Questions Answered (Ask A Coach #1) [episode 13]

ask-a-coach

Click below to hear your biggest teacher questions answered (ask a coach):

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When we’re struggling as a teacher, we often feel like we’re the only one with that particular problem or situation. But in reality, that’s not the case at all. Here in my Wife Teacher Mommy Club, there’s a category called Ask a Coach, in which any member can post a question and we have someone who will answer your individual question, which is such a great feature! So on today’s episode, I’m sharing some of the biggest teacher questions and answers from the club!

What is Ask a Coach, you might wonder? It’s where our members of the Wife Teacher Mommy Club can submit any question about something they’re struggling with as teachers, and a trained professional will answer their specific question individually. That person is our very own Chrissy Nichols. Chrissy is a friend of the podcast and club, and a life coach who is trained to specifically help look inside your mind at how your thoughts and circumstances are affecting your life, and helps provide mindset shifts to get you through your situations.

Even though these questions and struggles shared on today’s episode might not be exactly what you’re going through as a teacher, I hope you can apply these questions to your own life and situations. The questions shared throughout this episode vary from classroom management, content struggles with students, teacher burnout, life as a homeschool mom, and so many more. 

This is an insightful episode that gives you a peek into our Ask a Coach feature in my Wife Teacher Mommy Club by showcasing some of your biggest teacher questions answered. Sometimes as teachers, we need to be reminded that we’re not alone in our thoughts and struggles, but that everyone else is going through something similar.

In this episode on biggest teacher questions answered (ask a coach), I discuss:

  • A detailed description of “Ask a Coach” within Wife Teacher Mommy Club, and how you can utilize it
  • A different way for you to think about your current situation: a mindset shift
  • Different teacher scenarios or feelings for you to relate to

Resources mentioned:

Related episodes and blog posts:

Connect with Kelsey:

Read the transcript for episode 13, Your Biggest Teacher Questions Answered (Ask A Coach #1):

Today is going to be a really fun and hopefully very insightful episode, I’m going to be sharing some real questions that have been submitted into Ask a Coach inside Wife Teacher Mommy Club, along with the answers given by our coach Chrissy Nichols. But first you may be wondering what is Ask a Coach.? So I want to explain a little bit more about what this is. So essentially, if you aren’t aware, we have a life coach in Wife Teacher Commy Club. Chrissy, she is amazing, she’s from the Chrissy Concept, she does coaching calls with our members every month, she does three calls. And then we also have a page called Ask a Coach. And that is where members can submit any questions that they have any time about their teacher struggles big or small, and Chrissy will respond every Sunday or Monday with answers to these questions. And she is a life coach, which means that she is specifically trained in how to help you look inside your mind at how your thoughts and your circumstances are affecting your life. And how you can make some mindset shifts that will help you through these struggles and to be able to kind of get through them and get unstuck. So I really love coaching, and it’s helped me so much in my life. So if you are already a member of Wife Teacher Mommy Club, when you log into your club dashboard, click on the section that says Ask a Coach. And that is where you will see all of these questions that I will be reading out today. There are a lot more there than the ones I picked for today. So basically, when a member submits a question, they get to give it a short little one liner title, and then write as much or as little as they’d like about their problem in the box below. And members can submit as many questions as they want. There’s no limit. And as you’ll hear in some of these answers, Chrissy will even encourage you to come back. The great thing about this is the answers are then published for everyone to read. And it’s completely anonymous, but you can read through and find your answers. But then you can also read other members questions and answers and even search for previous questions and answers to see responses to similar questions that you might have is a great way to get instant feedback. And I am in another coaching membership that has an Ask a Coach feature, which costs quite a bit more than my Wife Teacher Mommy club. But I’ve been in that for over two years now. And I can’t tell you how much I have learned from just reading and listening to other people’s Coaching Questions and Answers. The coaching mantra seems to be that the coaching isn’t just for one person, but it’s everyone’s coaching. And I love that. And I totally agree with that philosophy. And that is why I wanted to make some coaching available to everyone on the podcast today club member or not right here. So I hand picked a few of the questions that have been submitted. And I will be reading the questions and the answers so you can get a taste of what this coaching really is. And if you’re a member, hopefully this will give you an idea of the types of questions that you can submit. So you can take advantage of the Ask a Coach program to really get your money’s worth with the club.

So what I want you to think about as you listen to each of these questions, is how you can apply the answers that are given here to your own lives, like the situation of the question won’t be exactly the same as what you are going through. But the chances are, it will somehow apply to you. You can be like, Oh, I do that too. And I realize this all the time as I’m either reading questions in the Ask Coach or listening to coaching calls, you can learn so much. So that’s really my challenge to you today is as you listen to this, find how you can apply it to your own life. And reminder that these are completely anonymous. So I am not sharing publicly what other people’s problems are. And nobody will know who these are for me reading these. So just want to remind you that if you do submit a question, it always will remain completely anonymous.

Okay, so the first question is called, What am I doing wrong? I have a student no matter what I do, he just isn’t getting the content I’m trying to teach. I’ve only been teaching for a couple of years, but I’ve never had this problem before. What am I doing wrong? How do I help him end question Okay, and Chrissy’s answer, quote.

What if you were doing everything exactly right. I believe that the very reason you’re writing this Question shows that you are doing it right, and that there is nothing wrong with you. Good teachers are the ones who ask questions about their own teaching practices. So let’s celebrate that. Let’s celebrate you. Next, take a look at the thought. I’ve only been teaching for a couple of years. Why must one the years of experience to be a good teacher? I’ve seen teachers succeed in the first three months of the year where their 20 year veteran teachers colleagues did not. Time teaching is just that time, question that thought. And just because you’re new in a new situation with a student, your brain wants to make it seem like a problem. It’s not to help your student, you need to first become aware of everything in your brain about this situation. Write it all down, get very clear about the emotions this situation is creating for you and get specific with what you have done. What have you tried? What haven’t you tried? I bet that just seeing this list will give you an AHA of something else left a try, attempt or a new idea. Next, make a list of all the ways you are winning with the student. If you are trying to reach him, Can you feel good about the added attention you are giving the student right? Even if your student is struggling with the content? Can you feel good about the sense of trust you were creating with him? From this place of creative thinking, who might you ask for to help you? Many schools have instructional coaches that are trained for this very situation? Can you ask them? And if you don’t have someone that can an instructional coach at your school? Could you ask her division head trusted friend, mentor, even the principal, sometimes parents can also be powerful allies, even the student himself? And finally, I know I am repeating wisdom of Carol Dweck and her growth mindset. But how can you harness the power of yet in this situation? For example, you can think he isn’t getting the content yet. Or I haven’t found a way to teach this concept to him yet. Notice how one word can shift everything unquote, from Chrissy.

The next question is from too tired to teach. And I’m going to quote the question. “I feel listless and tired all the time at work. No matter how much coffee or coke that I drink. I simply can’t get enough rest and I can’t fight this laziness. I tell myself get out the door get to work. But that doesn’t seem to work either. I’ve used all my days off and we have no sub anyway, thinking about going to the doctor, but how can you help with this level of fatigue?” Answer from Chrissy. Quote, “notice how you were speaking to yourself here. When you say I can’t fight this laziness as you try to beat yourself up out the door. Teacher friends, breakdowns never work. Self pressure and self judgment aka beating ourselves up never works. In fact, it’s the very opposite that is more effective for change, self compassion, curiosity and gentle wonder that works better and faster. Let’s look at the facts here. What time are you going to bed? Are you consuming a lot of Netflix or news before bed? If so, you might want to take a look at what that is doing for your sleeping patterns. Just get curious here. Also, would it be okay to get more rest? Look at your thoughts here I used on my days off or we have no subs anyway, is that true? Might there be another way to think about restful moments at school even in the classroom? What might it look like to partner with another teacher for the day? I know that if I need a moment of meditation or silent drawing my students do too. There are so many free resources out there for a motive moment and meditation in our classrooms. We just need to look at our thoughts to see how to create these moments of rest. Even if we don’t have whole days to stay at home. Your mind is creative and abundant but it does need downtime, especially now. What sentence in your brain can you use to create more of that rest for yourself? You might try. I create time and rest of my day. I am present and that feels like rest.” unquote from Chrissy.

Our next question is from stressed out as a homeschool mom. Quote. “I’m a homeschool mom, not a teacher. So I hope this is okay. I am feeling stressed as a homeschool mom. I have three kids that I’m currently teaching kindergarten second and fifth. And I’m also pregnant and it’s a lot. Plus I have a little Etsy shop making hair bows that I do on the side to help us make some extra money. Most of it just goes back in homeschooling since I don’t make a lot. I feel like something has to give maybe the Etsy shop, but the extra money is nice for homeschooling supplies. But I need my sanity too. What do you think I should do? End quote, answer from Chrissy. “First off, we love our homeschool moms. I believe that a teacher is anyone who has ever taught anything to anyone so moms are welcome. This is your space. This is exactly the right question ask you are welcome here anytime. The first thing is to notice your thoughts around everything going on in your life. The way I love to do that is by doing a thought download. Sometimes writing down everything my brain is telling me is enough awareness to see what thoughts are creating as emotions with my body. From that feeling we can see what we are doing and or what we’re not doing our actions to do a thought download, set a timer for eight minutes and just write don’t pick up your pen off the page. Try to get a page of writing in I sense that your anxiety here and even the need to look outside yourself as in what should I do is coming from a place of overwhelm simply because you have activities and thoughts about your activities. What if you knew exactly what to do? Awareness not judgment is the key to your intuition. You are uniquely positioned to be pregnant, homeschool your kids and run a business you get to choose again. Look at your thought download. There’s nothing wrong with you and nothing has gone wrong. What do you want to choose to do with that Etsy shop? How do you want to spend your time with your kids and homeschool? You get to decide, come back and tell us what you’ve decided.”

The next question is from teaching and photography: am I being selfish. “I love being a teacher, and I never want to stop being a teacher. Kinders are my love, but I’m feeling an itch to do something else too. I love photography, and I would love to start doing photography on the side. But I don’t know if this is a good idea. My kids are getting older, sure, but I also know that they need me as teens, there are a lot of things you go through and they need their mom too even though they aren’t little anymore. So I’m spending evenings and weekends doing photography on top of teaching all day. I feel like they won’t be getting as much me is this selfish of me to want to do photography and be a kindergarten teacher? So I’ll be working a lot?” Answer from Chrissy. “You love teaching and you love photography? What is the problem here for your brain? The problem, of course, is when we apply all or nothing thinking to our lives instead of opening up room for and and thinking what you think about after your dream of doing photography on the side, you have a thought that your kids might feel like they won’t get much of me. Remember if that’s just a thought it’s not the truth. How could the opposite be true? Again, do you see how you use the word selfish here? I believe that when we connect to what truly lights us up for you, it’s photos, it’s actually an act of service for the world because it makes you self full. Let’s get playful here. If doing photography lights you up, couldn’t you also think the thought photography fills my cup and gives me so much energy? I will give so much more to my own kids. I mean, couldn’t this be an and and and situation my friend, you could think photography lights me up, gives me more energy for both my kindred class and my own children. In fact, connecting to myself through photography gives me energy for everything in my life. That dear friend is self full.” And I just have to say how much I love that.

Okay, next question is called T Shirt Team member quit,. “One of the teachers in my grade level team quit, it was a huge surprise because we are really close. And she never even told me she was going to do this. I find myself hurt, but also judging her because how could she leave in the middle of the school year, there were only a couple of months left. And now it’s making it harder on our team. We don’t know when her class may need to be split. Already did it once on a day they couldn’t find the sub. There’s no long term sub yet. Hopefully they’ll get one soon. But I’m just feeling really stressed and hurt and frustrated. And I still can’t believe she would do this. What would you do in this situation?” Answer from Chrissy. “Having a teacher or anyone choose to leave unexpectedly can be jarring, surprising can bring up the hurt, especially as you say that we were close an unexpected event also brings up all sorts of questions like why did he or she leave? Why did they do this in the middle of the year? Will this create more work for all of us? After the questions comes the judgment. Remember, your brain is a meaning making super computer that thrives on questions and also loves to protect us. You’re more aware of your emotions than you know, you say that you feel hurt, stressed and frustrated. The fact that you see this is excellent because it gives you all the power back so you don’t have to feel like a victim to your friends leaving. Step one is to feel everything. Take a quiet moment to write about it, cry, process the hurt frustration and stress. To do this get very specific by asking yourself, Where do I feel stress in my body? Is it in my throat, my chest, my stomach, focus on the emotion and ask if it has any message for you. Then move on to the frustration surprise and hurt. Spend at least 10 minutes processing these emotions. The more you can recognize them, the faster you will grow and feel in your power around this situation. Step two is to ask yourself, How do you want to feel about this situation? Remember, you get to choose any thought you’d like about your colleague leaving? Is there a different way you could think about his her leaving my curiosity and inquiry? How could this bad thing turn out to be the very best thing for your grade level? Try this start a list finishing this sentence starter. This is actually a positive because now we’ll be able to slash I’ll be able to blank. And the reason this is good for me is because I blank? What might be possible here. Well, you learn a different way of grouping your own class together. Will you become even closer to your current colleagues as you grow together through all of this? Could the end of the year be even easier now because your colleague has left? Come back here and ask coach with all those answers. Let’s see what you come up with. And let me coach you on anything else your brain creates? Thoughts are simply sentences in your brain. You can change those sentences at any time.”

Wow, these questions are so good so far, aren’t they? I hope you’re able to take what you hear from these questions and see how they apply to your own life. After the break. I’ll be sharing a few more of these so don’t go anywhere.

Okay, this next question is called teacher burnout. “This year has been a struggle for me for a few reasons have a difficult class. Parental disagreements are spilling over into student interactions than I feel like I’m not teaching to my full potential due to just being exhausted. How can I get myself over this hurdle and finish out the year strong?” Answer from Chrissy. “Thank you so much for bringing burnout to ask a coach or a reminder before we dive in is that if you have any follow up questions after this coaching, please return come back and dive even deeper with new thoughts and questions. For now, especially for teachers who give and give and forget themselves is real. As a coach and teacher I feel my own fatigue writing this to you. So the first part of this coaching is to feel what your body is telling you. If you need to take a day at home, please do that. I used to think the building would fall down if I wasn’t there. But guess what, no one even noticed. Take a day sleep, rest restore. But we have no subs or I couldn’t possibly. Those are simply sentences in your mind. If taking a day off and asking colleagues to fill in for you as you would for them helps right now, please listen to your body. But underneath the burnout, that our thoughts beliefs and our attitude. We often think that burnout comes from working too long or too hard. But that’s simply not true. Think back to your time when you were engaged in your work so interested and passionate about it, that you felt like you could work all night. Burnout was caused by scarcity in our minds ineffective planning, LOL or no planning and stressful thinking? Look at the first thought you say you have a difficult class, I get it. I used to say that too. And so I could feel the support of colleagues who would quickly agree with me as in Yep, those kids are difficult. Students are just students. But if you simply tell yourself I am uniquely qualified to have this class or even I have the class that I have. That could change everything right there to question the thought about having a difficult class, you say you are not teaching to your full potential? Can’t you see how that already creates scarcity for you? Remember, a belief is simply a thought that we think over and over? How does it feel to think that thought open or closed? When we are not working to our full potential we feel less than or not enough. And in turn that feels awful. And our actions come in place of awful are not good enough, even as a teacher? Is there anything you could be thinking about this? Flip it around? Can you find evidence about who you are working to your full potential? Try this write down all the ways you are winning at work. Make that list include 20 ways you are succeeding, please include even the smallest celebrations like I looked into each student’s eyes or I cut fun body language and waved in the carpool line. Or I watch my thoughts around the idea that my class is difficult. As I said in the beginning, when you’re exhausted, please rest and take a day at home when you need it. But spend some time practicing the thought I’m tired. And it’s okay. Keep asking your brain to list all the ways you are winning and report back. Is there a thought that brings energy back into your body?”

The next question organization. “I struggle with organization in my home, I feel like we have toys everywhere. Any tips or suggestions to help make the idea of trying to sort through all of it easier without just throwing it all away when some of it is meaningful or valuable?” Answer from Chrissy. “Organization is a great topic, both at work and at home. Many organizational masters talk about the efficiency of being able to find anything at a moment’s notice. And that’s true. But as your coach the reason I love organization is because of how it makes you think about yourself. Organization can create thoughts like I am crushing it. And look how easy my life is. And I am so organized. I love the feeling of pride that organization brings into my own life. Here’s a model about when I think about organization. A circumstance is a space at home room or shoes. A thought about it is I am so organized. And then when I think that I feel proud, I’m from a place of proud this is how I show up to my stuff and organizing it. My actions are that I keep it organized because it makes me feel good. I take that few extra seconds to keep organizing it. I plan 15 minutes a day to organize one space even if I didn’t have time. This is part of my overflow that I’ll explain down below. I love how my organized spaces reflect my organized mind. I continue to keep thinking thoughts like I am so organized and that it spills over to other areas of my life. Your results are I stay organized in my mind and in my space. But back to your thoughts on organization. Notice how you said that you struggle with organization What if it isn’t a struggle? What are sorting through toys was just sorting through toys? And I also have more questions about the sorting. Do you have to sort through it all? Could you simply put it in one bin or box? Most of us who have kids think we need to keep the toys looking pristine like new with each accessory attached? What if we could change our view of toys? Try these thoughts. I don’t have to sort through my kids toys. At the end of each play session. I take five minutes with my kids to show them how to put them away. Toys are meant to be loved tossed around played with and roughed up. It’s okay if this or that part gets lost. Also, each day I plan for 20 minutes overflowing my day. I do this at the end of my work day reserving tasks for when I have no mental energy. And this is the time that I tackle one door at a time. One corner of the kitchen, one space in the living room, one basket of laundry to fold. I put on Kelsey’s podcast or fun music and just flow into tidying. When my brain tells me not to do it. I just tell it it’s only 20 minutes, 16 minutes, 12 minutes. We can do anything for 20 minutes, right? Try it and come back to ask a coach and tell us about it.”

Next question is called losing weight at school. “Well, I teach elementary and there seem to always be treats in the faculty room help. I’m trying to eat better like raisins and dried fruit but the scale is not budging and I am so frustrated. I want to keep my good weight loss habits at school. What do you suggest?” Answer from Chrissy. “First off congratulate your mind’s ability to see that you can lose weight anywhere at school in the classroom or at home. Weight loss is a choice one thought at a time. As for your questions about raisins, dried fruit, just remember that any concentrated food, like faculty room cupcakes will create a massive dopamine hit in your brain and a surge of pleasure. When you concentrate and refined food you concentrate on that response in your brain. Therefore raisins and dried fruit will only lead your brain to believe that they are much more important than they really are. They create an increase in the hormone flow of insulin. Refined and concentrated substances like flour and sugar should be avoided until you regulate your hormones and become fat adapted since eating a lot of refined food keeps Crellin sorry if I pronounced that wrong, the hormone but lets us know that we are hungry from working properly. A great place for you is to decide what kind of protocol you want to follow at home and at school and stick to it for two weeks. No flour, no sugar or a little bit of each to start. It’s up to you and you get to decide. For most teachers and weight loss, it will be helpful to balance their homeworks first, like leptin, ghrelin and insulin by taking flour and sugar completely out of their diet for two weeks. After that time. If you’d like to add dried fruit and raisins back into your protocol after you’ve become fat adapted, it’s up to you. You will know what works for your body, test it and see you can now decide that we’re in complete control. You can choose without each day just like you choose your lesson plan.”

The next question is called Balance? “Hi. So I just want my dossier to go from an AI license alternative to a level one license. I passed the dossier but was unaware that I would have six exams to take as well. How do I balance the responsibilities of teaching being a wife a mom to two kiddos while finding time to study and get those exams knocked out before summer? Also to add to the stress we are planning on moving states come summer so I will need to figure out how to transfer my license to another state. My brain is frazzled and having to take six exams is now making it more so.” Answer from Chrissy. “This is a great question. So thanks for bringing it up. Many of us no matter what setting you teach in private or public education needed to keep up with our licensing or accreditation to do it in the midst of our normal lives. Few. How do we do it. And as I hear you say you have some exciting summer plans on the horizon that include a move to another state. But notice the thought that it’s holding you back here is my brain is frazzled. Before we take a look at that thought, Let’s separate out the facts from the thoughts in this situation. I know your brain may not want to do the following exercise. But for all of us that have extra licensure school or an advanced degree to do MA or PhD to complete. This is a game changer. You may say that you have six exams to take. What I would like for you to do is take a piece of paper list out all the modules or classes or lessons that you need to do to complete each exam. I’m telling you just getting this out of your brain and onto a piece of paper is helpful. Next, once you see the list of tasks for each exam, prioritize what you need to do first, really get specific here your brain is offering the frazzled because it feels overwhelmed. But remember, you don’t need to do every single exam all at once. Okay, once you have decided what needs to happen first, give it a realistic amount of time to complete it. Be realistic here. If you need to study a piece of content for 30 minutes that is all you’re allowed to get up to the task. Next write out your week including appointments and pre scheduled obligations your teaching day, your time at family after school carpool reading and prepping. Can you see moments in your day where you could put in that 30 minute chunk, even tricking your brain to wake up just 15 minutes earlier and tackle that exam studying before your day begins will make you feel like a winner. That 15 minutes at a time strategy works because it tells you it shows your brain I am working towards completing my exams. And I am finding small but powerful moments in my day to fit this in. We all have more time than we think. My friend and colleague did her license are this way and she always says I got my teaching credential 15 minutes at a time. The thought that is not serving you here is the thought I am frazzled. What emotion? Is it creating more frazzle? Is there a time to pick one of the thoughts above that may feel neutral. Try this exercise and come back to ask a coach and tell us how it goes picking up a large pool like this into steps, assigning time to each step, and then calendaring these steps is the key.”

And wow, I feel like there is so much we can unpack from these answers from our life coach Chrissy Nichols from the Chrisy Concept. And if you don’t follow her on Instagram, make sure to go follow her, you can also check out her website and sign up for her teacher talk newsletter, and she has a new podcast and at the time of recording, I’m not sure what it’s called, but it will be out by the time this episode airs. So we will link to that in the show notes. I hope you were able to reflect on each of these questions and answers and apply them into your own life. If you weren’t in the club, I really hope that you take advantage of the coaching that we’ve added to this membership at no extra cost. Truthfully, most coaching programs alone cost more than the club does. And we’ve added it on top of our resources. So this was really an incredible opportunity for you to take advantage of this. We just love our club members so much. And we love just giving more and more and more. But if you aren’t a member yet, and you want to be able to ask your own questions, you can join us in Wife Teacher Mommy Club to submit your own questions like this into ask a coach anytime and get your own personalized answers. Just go to wifeteachermommy.com/club. And you can get access to ask a coach plus two to three live coaching calls every single month. We even have all of our coaching calls recorded onto a private podcast feed. So if you can’t get enough of episodes like this one, and the two interviews I’ve had with Chrissy on this podcast so far, there’s so much more where that came from on the members private podcast. And as I said before, it really is just such a steal of a deal. When you think about it, the value of the coaching and all of the time saving resources you get that would cost over $4,000 to purchase individually. It’s such a steal of a deal. And the coaching truly is priceless figuring out how to manage your mind and then the resources that help you save that valuable time. I promise you will love it if you join the Club.

And if you’re listening to this episode before June 28 2022, you can join us to Educate & Rejuvenate for just five bucks where Chrissy will be doing two live coaching calls in the event Facebook group. So if you’re not quite ready to join the club yet, you can still grab a ticket to get a taste of coaching. And I will link to that in the show notes as well. Thank you so much for tuning in today. I hope these questions left you feeling inspired and that you can figure out how to apply them to your life. I would really recommend giving this episode another listen so you can really digest all of those amazing nuggets that Chrissy gave to us. Thank you so much for tuning in. And I will see you next week.

More about Wife Teacher Mommy: The Podcast

Being an educator is beyond a full-time job. Whether you’re a teacher or a homeschool parent, the everyday to-do list is endless. Between lesson planning, grading, meetings, and actually teaching, it probably feels impossible to show up for your students without dropping the ball in other areas of your life.

Wife Teacher Mommy: The Podcast is the show that will bring you the teacher tips, practical strategies, and inspiration that you need to relieve the stress and overwhelm of your day-to-day. Your host, Kelsey Sorenson, is a former teacher and substitute turned homeschool mom. Tune in weekly to hear Kelsey and her guests cheer you on and help you thrive as a wife, teacher, and mommy. Because with a little support and community, you can do it all. For access to every single Wife Teacher Mommy resource, join the club at www.wifeteachermommy.com/club.

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