|My own childhood church's perspective from recent visit|
I, Debbie, Rainbows gal will be writing/speaking to you in purple. My questions to our guest will therefore be in purple...... [so this is still me/Debbie/Rainbow in these first intro paragraphs.]
It is no secret here that I am the daughter of a retired pastor. I grew up as a "PK" yup that stands for pastor's kid. I have written here before of being 'as poor as a church mouse.' I grew up attending Sunday School, VBS (Vacation Bible School) church camp and sang in church choirs as long as I can remember. Most recently I told here about returning to the little village of my childhood and seeing those stained glass windows pictured above from an adult perspective. My very foundation is one of 'FAITH' which is my bed-rock.
I have also not kept any secrets here about my trials with Breast Cancer, those two early stage diagnosis, my surgeries, treatments, complications, infections and the aftermath of Lymphedema and its impact on my life. My blog and my life are all woven together here: creativity, challenges, faith and inspiration. For this installment we are going to take a more specific look at the role of faith and being an educator and how one can inform the other. I am so honored to have the opportunity to introduce you to Angela Watson and familiarize you with her latest work.
Angela Watson of TheCornerstoneForTeachers.com was a classroom teacher for eleven years, and currently works as an instructional coach and educational consultant based in New York City.
Angela, please tell my readers about your newest work..........
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts here, Debbie! I'll be honest: I found teaching to be an extremely draining profession early in my career. I remember shutting myself in the teacher's bathroom on my very first day of school and crying because I was so frustrated that things weren't going as smoothly as I'd hoped. Over the years, I learned to accept progress and growth in my students and in myself, and let go of some of my unrealistic expectations. I learned to stop focusing on how things "should be" and what was "supposed to" happen and instead accept and enjoy the present moment. And because so many teachers grapple with those same issues, I wanted to write about my journey and share some ideas for dealing with those negative ways of thinking that drag us down and steal out joy. That's how Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching was born. I wrote Awakened for all teachers--those of every faith, and those who don't see faith as something they need in their lives. I think there are some basic stress management principles that every single one of us can use for developing a healthy, positive, and reliant mindset. It was always my intention to write a book after Awakened specifically for Christian teachers, and that's the role that The Awakened Devotional Guide for Christian Educators is designed to play. The devotional guide is essentially a Bible study and a look at the scriptural truths behind the concepts in Awakened.
Much of my adventure thru life has been in the Arts and the world of creativity, sharing my ideas and insight. Please share with readers, Angela, how your faith has anchored your own creativity in the midst of 'hard times.' It's difficult for me to be creative or to produce anything of value when I'm in conflict with other people. If I'm carrying any kind of bitterness or resentment, I find that those thoughts surface during the creative process, and the grudge forms a barrier between me and the ideas I want to communicate. I have to really focus on being at peace with others, as much as it depends on me, and not hold on to problems or rehearse and replay them in my mind. I also have to continually remind myself to see the big picture so that I don't let hard times overwhelm me. No matter what stress I'm experiencing, I have to trust that everything is going to work together for good. It's kind of like baking a cake: no one wants a raw egg by itself, or a cup of salt, or a stick of butter. But each of those individual elements work together to create something amazing. It's hard to find the good in our problems at times, but my faith empowers me to believe that I CAN handle everything that comes my way, and in the end, I'm going to be a stronger person because of the trials I've been through.
Angela, how do you see the creative process, a personal life of faith, the role of educators and the stress of 'real life' as inter-woven? I've never been very good at compartmentalizing my life: all of those roles are very much connected in my life. I know that some people think it's better to keep faith or religion to yourself and not let other people know about it. For me, that's not possible. I couldn't do what I'm doing right now without God. The love I have experienced from Him has equipped me to love my students. The strength He's given has enabled me to maintain my peace during extremely difficult situations. My faith is the driving force behind everything I accomplish; everything I do creatively and as an educator is working toward an ultimate purpose of bringing honor and glory to God. We're His creation, and He loves us more than we could ever understand. I want to point as many people as possible toward this truth that I've experienced, because it's life-changing. Profoundly and utterly life-changing.
What challenges to your own faith have you encountered, Angela? Any in your role of educator? Have you ever had situations where you have felt your faith unwelcome/questioned in the school setting? In Awakened, I talk about a principal I once had who found out about my website, saw the information I have for Christian teachers, and then did everything in his power to get me to leave the school. I wrote about that situation in the chapter on forgiveness, because I learned a lot during my time with him about not giving one person the power to determine if I have a good day or a bad one, and I learned how to change my attitude instead of my circumstances. That was an exceptional situation, though. In general, I have found that others I've worked with have been very supportive of my faith. I have done my best to "walk the talk" and live a life that is consistent with what I believe: I try to encourage the people around me and treat them with love, kindness, and compassion. There has to be a level of humility and deep honesty with people or else faith can come across as self-righteousness. I don't preach at anyone, I don't get caught up in politics and the issues that divide us: I focus on meeting people's needs and making their lives better. Usually, people are drawn to that kind of positive energy, and they want to know more about the peace and contentment I've found. I'm happy to talk about it with anyone who asks, but I think the best testament to the power of faith in God is simply living it.
***Back to me, Debbie...... Readers. I'm thrilled to announce that Angela has offered to give away a signed copy of either of her books to one of our fortunate readers here at Rainbows Within Reach! Here's how the contest works: you have one full week to enter by responding with a comment in the comment section below. Next Wed. evening I will choose a winner using a random number generator and will announce the winner here by adding that fortunate person's name to the bottom of this post. The winner may make their choice of either 'physical-print book' OR you may have BOTH books for your eReader (ePUB or MOBI for Kindle).
In your comment-entry you may choose: to share a glimmer of how you deal with stress in your life. How your faith enters into supporting you during times of stress. How your teaching style is effected by your faith. How creativity supports you during times of stress. Or you are welcome to share your favorite stress-reducing technique for day-to-day triggers. -- In other words for your comment-to-enter, just give us a brief nugget of what works for you along the stress, faith and creativity continuum. It goes without saying that we will all be respectful of everyone's responses. ****PLEASE leave your email in your comment so that I can let you know that you've won and that we can get you your choice of prizes.
|"Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching"|
Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching provides simple steps to help you feel peaceful and energized no matter what’s happening around you. Drawing upon principles of stress management, cognitive behavioral therapy, spiritual truths, and personal experiences, Awakened helps you develop thought habits that produce an unshakeable sense of contentment, motivation, and purpose. Learn how to renew your mind and take a fresh approach to the challenges of teaching!
|The Awakened Devotional Study Guide for Christian Educators|
Note from the editor: Here's the lucky winner. Oh-so-fortunate #4. Jim Carlson. I'll send an email!