Positive Outlooks on 2020

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2020 has definitely been a year like none of us have imagined. There have definitely been many moments of sadness, anger, and frustration as it’s been an emotional roller coaster. People have adjusted their plans and quarantined for many months. I understand why people are frustrated with the year and looking forward to a fresh start in 2021. But let’s pause and find some good from the past 9+ months. It is personally frustrating when I hear many others say this was the worst year ever as it’s the year I became a mom. I know they ‘re not attacking me, but when people say, nothing good happened this year it hurts because my daughter is a shining light and definitely a good thing to come from 2020.

Yes, I was not expecting to have a baby during a pandemic when we found out we were pregnant August 2019. There are many moments where I wish things had been different. No one visited after she was born, she has still not met all her aunts and uncles in addition to extended families, we can’t do indoor playdates or baby classes. She knows the world through the screens of Zoom and FaceTime. I can only cross my fingers that we can safely celebrate her first birthday with family and friends.

Yet it still hurts when people say this was the worst year ever because this year brought me new joy and purpose. I know that’s not the case for everyone. I know there may be more frustrating, negative moments overall than positive moments. But for everyone, something positive must have happened.

Maybe you reconnected with family and friends. At the beginning of the pandemic, we played virtual games with family and scheduled a Zoom call with college friends; that Zoom call has now become a weekly event, and people attend when they can. Maybe you appreciated sleeping in and not having to commute. Maybe you started working out-my virtual yoga classes have been enjoyable (again, nice not having to commute with a baby!) and been walking a lot outside. Maybe you started cooking/baking more (definitely went on a cookie binge!) or found a new hobby (working on all the Lego sets we’ve bought over the past years).

No, this year has not been easy, and I also have gone through a wave of emotions. Yes, there are things I grieve and stress and worry about and wish were normal. But there have been positives in terms of self-discovery, connectedness, self care, and family time. Let’s focus on those instead of all the negative and frustrating ones.

Happy New Year and a toast to a brighter 2021 together.

Intentions for the New Year

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With it being the New Year, everyone is taking the time to reflect and create new resolutions. I’ve seen lots of One Word posts or 19 for 2019 lists. While these may work for some people, I’m not sure they’re perfect for me. Maybe it’s because I constantly have to-do lists of small goals or tasks I would like to complete. Maybe it’s the yogi in me who likes to think in the form of intentions, short mantras that speak to me in the moment. They’re like One Word or phrases, but they could potentially change or evolve over the year. Here’s a blog post about using intentions vs. resolutions. It describes how an intention is in the form of a commitment rather than a resolution, which focuses on big or small changes.

Throughout the past few months, with changes personally and professionally, I did a lot of reflecting in general. How do I want to act and be seen in a new school environment? How can I learn what I need to in order to be the best teacher I can? How can I best use my free time? How can I best balance my personal and professional responsibilities?

Over the New Year, I saw this quote posted on Instagram:


This is what I’m going to follow each day of 2019. What do I want my story to be? I’m the author, and I’m in control of my story. If I don’t like where it’s headed, I can veer off course. If one chapter ends poorly, a new one will begin.

Here’s to a great 2019. Happy New Year everyone!

New Year’s Resolutions in the Classroom

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Coming back to school from Winter Break was a bit adventurous since we had an extra two days off due to extremely cold temperatures.  We decided to start the New Year off on the right foot and have the students write resolutions.  Not only are resolutions important for students to think about, but this also gave them the chance to write complete sentences using details.

First we read Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution and a New Year’s poem to discuss what is a resolution and brainstorm some ideas.  Resolutions are a hard concept to understand, and we emphasized that they are something you want to do better, not something you do already.

Then, students were given 4 Post-it notes to write 4 resolutions.  I helped some students brainstorm ideas if they were having trouble; knowing about the students academically and their personal interests helped me think of ideas that targeted their needs.  When they finished, we edited the resolutions for grammar and spelling, so students could neatly rewrite and create their final product.  They loved adding glitter as a finishing touch!

The students did a great job creating resolutions.  Some were school-related: I resolve to read chapter books better, I promise to turn in my homework, I want to always try my best.  Others were related to home: I want to eat healthy food, I resolve to clean my room, I promise to help my mom and dad.  I was proud of the students’ work, and we have a great bulletin board to start off the year.  Hopefully the students will be reminded and encouraged to work on their resolutions the rest of the school year!

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New Year’s Resolutions

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I’ve always felt lucky being Jewish living in the United States because I have two New Years.  At Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in the fall, I make a few resolutions for things I want to personally focus on for the following year.  It is a great time to reflect on what is going well in my life, what things I want to change, and what things are getting better but I still want to work on.  There is a designated period of 10 days between the High Holidays to repent and reflect, so I can think how the past year went and what changes I want to make for the following year.  I use this time to reflect on who I want to be as a person and how I will feel most proud of myself.

A few months later, I have the chance to reevaluate my resolutions on January 1st, my second New Year.  My goals may not drastically change, but it is a great opportunity to reflect how things are going, what progress I’ve made, and revise or update my goals if necessary.  The ultimate goal is to keep pushing forward as the best me, and my second New Year is a chance to celebrate the progress on my journey.

Every year, I set personal goals related to my health, exercise, and staying in contact with friends.  Throughout this past year, I’ve spent a lot of time internally reflecting on and figuring out who I am and how to be happy.  It has been an incredible journey of self discovery and something I want to continue.  Smile more.  Focus on the present and what I’m doing at that particular moment.  Make my own choices and have “Me” time to do things I enjoy.

One resolution I am making for this coming year is to show more gratitude and appreciation for the things I have.  Every morning, I should wake up and think of something I am looking forward to that day.  In the evening, I should think about one positive thing that happened during the day and five things I am grateful for.  I can be grateful for little things, such as having a supportive family or being able to enjoy fresh air and sunshine.  Recognizing everything I have and focusing on the positives will make me happier in the long run.  I know I will smile more and be someone people enjoy being around.

Now is the time to reflect, celebrate successes, and make new resolutions to be the best You you can be.  Wishing everyone a Sweet and Happy New Year!