Tag Archives: breakthrough

The Power of Waiting

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WaitToday teachers are feeling the push to cover more material faster.  More and more schools that I enter are using scripted education.  Districts are purchasing programs which require the teacher to follow an exact script.   In that way they feel like every student will have the same opportunity to learn valuable concepts.  No student will be penalized on the test because the material wasn’t covered in class.

In our race to raise test scores we seem to be sprinting all the time. Teachers tell me “I have to cover the material from pages 75-79 today.  I can’t get behind.  Every student in the grade level needs to be on the same page at the same time.”  No detours allowed.

But real life seems to be all about the detours. Or maybe that’s just my life. This rush…this cookie-cutter formulated approach to education makes me sad.  Why?  My years in the classroom have revealed to me that students learn best when we engage both their minds and their emotions.  If you have to cover pages 75-79, do you even have time for a great story from “real life” that illustrates the concept in a way that they will remember for the rest of their lives?

Sometimes slowing down is the only way to build better understanding.  Activities take more time than merely covering pages in a book or program.  Learning games and discussions that engage students and build comprehension can be time-consuming.  But they are worthwhile.   Do you know what a teacher does when he needs to cover ground quickly?  He calls on only the students with their hands up.  They are tempted to overlook the student who isn’t making eye contact.  We have to keep moving.

When we call on a student who looks confused, one who doesn’t have her hand up, we have to wait and let her think about her answer.  When I’m confused and people rush me I become more confused, don’t you?  When we have the courtesy to wait we are really saying, “I believe in you.  I know you can get this concept.  Your understanding is important.  You are worth my time.”  When a student is confused they need that extra beat.

Great teaching is about allowing the extra beat.  It is about engaging our students with a true story or a lively discussion.  It is about having time to notice when they are hurting about something personal.  Their pain and the timing of their understanding doesn’t always happen between pages 75 and 79.  No matter how great a script writer you are, it is often the detours that include the teachable moments.  A great teacher knows the power of watching and yes,  waiting for those breakthrough moments.

TEACH...To Change Lives

TEACH…To Change Lives

Available autographed or in large quantities from the author:  dauna@cinci.rr.com

Also available at Amazon.com

Contact Dauna Easley to speak to your group:  dauna@cinci.rr.com

Taking the Leap

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Making the LeapCan I Do It?

Sooner or later it happens to all of us.  We’re standing on one side of a ditch, or challenge, or life situation, and trying to imagine what it would be like to make the leap to the other side.  The chasm looks too wide.  The water looks too deep.  The distance is daunting when we get up close.  It was OK to dream about it, sure.  But dreaming and doing aren’t the same.  Doing is scary.  As we flex to make the jump everything inside of us is screaming, “NO!  You will fail.”

We may be dissatisfied with where we are in life, but the risk involved in change keeps us paralyzed.  We may feel frustrated, but we feel a little bit safe also.  This life is what I know!  What if I leave this job and fail in my next job?  I don’t like my current position, but it may be better to stay put than to move to a new organization and lose all my seniority.  This marriage isn’t satisfying but what if I never find anyone else to love?  What if no one else ever loves me?  I’d like to enter a writing contest, but what makes me think I could possibly win?  Rejection may hurt too much and I’ll stop writing altogether.

“I’m afraid of failure.  I’m afraid I’ll feel humiliated.  I’m afraid I can’t support myself or my family.” We say it all.   Blah, blah, de blah, blah, blah.

The Good News

Here’s the thing you never learn until you take the leap.  Standing between two choices is incredibly hard.  You are using double the energy it would take to commit to one.  Half of your psyche is committed to one outcome.  The other half of you is pleading with yourself to make the change.  That mental dichotomy is absolutely exhausting.  Everything in your life seems twice as hard and half as satisfying.  As soon as you make the leap, even if you completely wipe out, things get easier.  You can turn your entire focus toward making your new venture a success.   Your chances of succeeding in your new choice explode forward.  You find out you CAN do it after all.  It was only your doubt holding you back.

The Bad News

good news/ bad news

Most people are like this cow.

So who are you?

The cow or the surfer?

Only you can make the choice.

Breakthrough

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When Breakthrough Breaks Down

So what happens when you go public with three habits that have consistently beaten you for years?  I can answer that question.  In fact I’m an expert on the answer to that question.

First comes a surge of success shored up with determination and resolve.  BIG progress is made.  You are filled with pride and one burning question.  Why didn’t I do this sooner?  It is so easy once you simply commit yourself.  Why didn’t I make this public sooner?  I will inspire everyone.  I am Super Woman!  Watch me soar!  I will be a role model for the world.  Everyone will see that I can do this.  Then they will conquer all their bad habits and overcome all their fears.

It takes a few months for the backward spiral to begin to eat away at your best intentions. Then comes lots of  self recriminations followed by a pretty large dose of self loathing.  It is all wrapped untidily in doubt  and topped with a big bow of guilt.  You scramble to hang in there.  Your fingernails are ripping as you try hard to hang on.  This is no longer just a personal failure.  I HAVE FAILED THE ENTIRE WORLD.

Oh how I wish IHKMBMS.  I’m at that age when it is difficult to keep all the texting acronyms straight.  And let’s be honest, I just made that one up.  So in fairness I will let you in on what it stands for.  “Oh I  wish I had kept my big mouth shut.”  Perhaps now I will.  Maybe that is the big lesson in this whole venture.  Right now I doubt if I can even keep that resolution…the one about keeping my big mouth shut, I mean.  But I’m gonna try.  These days that is all I can promise.

Breakthrough: Change Something

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Change Something

After my public humiliation of admitting on my blog post that I had gained weight this month, I’ve been trying to think/act in a new way.  What is there to learn about weight, dieting, exercise, blah, blah, de-blah, blah, blah, that I don’t already know?

Almost nothing.  So sad, but true.  I admitted at the onset of this battle that I believe the lion’s share of my struggle is mental.  I know what to eat or not eat.  I know to exercise.  But I fall off the food wagon like a drunken pumpkin when it comes to staying the course for a long ride. BUT I have to just keep trying to beat this.  I refuse to throw in the towel and let it beat me again.

Swallowing Pride

So as I worked out this morning I stewed about it.  My local Curves owner, Mindy, is someone I admire for lots of reasons.  She is upbeat every morning.  The way she leads her Zumba class, I think she has some kind of an extra hinge in her mid section or something. Maybe her pelvic bone is double jointed. Is that possible?  Her gym shoes and socks always coordinate with her clothes.  (I work out in a black man’s t-shirt every day).

Those are all impressive qualities, but they aren’t the BIG reasons I admire her.  I heard from someone else (not her) that she has lost 100 pounds.  She has two sons in college so she isn’t a twenty-something-lost-weight-once-expert.  Even more a mystery to me, she lost this significant weight in stages.  She would lose 20 – 30 pounds and then maintain it for quite a while.  Then she would decide to tackle another 20.  It took her maybe a decade, but she did it a chunk at a time.  Maintaining is the big mystery word to me.  I can gain.  Wow, can I gain.  I can lose.  Honestly, I can lose.  I find it easier to eat nothing than to eat reasonably.

 But I am the original yo-yo mama when it comes to the scales.

 This morning I waited until she was alone and asked her how in the world she was able to maintain her weight on the way down, as she plateaued several times.  I confessed my inability to maintain.  We talked for maybe ten minutes.  She gave me several nuggets to take away.  I needed her encouragement and conversation today.  Was it anything earth shatteringly new?  Probably not.  But each time someone tells us something, we are capable of hearing it in a different way.  Here are some of the things she said.

  • Each time she determined to lose her next hunk of weight she had to try something new.  One time she lost weight with those old Jane Fonda videos.
  • She asked if I was drinking lots of water.  I admitted I had done that back in January and February, but gradually had stopped doing that routinely.
  • She suggested this week my goal would be to start drinking the water again.  I’ve started that today.
  • She said try to add in one change per week.
  • Next week keep drinking the water, and work out on the machines differently.  She suggested how to do that.
  • Maybe the following week add in a walk each day…even if it is for only 10 minutes.
  • She restated, “Just change something.”  Every time she dieted and exercised herself down another 20 pounds she did it a little bit differently.
  • I’ve fought weight enough to see the truth and sense of this in my own life.  It’s like our body becomes immune to our efforts and we have to rethink how to trick it into doing what we want it to do all over again.

I realize none of this is earth shattering.  However, it was just what I needed today to get going again.  A hook to hang my hope on.  It helped me so I thought it might help you too. Who was it that said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing what we’ve always done and expect to get different results?   My two words for this week are…

Change Something !!

                                 

Breakthrough

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Breakthrough

My loyal followers (bless you) know that I have dedicated this year of 2012 to breakthrough hurdles in three important areas of my life.   Those areas are    1. Technology phobia.   2.  Exercise     3.  Significant weight loss

All of these are areas in which I have had marginal success in the past.  However, significant breakthrough success has eluded me. First let me say I can tell that I have hit a nerve when I publish about this struggle.  Why?  Because on the last day of each month the ‘hits’ on my blog site jump way up whether I have published anything or not.  I know all of us struggle with particular issues that seem to beat us over and over again no matter what our initial commitment. I know you are rooting for me.

Some Good News

First let me talk about successes this month

    • My ebook and the print book version of Caregiving Elderly Parents have both been published and are available on Amazon.com.  Hooray!
    • Testimonials are starting to roll in.
    • My co-author, Marky Olson, and I are so proud of the way this book will help and encourage others.
    • This accomplishment required me to continually breakthrough my technology phobia.
    • I have learned about formatting for ebooks, blogging, rudiments of facebook, using drop box, attending webinars, using Search Engine Optimization, and countless other techie skills.
    • I’m very close to publishing my second book and ebook for teachers.

Breakdowns in Breakthroughs

I HATE to Admit this Publicly

But

Oh, how I am struggling in the other two areas of exercise and weight loss.  The worst news is that I have actually gained weight this month.  Yep.  There it is.  Right out there.  Why did I think this was a good idea to promise monthly updates?  Why did I want to make this battle so public when I have failed so many times before?  Temporary insanity is all I can figure.

My exercise commitment was also down this month.  In the past three months I was exercising a minimum of 20 times per month/5 days per week.  This month I only exercised 11 times.  Funny how that weight thing and that exercise thing go together.  No.  I don’t believe it is because exercise causes me to burn that many calories.  I think it’s more an issue of when one thing breaks down, I’m just so tempted to throw in the towel on both.  I have such an all-or-nothing personality.  I have fought that tendency all my life.

Back to Good News

Yep.  There is some good news.  I’m re-committing myself to my original breakthrough mentality.  I refuse to give in!

  • Yes!  It will be harder.
  • Yes, now I have to recover ground I’ve already lost.
  • BUT….and this is a big BUT….I know if I don’t do this now,  what the outcome will be.
  • I also know exactly why I gained weight.  It was no mystery.  I ate too much and the wrong things.
  • I either recommit right now or face long-term failure…again.  Unfortunately in the case of weight and exercise…this is a past habit I MUST breakthrough.
  • I’m asking you to hang in there with me for one more month.  Surely I’d be too embarrassed to admit another breakdown.
  • Pray.  Cheer.  Encourage.  Hope.  Cross your fingers.  Think positive thoughts.  Send me an encouraging comment. Please.
  • I REFUSE to let this beat me again.
  • REFUSE !
  • Someday I want to get an author’s photo taken to put on these books I’m writing.  (But not yet)

Breakthrough Update

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February Progress

Woo-Hoo!

 Those of you who are my regular blog readers (thank you!) know that I’ve committed myself to making progress this year in three areas that have eluded ongoing success in the past.  In other words I’ve tried and failed many times.  But this year I want to breakthrough in these areas.  The areas are 1. exercise  2. eating reasonably to lose a significant number of pounds.  3. Understanding technology.

Best News First

  • I’m exercising regularly.  Honest to goodness I try to workout six times a week.
  • Very, very occasionally I have a time restraint that prohibits my working out at my exercise facility which may lower it to 5 days a week.
  • I’m actually enjoying the work outs.  !!
  • Goals this month: If I miss a work out I want to commit to exercising at home or by walking.  Spring is almost here.  Outside walks are now possible.
  • Some time this month I want to try to add in zumba.  This is offered where I work out.  I’ve avoided it because I’m just coming off an achilles tendonitis issue.  I will start cautiously.
  • This is the area in which I feel I’ve made the most progress.  I believe I am most apt to have made a permanent change in this area.
  • I feel like it is getting easier.

Positive Progress

  • I’ve lost weight this month.
  • I actually lost more than I thought I might when I made my prediction at the beginning of the month.  Yay!
  • However, all the weight I lost happened in the middle of the month.  Many pounds came off at once while hovering in the same spot for a while.
  • The past two weeks I’ve stalled in one spot.
  • As I hover I get more and more discouraged.  It is hard to keep eating a reduced amount for ten days of seeing no progress.  I find myself eating just a tiny bit more thinking, “What the heck!  It isn’t coming off anyway.”  😦
  • I believe I have cut back my food intake enough that my body is trying to hang on to weight.  My metabolism may be dropping off which is preventing additional weight loss.  I’ve reached this weight before and plateaued.
  • I am also gaining muscles which I’ve heard weigh more than…uh…fat.
  • With the turn of the month I feel a new commitment.  But after three months on this issue, I admit it is harder to get revved up.   Power boost needed.
  • I want this to be easier.  It isn’t.

Technology Progress

  • There is no doubt about it.  I’m making progress.
  • But many, many things still elude me.
  • Earlier this week while working on this blog, it posted twice prematurely.  I still have no idea why?
  • I attend webinars on technology issues but often feel like I learn nothing, because I don’t understand what they are saying.  At the end of each one I have to fight tears.  Therefore I skip webinars that are available to me.
  • In school, I always felt like I was ‘smart’ (whatever that means).  It is hard to feel ‘dumb’ (whatever that means) about an issue.  I want to run from it.
  •  There’s no doubt I’m making progress.  I’m now on facebook.  I have half my timeline designed.  It will be revealed tomorrow…without a photo.  Baby steps.
  • I don’t know how to link anything.  I can’t insert clips or videos.  It is  a steep learning curve.
  • I’m also writing two blogs which force me to learn new skills.
  • The ebook I’m co-authoring will be submitted the end of this week.  I still have to learn how to make a page of photos with captions by then.   Gulp.
  • It is an uphill struggle.
  • I somehow believe this area will always be a challenge for me.  I want it to be easier.  It isn’t.
 Next breakthrough update?   Coming at the end of March.

A Man Cave for Girls

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But First a Good Book

Book_ThisYearIWill_sm.jpgWhere have I been?  Reading a great book!  For those of you who are trying

to have breakthrough moments this year  I highly recommend M.J. Ryan’s

book titled This Year I Will.  It is full of great ideas for breaking a habit, or

sticking to a resolution that has beaten you in the past.  Get it!  Read it!

Together it will help us break habits that have beaten us before we decided to

breakthrough.   I loved the sensible suggestions and encouraging words within.

Yes!  I Said Man Cave for Girls

One of my former high school students visited me in my home last night.  She is now a college senior who is a future teacher.  She came to my home to help me make a video about my upcoming book.  My young friends are wonderful resources when it comes to technology skills.

 Her name is Kaitlyn and she can make a computer come alive with creativity.  Best of all she is willing to share her skills with me.  I’m telling you when you teach with your heart your students will love you forever.  They flock to my side to help me every time I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

I loved what she said when she first walked into my home office.  “Wow!’ she said.  I was afraid my disarray had punched her in the solar plexis.  But she took away my embarrassment with her next sentence.  “I can’t wait to have my own home so I can have a room like this.  This is like a girl’s version of a man cave!”

God bless her.  She ‘gets it’.  The room where I write is a feminine version of a man cave.  Which is to say it isn’t a man cave at all.  No dark paneling can be found in my domain.  No bar for drinks or kegs of beer.

 No giant screen TV has been invited into my room.  I’m surrounded by built in shelves backed by white bead board and filled with books I love.  The walls are a beautiful pastel, lampshades are gingham, and wicker baskets with charming fabrics hold my pretty folders full of past programs where I was invited to speak and writing ideas.  And my file folders aren’t manila.  They are flowered, striped, checked, paisley or polka dots.  “Why?” you ask.  Why not?

A variety of scrapbook papers are within reach and a polka dot flower pot holds my colored markers.  I have stickers, stamps, and paper cutters.  I’m surrounded by encouraging quotes and sayings.  I thrive on encouraging words.  Some of them say…

Your story matters

She believed she could…so she did.

It is often the bend in the road the makes life worth the drive.

To teach is to love.

Welcome to my loose interpretation of clean

Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

Yeah, I admit.  It is cluttered.  There is always a pile on my desk.  Ask any student who ever entered my classroom.  But every item in it sparks my creativity and wraps me in encouragement as I write.  The framed cover of my first book hangs on the wall.  It is matted in bright yellow to grab my attention and remind me that my words matter.

I admit I didn’t get my shabby chic cocoon until my daughters moved out.  But I have it now and it lifts my spirit and makes my heart soar every day.  Here’s hoping you ladies will follow my lead.  It’s not just the men who need a special room to rejuvenate them.  Go for it girls.

If Kaitlyn were still here I’d have her take a bunch of pictures of my room and post them on my blog.  But, well, I’d have to clean first.  Let’s not get carried away.