Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

It’s a procedure on airplanes that attendents review each time passengers board the aircraft:  In case of emergency, put your oxygen mask on first and then assist those around you.   The idea is that if you take care of yourself first, you will be better able to care for your child or another passenger that may need assistance.

When I became a mom, this concept was reiterated, but in a new way.  The idea there was that we moms (and dads) need to take care of ourselves in order to be the best person we can be for our children.  This means we need to allow ourselves time to go out with friends every so often, have a date with our spouse (child-free), or sit in the quiet of our own company and partake in an activity we enjoy.

(Maybe you see where this is going…)

Now, I see this concept reigning true in our educational profession as well.  We teachers need to pacify their own needs to learn and experiment if we are to inspire our students to do the same.   When was the last time you read a book purely for the enjoyment of it?  The last time you took a class because you wanted to learn something new (not just get PDPs or credits)?  The last time you took a walk and let your curiosity lead the way?  If you are like me, the times are very few and far between.  But we need to put our own oxygen mask on first.  We should be feeding our own creative flames (with oxygen, if you will 😉 ) so that we can help students to be true life-long learners.

As the summer begins, I invite you join educators at The Inspired Classroom who are making the time to do just that.  Our Teacher Art Retreat is designed specifically for teachers to get their creative juices flowing in various art forms (visual, music, poetry and drama ) so that they can bring these experiences back to their own classrooms in a personal and meaningful way.  Our Summer Book Group is both an online and face-to-face experience shared by teachers around the world who want to enjoy and discuss a great book together.

I encourage you to do one or both of these activities with us, or find something else that will feed your own flame.  After all, if we take the time to breathe the oxygen first, we will be better equipped to lead the way for those around us!


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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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