(Contributed by VAAEYC member and Professional Development Lead Kim Thomason)
Ahh, the smell of a new box of crayons…
As I write this blog post a new box sets on my desk as a self-reward for getting some much needed “to do’s” done. The sight of school supplies, preschoolers with new backpacks, and college kids returning to Blacksburg always triggers a sense of renewal and excitement for me. There is a little more electricity and excitement in the air of the New River Valley. This year it is a much-needed sense of renewal and a reminder that we all need daily practices that allow us to find a true rhythm for our work as early childhood educators. If asked what I do to take care of myself personally I often struggle to come up with answers other than early morning runs. Pedicures not my thing, yoga would love to, but it makes me laugh and instructors glare, but professionally I try to make renewal practices a priority. I have come to realize over the years if I don’t have practices in place that continually fuel my passion for early childhood education and child development the wrong energy shows up when I am working with children and teachers and I am the conduit. Thus, I try to prioritize renewal practices throughout the week, month, and year by setting reminders on my calendar and a plethora of sticky notes. These plans are often sparked by professional blogs or articles such as Amy Eva’s article “Five Ways to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching”. In this article she suggests 5 ways in which we can keep the passion flowing.
- Revisit your story (I love a good vision/story board)
- Celebrate a favorite teacher or mentor
- Connect with like-minded colleagues
- Prioritize your well-being
- Create a resilience plan
I encourage each of you to take five minutes and make your own list. As I talk with educators around the New River Valley they share their renewal practices such as; morning journaling prompted by professional resources, time in nature, preparing meals for family, volunteering with community organizations, walking with friends etc. What would you include on your list of professional renewal practices? Share your thoughts on our VAAEYC Facebook page, we would love to hear from you.
Kim holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and an M.S. in Family Relations and Child Development, both from Oklahoma State University. As a Certified Child and Parenting Specialist, the worked as a Domestic Violence and Therapeutic Foster Care Counselor, Regional Director for Service Learning for the Oklahoma Department of Education, Consultant for National Resource Center, and Center for Early Childhood Professional Development. In 2003 Kim was the recipient of the SECA Helen Harley Memorial Award. Since moving to Blacksburg, Virginia she has worked as a consultant for DSS Early Childhood Education, Adjunct Faculty at New River Community College and Radford University, and as the NRV Virginia Quality Local Coordinator and Curriculum Specialist. Currently, she is the CEO of Three Presidents Consulting, LLC, serves as a Professional Development Specialist for Council for Professional Recognition, is a certified Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K CLASS observer, and is also the Program Manager for Early Childhood Education Initiatives at Virginia Tech.