Today’s my BIRTHDAY! And although I have a million and one things planned to do today, I wanted to share 27 things I’ve learned in my 27 years on this planet. It is in no particular order and you are free to learn from my experience or judge it. Regardless, it’s been a wild time and I can only hope to continue making memorable experiences like the ones I’ve made.

  1. Be yourself – it’s simple and its probably the one thing all educators try to teach their students.
  2. Find your passion – whether it’s writing, reading, or photography (all of which are mine!), make sure to find something that interests you and that lets you take the stress off. Work can be overwhelming, so having something to go home to that doesn’t involve lesson plans is not only helpful but essential to our self-care.
  3. Speak Up – growing up, I thought I didn’t have a voice. I was terrified of making my ideas and feelings heard because of my language deficit and just having others disagree with me. I’m still terrified but now, I’m the voice for my students. Sometimes I have to remind myself to be a little louder, but I’ll always make sure to stand up for them.
  4. Make time for those you love – it’s pretty simple, they’re not going to be here forever. Make sure you make time for them and make as many memories as possible. In the end, that’s all you’ll have.
  5. Take pictures – they make memories last longer! Plus, both professionally and personally, it documents special events or activities that you may want to refer back to during ie, your summative meetings 😉
  6. Remember that kids are kids – the work of a teacher is never done and having words like assessment and intervention circling around our heads doesn’t help! But kids are kids and in the end, we have to remember to let them breathe and have fun. When they do, they learn much better and feel more trust towards their teachers. It completely changes the dynamic of the classroom.
  7. SLEEP – if there is one thing I learned during my student teaching and if I could only give one piece of advice to any new teacher, it would be to sleep! There is no way that anyone can do this job and not get a good nights rest. Everything has a base, and the base of the teaching lifestyle is getting enough sleep.
  8. It’s never too late – I am first generation, first to graduate college and the oldest in the family. I had very little guidance when it came to academics, but I knew what my goals where. And although it took me a little longer to do it, I still managed to do it! So go get that masters degree! Go backpack around Europe! Go do what you want to do and don’t sell yourself short!
  9. Travel – whether it’s to another country, another state, or another town, visit a new place. Learn and experience their culture. This gives you a whole new perspective in teaching and opens up your doors for new opportunities. You end up understanding your students better and how they may see the world.
  10. Enjoy the little things – these can be some of the most memorable moments of your life. Enjoy them through your eyes, not the lens of your phone.
  11. Learn peoples name – re: please see previous blog post
  12. Respect others’ perspectives – I know that I can see the world in a very optimistic way and it can be hard for me to understand why people such as my SO sees it so realistically or why some people see it so negatively. But, if we don’t respect their ideas and perspectives, how can we expect ours to be expected, as well? Without a doubt, it’s a difficult thing to do, but as educators, it’s something we must do. Our students deserve a chance for their ideas to be heard and respected, without judgment and in a safe space.
  13. READ! – whether its fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, whatever – just read! It helps with stress, improves your memory, improves concentration and focus, makes your vocabulary grow, improves your writing, etc – the list is endless! Plus, how can we expect our students to become well-read when we don’t practice it in the first place?
  14. Appreciate others – it doesn’t have to be a big gesture, it can be a simple, “I’m proud of you” or “You’re doing such a great job!” Motivations like this can go such a long way, especially when they are genuine and from the heart. I remember one of my first writing assignments at my new school, my teacher wrote “Great idea! :)” This motivated me and made me feel more comfortable in this new setting. Plus, it made me want to begin something that is now a passion of mine!
  15. It’s okay to take a break – There have been too many times that I’ve said, “Just a few more minutes,” and have completely exhausted my energy and my resources. It’s okay to take a break – in fact, it’s necessary! Although our students see us as heroes, the truth is we sometimes need to take a step back and take a breather for a while. It’ll help you clear your mind and reenergize you.
  16. Explore your creative side – I theorize that there are so many hidden talents within ourselves. We just don’t have the time or interest or idea of how to find them. But exploring our creative side can help us with discovering things we didn’t know about ourselves. It can be frustrating because many believe it has to be perfect or done a certain way. But that’s the beautiful thing about being creative – you make it what you want! And in the end, it’s all about how it makes us feel. In first grade, I was yelled at for creating a Santa with a funny face because my teacher lacked creativity and didn’t know how to let us explore ours. We ended up with a sea of uniform Santa’s, which besides the names on the back, would not be able to be told apart. Be inspired so you can inspire!
  17. Be empathetic – we don’t know what others are going through. This one can be applied anywhere and at any time. When I lost someone close to me a few years ago, I lost all notion of time because of my grief. To be honest, I don’t know how I managed the week from his death to his funeral, because I don’t remember anything, much less do I remember holding the door for people or saying thank you to whoever held the door for me. Of course, this does not excuse anyone’s actions, but it does remind me to take a breath when someone cuts me off when I’m driving – they might have somewhere to be.
  18. Don’t procrastinate – man, did this one come up during undergrad! I would always put things off, with the excuse that I work better under pressure. I work just as well without it, but the outcome feels better because I do it in half the time and with twice the pressure. Regardless, don’t do it! Plan it out, organize yourself, and I promise, it’s going to feel just as rewarding, if not better, because you’ll have all that time to relax.
  19. Laugh at yourself – self-explanatory 🙂
  20. Share your ideas – this is one I’m still currently working on. For me, personally, it’s very difficult to contribute my ideas in a group setting. It might have to do with my elementary experience, it might just be the fear of saying something silly. But regardless, I’ve learned that even when I say something silly, the idea might still be something that we can build on.
  21. Get rid of the clutter – as teachers, we tend to collect things that we hope someday will be used on a lesson (like the toilet and paper towel rolls I’m hording in the corner of my bedroom in hopes of using it for Halloween). But we should attempt to get rid of some of the things we are not using or plan on using within the next 6 months. It’s taking up space and makes it feel more reduced.
  22. Reflect – this is one of my favorite things to do because it’s so simple, time-efficient, and relaxing. I love to reflect and think about what I did or should have done (usually the only work I do Saturdays). This helps me better understand my thought process, what my students need are, and what my needs and/or capabilities are. I tend to reflect in my head and then write down a few things I’m taking away from it or changes that I want to make, but there are different ways to go about this. Regardless of what you do, it’s what best fits you and your lifestyle.
  23. Have a playlist – this one seems silly, but it can be great when you just need something to unwind after a long day at work or need something to pump you up on your way to the gym.
  24. Don’t over think things – it only holds you back from all that you can accomplish!
  25. Have someone to talk to – it’s so important to have this! You need a someone you can talk to and a cheerleader and someone to bounce ideas off of. Whether it’s at work or at home, having this person makes your hard times bearable. Plus, it’s easier to think things out when you have someone you trust to listen.
  26. Self-Care is important – this is one of the most overlooked, yet necessary things we have to do! We work hard, but never take the time for ourselves to really sit down and relax and reflect.
  27. Always make sure you hit save – Much to my surprise, the first draft of this post was deleted because I forgot to save 🙁

Happy Birthday, birthday-twins: Vivaldi, Garrett Morgan, Brooklyn Beckham, and Ivy Queen!


19 thoughts on “It’s my BIRTHDAY!

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! This list is amazing and I can totally relate!!! (27 too holllllaaaa!) Have a great day!

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I can’t imagine recreating this post and all of it’s wonderful nuggets because you forgot to hit SAVE. UGH! Way to be tenacious and not give up. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom on your special day. These were great!

  3. Wow! What a thoughtful list. My personal favorites are 17 and 20. I read a book years ago called Love is Letting Go of Fear. Often, fear keeps us from speaking up, sharing, building community, embracing others and their passions, …. I learned that it’s imortant to speak up. Thanks for sharing your pearls of wisdom

  4. Happy, Happy Birthday Andrea! I absolutely love this post of yours- so many amazing things to take from it! I just went back to recap them and tried to pick a favorite, but I don’t think I can. Every piece you shared is spot on 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I’ll see you tomorrow 🙂

  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I absolutely LOVE this post and may steal it 🙂 The points that I whole-heartedly agree with are Get.Rid.Of.Clutter. and Have a Playlist. They are so important.

  6. Happy birthday Samayoa. Thanks for sharing the words of wisdom. Did you collect them over a period of time? I’ll have to copy them and refer to them later.

    1. Thank you and well, I collected them in experiences, but this is the first time I am writing them down.

  7. I am almost twice your age but my list (longer of course if I had one item for every year) would include just about every single thing you have said above. What a clever way to write today- happy birthday!

  8. Happy happy birthday!
    Great list! Thank you for sharing with all of us!
    You are share a birthday with my son – birthday twins!

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