Skip to main content

What's your "gap plan"?

Brene Brown introduces the "family gap plan" in the fourth episode of her podcast, Unlocking Us. This came about when she and her husband would argue when she would return home from traveling. It seemed like the minute she walked in, her husband would expect her to be ready for him to "tap out," where she could take over where he had been supporting the family. While she was away from home, this didn't mean that she was full of energy and at 100% the minute she walked in the door. She had been working too and was exhausted.

So, over time they began to name where they were at as people and as a family: I'm at 10%. I'm at 30%. They knew they needed a plan for when collectively she and her husband were not at 100%, but they needed to be for their family.

Beyond our personal lives, the idea of a "gap plan" got me thinking about our classrooms and schools. What happens when we are not at 100% or we know that our classrooms or students are not able to be at 100% ? For me, I think we can start by just doing these three things:

Knowing Where You Are
How many of us honestly take the time each day to check in with ourselves? Maybe during social distancing we have been doing a better job of this, maybe note. What would our mornings or days look like if we just took five minutes to take a deep breath and find out where we were that day? For me it's often a quick mental list of what I can control and what I can't, what my priorities are, and what I need to do for myself that day.

Communicating This Honestly
I think our students are always quick to tell when we aren't ourselves or if we are in a bad mood. Sometimes we have the honest student that will point this out, other times our short responses are meant to communicate this. Instead, what if we just modeled the result of our self check-in and borrowed Brown's language? "Class, I'm at about 50 today... Can you bring the other 50?" What if we communicated this to our office team or to our partners?

Finding a Way to Re-Charge
We need to be able to create time in our daily lives to re-charge. Maybe that's carving out more time for sleep like she suggests in the podcast. Maybe it's doing something for ourselves without guilt or reservation. It's okay to take the dog for a walk. It's okay to eat a quiet lunch. If we aren't at 100 and we aren't doing something that will get us back to 100, then it's a continuous cycle and it's not going to get better.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Handwritten Cue Cards in the 21st Century

I just stumbled upon this behind-the-scenes clip of Saturday Night Live's cue card process. This is intense writing. This is writing that is dependent upon trust and checks and balances. Over a short period of time, skits are written, drafted on cards, revised, and the cards revised over and over again. I also really love that SNL continues to use cue cards and not a teleprompter. Like Wally points out, technology can fail. Handwritten cue cards ensure the show goes on. Comedy is hard work. Writing is hard work. Changes are made up until the last minute to get things just right. This is a form of real-world writing.

Don't Be Misled by $778 At-Risk Payments

Governor Snyder recently proposed a $778 increase per economically disadvantaged pupil in Michigan. At first glance, this looks good. Who can argue with an announcement like this: An increase of $150 million, to a total of $529 million, to ensure that children in difficult financial situations are getting the help they need. All districts and public school academies will now be eligible to receive an additional $778 per pupil to assist at-risk students. After all, it's money for at-risk students . We instantly assume that the governor is proposing helping our neediest students, which should make us all jump for joy. And we know from the adequacy study done last year that our poorest students require greater funding (30% more!) to educate if we ever hope to close the achievement gap, not to mention their general recommendation of $8,667 per pupil as a foundation allowance (note that many districts in Michigan still receive far less than this). But the real problem of inequ

Reading Glasses

"Let me guess... You teach English?" I've been asked the same question by nearly everyone when I reveal that I'm a teacher. I can thank my distant relatives for the name change to "English" from a Polish surname that we can only remember how to pronounce and never to spell. I've noticed that revealing you're an English teacher elicits one of two reactions: 1) People either stop talking and are afraid that you will correct, critique, nitpick (<insert the pedantic verb of your choice>); or 2) People feel as if you are on their side and agree that something is taking place to the detriment of the wonderful, precious English language. And it was during my routine eye exam that my optometrist goaded me into the second camp. He expected sympathy when he said, "I once had a secretary who would use 'seen' without the helping verb." And I responded with a quick, "Oh?', hoping to move the conversation away from the stereoty