Moral Support

When things fall apart, you are not alone.


Maybe it’s the stack of grading that you said you would get to later…and that was three weeks ago.

Maybe it’s the difficult student situation coming to a head.

Maybe your home life is falling apart, and the chair of your department just put you on three more time consuming, mandatory committees.

There’s a lot of ways that things get away from us.

Sometimes you step into your office and already feel like you are drowning, and that’s before you check your e-mail.

You are not alone.

I find that I start to lose it a bit this time of year.  The excitement of the semester has started to wear off.

Papers and projects come in from all classes that need extensive feedback, and I am so tired.

Tedious tasks that I’ve pushed aside because they were not important suddenly become pressing.

Students want letters of recommendation, or to talk about why they need an A instead of an F in this class, despite the fact I have not seen them or their work in weeks.

It can feel like too much.  I see you.  I hear you.

When things like this happen, I do three things.

  1. Rely on my systems.  This is when current me is high fiving past me for setting things up like grading comments and canned e-mail responses.  (Still have not done anything like that?  It’s never too late to start. Pick one thing that will give you the most payoff for your time investment.)
  2. Prioritize like it’s my job, because it is!  Everything can feel like a priority, but it’s really not.  Really. I promise!  What is going to get the most work off your plate?  Do that first. (That three week old pile of essays, for example!)  Say no to everything that you can right now.  Order pizza on your way home. It’s going to be okay.
  3. Talk to other teachers.  Teaching can be such an isolating profession, and when you can’t keep it together, it can feel like you’re the only one. I promise that you are not.  I remember finally telling someone that my entire (very, very small class) was going to fail.  I was worried. I was stressed. Mostly, I was embarrassed.  I thought I was a good teacher.  How did my class fall apart like this? I’ll never forget my colleague’s response.  “This has never happened to you before?  Let me tell you about the horrible time when…” and suddenly, my despair lifted.  I still did not feel awesome about that class, but there was less shame.  I was not alone, and I promise, you are not either.

Hanging in there? Let’s hang out in the comments.


5 Reasons that I Love Amy Lynn Andrews’ KnowToBook


Amy Lynn Andrews is a national treasure, and her KnowToBook is one of the best things I have ever purchased for my business *and* my classroom.  It’s not a resource for teachers specifically, but I find that a lot of business books relate really well to my classroom goals.

Here’s what Amy has to say about her book.

1.She has a stellar section on time management and productivity

  • I’ve used her social media tips as a jumping off point for how I schedule things like automated announcements in my virtual classroom, and her productivity and time management tips can be carried over into any area in life.  Using her tips on understanding the relationship between time and money helped me give myself some grace and hire some temporary help here and there.  I think that teachers of any level have an expectation that they not only can do it all, they should do it all, and that’s just not true.  Now I hire house cleaners during busy parts of the semester, and I hire out random things here and there on Fiverr.  (Example: I once had a virtual assistant do all of my vacation research for low cost hotels for me.  The money I paid her was more than paid back in the savings I got for the hotel.  The hotel was much better than anything I would have booked!)

2. E-mail marketing tips.

  • I know, it’s a weird thing to be excited about as a teacher, but isn’t one of the big issues we have is that our students don’t read our e-mail or other electronic content?  I’ve helped improve my reading rate of e-mails and course announcements by using marketing tips.  It’s not as hard as it sounds.  It’s also one of those things that you can revise and reuse once  you have a basic template. I’m a huge fan of doing the bulk of the work all at once so I can relax later! She also gives welcome e-mail tips that I use in my welcome e-mail to students.  (You do have a welcome e-mail for the first day of class, right?)

3. Her Administrative Tasks section reminds us to check out our LMS.

  • In her case, she is talking about her business website, but we can use the same ideas for our LMS.  Are all your links working?  Do you need to update anything?  Dates? Page numbers?  Release content?  Reset items that auto release with new dates?  Build in time for this administrative minutia so you don’t have to cram it all in the week before class starts.

4. Learning Your Craft

  • No matter what we do for a living, we should always be learning our craft. Amy knows this, and shares how she keeps up in a realistic way.  Her advice can be used no matter what your 9-5 is.


5.It is always updated, and you never have to buy a new copy!

  • My very favorite part of the KnowtoBook is how is is always updated. Anytime Amy adds anything, it updates in your book too.  It’s like getting free updated textbook editions for life.  It is easy, it is simple, and it is a bargain at $24.

If you’re a blogger, it is a must.  If you are an educator, you’ll be surprised at how much you can get out of this product using outside the box thinking.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that if you make a purchase, I will get a small commission. This is at no cost to you!  Thank you for supporting my blog. I do not promote any products that I have not used and found useful myself.



Prepping for Next Week: Freezer Cooking

Freezer Cooking

I try to do at least one thing during the weekend to make my life for the next week.  This weekend it’s freezer cooking.  If you’ve not heard of this concept before, it’s where you do cooking and/or prep work for several meals at once and toss them in the freezer.  Sine you do all the prep for several meal sin one day,  it ultimately reduces the time you spend in the kitchen.

Freezer cooking kind of sucks on the day you are doing the prep work, but I usually forget what a pain it was when I’m not spending half and hour in the kitchen right after I get home from a long day.  When I keep up on this, I’m far less likely to resort to takeout. During particularly busy times, I sometimes even buy pre-cut veggies or those “recipe beginnings” frozen veg things in the freezer section.  Don’t feel like you have to do it all.   I always buy pre bagged salads.  It’s a standard side in our household.

This upcoming week is a holiday week, so I will not be making as many meals as I might have on an otherwise normal week. However, it’s even more important that I prep for next week because our routine is disrupted.  We don’t have school on Monday, and we will be visiting family, so preparing for a stress free week is going to be even more important.

Here’s a peek into our (pretty small, since we are going to be with family part of the time) menu:

Meal 1:  BBQ Chicken, cornbread, salad

Meal 2: Beef Stroganoff served over mashed cauliflower, side salad

  • This is another Instant Pot meal that I got out of the Instant Pot cookbook.  Like the chicken, I will get everything cut up and in a gallon ziplock bag, then dump it in my Instant Pot on the cooking day.

Meal 3: Pulled pork quesadillas, black beans, salad

  • This is using a previous “make ahead” meal- we have leftover pulled pork in our freezer.  This quick and easy meal uses leftovers and does not take a lot of mental bandwidth to cook.

Lunch this week is tuna cheddar chowder. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!)  I often make a big batch of soup and freeze it in individual portions for lunches.  I put the portions in labeled ziplock bags and freeze them flat on a cookie sheet.  Once they are frozen, I put them away upright. I have a container like this one in my freezer for my freezer meals.

Freezer meals do not have to be complicated to be delicious.  Do yourself a favor and prep some flavorful meals to look forward to.  Take some stress off of future you!

Do you freezer cook?  What’s your favorite dish?  Share in the comments! 

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Organize It, resources

One Weird Trick for E-mail: Unsubscribe


Did you open your inbox today and want to cry?  I’ve had those days.  Here’s my “one weird trick” that has totally changed my inbox: the unsubscribe button.   Unsubscribe to mailing lists that are no longer useful to you or your personal mission gleefully!   You can always resubscribe if you change your mind.  Get the clutter out of your e-mail inbox so you have the psychic space to focus on the e-mails that really matter.

If you have Gmail, I suggest using to unsubscribe to things in bulk!  It’s free and super easy to use.

Have a wonderful Monday, internet land!


3 Tips on Dealing with All the Paper

Paper Overload

It’s the start of the semester, which means that I am buried in paper.  I hate paper for paper’s sake so much.  I find that it usually just gets crammed somewhere, taking up space and not being useful.  At the start of the year, I can’t turn the corner without someone shoving another sheet of dates/teaching strategies/new rules/old rule reminders at me.  I used to just cram it in my bag, and then keep it somewhere “just in case,” but I’ve really started to reevaluate that strategy.  What can we do with all that paper?

  1. Really evaluate what you need.  Ask yourself- is this something I already know?  Is this information somewhere else, like the school website on the LMS?  Is this something I am really going to try in my classroom?  Is this something I am required to keep?
  2. Can you scan it and store it in the cloud?  (Or a jump drive?) One of the best things I ever did was to figure out how to do large batch scanning on the copy machines.  I now scan and shred pretty much every document that I have to keep for whatever reason, but don’t need a specific hard copy of. Make sure to label it well so you know what it is and/or can run a search and find it quickly if you need it.
  3. File it, and label those files well.  If you really do have to hold on to a physical copy, then file it. Go through them frequently.  It’s true that we sometimes have to keep some hard copies of things for a certain amount of time.  Fine.  File them away in a well labeled folder, AND put a “shredder x file” into your calendar on the future date when you no longer need to hold on to something.  If you’re required to keep something for say, three years, make sure you actually get rid of it three years from now.  Don’t be the person who changes schools and has to drive 7 carloads of paper to the shredding place.

Free yourself from paper overload!

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