The majority of teachers are planners. Since grade school, pencils, sticky notes, Sharpies, and primary color flags neatly tucked into their pencil pouches ready for use. This skill of having everything in its right place carried them through high school, college, and grad programs. Upon one accomplishment after another, they earned their diplomas. Then, the gateway into the world of teaching opened. In logical order, a teaching job offer arrived as the next right thing in their orderly life. And as soon as they signed their contract, the journey of planning everything for their classroom commenced.
All figured out
Thus, being organized and on top of expectations creates a sense of security and prepares teachers for success. Subsequently, over the last decade, the pedagogy of education has massively evolved. Read more about school transformation tenets here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/11/12/covid-opportunity-transform-education/6368001001/
The pressures that accompany this shift in day-to-day expectations of teachers created a larger need to stay on top of things. With one glance into the teacher planner and at the daily checklist, what must be done next lies in plain sight without much thought. Adorned with an empty box eager for a check, the sequential order of each day unfolds.
Not all figured out
But what if that box remains empty at the end of the day? Feeling a loss of control and incompletion when what needs to be done isn’t done lives in the genetic makeup of the American workforce. And this sinking feeling of something being left undone feels especially unnerving for teachers. When the to-do list languishes, many educators panic and feel an urgency to act. Doing the next task despite exhaustion bares down its weight. Because of the pressure to solve the public education crisis passes from top to down the pipeline, its cumulative effects feel insurmountable. Leaving something for tomorrow is not an option. Restless sleep and racing thoughts keep many teachers awake at night.
Alas, the next right thing doesn’t always fall neatly within the parameters of a little box created to stay on task. Life gets in the way and sometimes throws a curve ball into our world. And when that list is not completed, panic and stress take a seat next to that box as a dysfunctional motivator. These feelings of being out of control from being out of sync take root and flourish.
How to figure it out
Without the predictability of the next right thing devoid of the comfort of the last thing being done, logic dissipates. Emotions, thoughts, and feelings arrive and swirl in a chaotic flurry. This trio expressed in their destructive mode saturate the peace of mind of the already-depleted teachers. Racing through the body, the lower expression of thoughts and feelings can spin someone into a frenzy. Read more about their effects on an individual and upon the collective here: https://tracinicolesmith.com/visionary-activist-be-responsible-for-your-ripple/
In truth, the downside of being super-structured insinuates itself into our lives without us stopping to notice. Like a slow leak in a tire, the essence of what keeps you in motion, systematization of your life, may deflate without warning. And, then, the unexpected happens. As a result of being stopped in the tracks, many methodical individuals crumble in despair not knowing where to step next or how to move without a plan.
It can be figured out
It is in these times we remember that listening to our intuition when the expected pathway darkens or disintegrates becomes paramount to staying grounded and present. Learning how to shift out of your comfort zone develops as one of the most crucial skills for all human. This practice expands when one learns to focus on one moment at a time rather than on one square to check off.
Essentially, it requires a belief in perfect timing, which allows next right thing in your life to ground. Through release of the burden of figuring it all out, focus on connection. Connect to your higher self through meditation, mindfulness practices, or submersion in nature. Breathing techniques can calm us in the moment of alarm and also bring us into a peaceful state of being. When we can release all of the responsibility to have everything tidied and accomplished, messages from God/source/universe can be transmitted to us. A knowing on the next right thing indicates the next move.
The next right thing can be a mix of logic and intuition. When you make a logical choice, letting it reverberate through to your intuitive self assists you in arriving at the next right thing. Just remember, becoming undone because something isn’t done yields unproductive energy and spirals you deeper down. Allowing yourself to arrive at the next right thing facilitates inner peace.