The Minimalist Educator Podcast

Episode 019: Season 1 Highlights; A Compilation of Pare Down Pointers!

December 26, 2023 Tammy Musiowsky-Borneman
The Minimalist Educator Podcast
Episode 019: Season 1 Highlights; A Compilation of Pare Down Pointers!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ready to redefine your perspective on productivity and purpose in education? We've curated an enlightening compilation episode that'll leave you feeling motivated and empowered. With insights from Monica Burns on using emojis for organization, to Naomi Church's call for resource selectivity and Dave Burgess's reminder about the importance of outside passions, this episode is a treasure chest of inspiring reflections.

You're about to take a deep breath, shed the excess, and focus on what truly matters. We're revisiting some profound discussions, like Jim Knight's motivational interviewing, which emphasizes that resistance requires two participants. Chaunte Garrett urges authenticity and self-honor, alongside LaVonna Roth's practical advice for time tracking. Dr. Krista Leh rounds out our conversation, advocating for self-awareness and appreciation of others. Finally, we'll discuss how to achieve guilt-free accomplishment in your education ventures, focusing on decisions that align with your values, goals, and priorities. Listen in, and get ready to transform your teaching experience!

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Minimalist Educator Podcast, a podcast about paring down to refocus on the purpose and priorities in our roles with co-hosts and co-authors of the Minimalist Teacher Book, Tammy Musiowsky-Borneman and Christine Arnold.

Speaker 2:

Hi everyone and welcome to today's episode of the Minimalist Educator. As we're currently on our winter vacation, or holiday vacation, we've got a special episode to share with you today. We have created a compilation of pair down pointers from across the last six months of episodes, which we hope you can sit back, relax and enjoy and have some really good reminders about how we can be pairing back to the priorities. So first up, we're going all the way back to episode five of the podcast, where we spoke to Monica Burns and she explained how we can make use of emojis to help us organize visually what we need to be getting done.

Speaker 3:

So one thing that is front of mind right now are emojis, which are often put into the silly bucket of things, but I think you can use them really strategically. So what I would say for my quick tip is to look for a few places to put emojis that can give you visual cues, that can just remind you that this means this and this means that Don't go too crazy with it. Maybe you've got five icons that you put into five categories of your life, like meetings with families or meetings with team members, or quiet planning time that you go on to your calendar, or five emojis that you use for the categories of folders that you have. Think about a way that you could introduce this quick visual cue in spaces you're already in, as just a reminder of what needs to get done, how things are organized. I think emojis are easy to not give enough love to, but they can be great visual cues for organizational systems.

Speaker 2:

In episode seven, Tommy and I spoke with Naomi Church. She gave us a great pay down pointer reminding us about the best use of math curriculums. So if I think about math programs.

Speaker 5:

I know myself as a teacher. A lot of teachers that I work with now are very overwhelmed by everything in the math curriculum, and so my pointer would be that you don't have to use everything that a publisher put out there. Even if your district or your school tells you that you have to use an adopted material, that's fine. You don't have to do every activity that's in there. You don't have to do every worksheet that's in there. You don't have to use every resource. Be picky about what you want to use, because choosing a single great resource or problem or page is going to be better than making students do it all.

Speaker 2:

In episode 10, Dave Burgess spoke with us about the importance of living wide beyond just the immediate circle of education.

Speaker 6:

Okay. So I think that sometimes educators feel guilty at time they spend outside of education. It's kind of like here's the thing we work at, a job where we could never be done. When was the last time you heard a teacher say I've actually got everything all set for the next couple of weeks? It could never happen in the history of the world. Right, there is always something more that you can do. There's always going to be something more you can do. We know how important what we do is. That's a dangerous combination because it makes many people feel guilty about time that they spend outside of education. When can I? I don't even have time to do all this stuff I'm supposed to do. How can I get involved in this over here? But when you take that time to honor your outside passions, when you take that time to develop new outside passions and interests, it's going to always come back and inform your teaching because it's giving you creative ammunition from other areas of life to bring back into your school system, to bring back into your classroom. So you check up. Pirate is a very strange book. I'm going to tell you something strange about it. There's not a single other education book referenced inside of it Not because I don't like education books I published over 180. I love education books. It's because that's not where it came from. It was from the outside drawn in. It was my unique background, things that I like as my background in as a coach, my background as a magician, my background as a marketer and entrepreneur, my background as an emcee, my background as like. All these different things came together to create my teaching style. But teach like a pirate is not about you teaching like me. It's about you taking your strengths, your talents and your voice and weaving it together with some of the human nature engagement ideas of teach like a pirate to create the best you. And so time that you spend outside of education is not just good from a self-care standpoint, which is what most people focus on. It's, like you know, we want to unplug and focus on intentional self-care, and that's all very true. But it's also going to be incredible for your teaching and for your life as an educator, because when you live a more well-rounded life, when you read wide and live wide, that allows you to have that, all that diverse experience that you're going to be able to funnel back into your creative teaching and creative like views on education, and so don't just unplug and engage in the rest of your life for self-care reasons. It's going to be good for your educational life too.

Speaker 2:

Episode 18, Soros having a discussion about social emotional learning with Dr Crystal Lee.

Speaker 7:

Do they know who they are and what their value system is. And I think too, when you know who you are and how you show up in the world, you can better interact with other people and develop better relationships. And then, the more you learn about other people, the more it defines who you are or who you don't want to be. And I, you know, I think for my own kids, I want them to know themselves and feel confident about who they are, respectful and kind to other people and to value that other people have a purpose and things to offer in the world and that when they hit conflict, when they when things don't go their way, that, yes, they're going to be upset for a while, or sad or angry or frustrated, but then they pick themselves back up and pick another direction or figure out a way of working through that conflict or around it. You know, and that to me is more important than knowing friends for an end which my old history self would not have said, probably yes. So I think it's really what is most essential and, in the busyness of our days and our school days, keeping that as our true north constantly and making sure that all of our decisions and our directions and our actions go in that true north that we've selected.

Speaker 2:

After a fascinating conversation with Jim Knight in episode six, he shared with us a reminder to think about resistance versus alignment when we're working with others.

Speaker 8:

Ultimately, everybody has to, you know, work it through their own worldview and their education and how they see things. But to me at least, and for people who coach in a way that's kind of in alignment with what we do, I would say I asked myself the question who's making the decision here? And the truth is it's always the teacher, or the acknowledgment or not. I mean the teachers. Anybody, not just teachers anybody is really good and not in their head, yes, and doing nothing. So just because you tell somebody they should do it, they're not going to do it. And so I think I always try to share ideas tentatively, and it doesn't mean I don't share what I believe or what I think, but I honor the other person as a professional capable of making their own decisions. So I say you know, is it all right with you if I share some options and you tell me if you like any of these options? You know if any of them make you feel confident. Or I say is it all right If I add a couple of things to the list? And then there's an approach called. This is not a minimalist response to your question, but there's an approach that therapy called motivational interviewing. Adam Grant writes about it in his book Think Again, and Miller and Roelnick, who wrote that. They basically say there's no such thing as resistance, there's alignment. And alignment comes when I help you identify what you want to do and then I help you and then I help you move towards that. And if I'm telling you what to do, it's going to be hard to like. Resistance takes two people and if we've identified something you really want to go after, then my job is really just about helping you accomplish your goals, not about me getting you to do anything. You know. So that happens, I think, when the other person makes the decision. And that means when I ask a question, when I share an idea, as Miller and Roelnick say, I don't take sides. I just say here's the idea and what do you think about it? How do you want to do it? Because the truth is they're going to do what they're going to do anyway, and I'll just acknowledge reality. That's how I say it.

Speaker 2:

Shontae Garrett reminded us in episode nine. The part of being authentically you is understanding and knowing when you've run out of capacity.

Speaker 9:

I think when you talk about paired things down and even simple, I think one is when you are to a place where you're going to honor who you are, then there are some things that you don't take off. So, like I'll give you some example, you know, I have been able to say that word. You know don't have the capacity for that writing, right? Can we schedule this at this point in time? Let's look at this here or, you know, in delegating it, because I appreciate that you are looking to me for this, but if I'm being honest and honoring who I am, I don't have the capacity to do this and I love that that's honored in our community and it's empowering for others to be able to say I don't have the capacity, even if it's to do this this way. Can we look at it a different way? And I think that is the beginning of pairing things down, because when I could start to say that I could start moving some things out of my office, right, because that's not going to belong to me, that's not going to belong to someone else, right, I can begin decluttering my mind because this is not going to belong to me, but someone else is empowered to do this and I can get really focused on what the main thing is, not just in my service, but in my role, in everyone's service, so that we can begin to push people in the directions that they need to go, and also pushing them so that they're not taking on things that don't pertain to their roles. It's great to help people, but this cannot keep you from actually serving well in your space. When deadlines come, it can't be because you were helping this person or you were serving on this interview committee or those types of things and creating space to be able to provide support as well as accountability.

Speaker 2:

In episode 17,. Livana Roth gave us a great tip. She suggested we track our time and how we're using it in order to align our time with our priorities.

Speaker 10:

But I really ask you to make a list of the things that you do and, for example, look at the past 24 hours. What are all the tasks? I know it sounds crazy to do that, but what are all the tasks? You can do just professional, or you can do professional and personal and really look at each of them and how do you feel? For example, rate it maybe an S if it's a strength, or an S plus if it's a really strong strength and then do the same thing for heart, for passion. What are you passionate about? Because where you see an S plus or an S with an H, that is and I do the same thing H plus all that. You can modify that how you want. But really look at those tasks that are draining to, for example, or draining you're not good at, or you're not good at. Is there a way around those? I'm not saying to give up and again, please don't misunderstand me. I do mean you can improve on these things and we should work on things that we're not the best at, but at the same time, how much of those are actually draining us? I would appreciate you and Christine so much for doing minimalist work, because that right now, when you look at what everyone is taking on more and more and more, the biggest things I hear in education is we're not taking anything off the plate. So your book, your podcast, all the work that you two are doing is needed so badly. So I hope listeners are really paying attention to this. Take the advice of what they're giving, because we all need it. We all could be minimalized at times, but if you also want to take a task with that, then do the different levels and the H and really see what could come off the plate that you don't need to do, and maybe somebody else could and they would love it.

Speaker 2:

In episode 13,. Nicole Dishinger reminded us to simplify and always be flexible.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think I mean Tammy knows because she's been in my classroom numerous times and I have like very little things and very little distraction on the wall and if I could have even less I would. But you know, sometimes school says you have to have certain things. So I definitely appreciate the minimalist approach here. So I think my maybe tip or pointer is just to simplify and also to remember, like flexibility. So I always think about simplifying, like what materials you actually have in your classroom and what do you actually need? You know there's lots of things that can be used in various capacities. So rather than having 14 different types of counters, you just have one and you use that for various different settings. You know I use Unifix cubes in my classroom a lot and I use that for math, I use it for building blocks because kids love building. It doesn't matter what you give them. You can also use that for game pieces. So there's all sorts of things that that can be used for and then you don't have to have so many different containers or tubs of all these different types of counters and, I think, also spaces, so creating your classroom space so that it can be used for anything. You know, I remember I had a professor one time that said, oh, this is the writing area and this is the math area and this is the reading area. And I was like, no, I want my whole classroom to be available for writing. I want my whole classroom to be available for science, or my whole classroom for drama or whatever it is you're doing, so that you can move tables, chairs, desks, move things out of the way, create new spaces so that at any given point, it doesn't matter what you're doing, that space can be used for anything.

Speaker 2:

Alison Rodman in Episode 11 gave us some great advice. She reminded us that rest and relaxation should always be on our task list.

Speaker 11:

I think as a culture we tend to have this obsession with busyness. Right, if I'm constantly checking things off and adding things to the list like I'm feeling this sense of accomplishment and I think sort of that parodown point for me is one to let go of that, to recognize that there is something to be said for rest and recovery and re-centering, and that is very much a thing that you should feel absolutely comfortable adding to your task list. Right, like it's OK to put meditation on your task list as a matter of fact, it absolutely should be there. So I think, for educators particularly, the big takeaway here is to not feel this sense of guilt If one of your big three goals for the day is something in that circle of relating or that circle of being that is for yourself or is for the relationships that you truly value, we don't have to keep adding to the list to feel a sense of accomplishment. In some ways the accomplishment might actually be in pulling away and giving our self permission to take credit for the quiet moments as much as we do the busy ones.

Speaker 2:

So that wraps up our compilation episode. Everyone, we hope you've enjoyed the 15 to 20 minutes of great advice and suggestions from all of our guests and experts and we hope you will join us again for the next season of the Minimalist Educator.

Speaker 1:

Be sure to join Tammy and Christine and guests for more episodes of the Minimalist Educator podcast. They would love to hear about your journey with minimalism. Connect with them at PlanZPLS on Twitter or Instagram. The music for the podcast has been written and performed by Gaia Moretti.

Pairing Down Priorities for Educators
Maximizing Productivity Through Simplicity and Alignment
Guilt-Free Accomplishment in Education