The big quiet, unspoken secret of teachers’ hearts is often we feel inadequate and ill-equipped.  Fall is here.  The haunts are whispering.

Because learning is a mystery and hazy, it is easy to feel like a wanderer.  Because learning is a unique journey, unpredictable and uneven, it can feel difficult to trace or account or measure.  Teachers are giving great effort and sometimes with waning confidence about what will or could work.

Then, there are students with more unique needs or profiles or diagnosis or challenges.  We want to throw up our hands because we feel completely out of our league, like we’re playing T-ball with Nolan Ryan pitching 100s!

We know the parents need us to feel confident and assured.  The reality is we are already fatigued and wondering how to juggle it all…and we’re just getting started.

It’s no one’s fault.  It’s not the children’s fault for sure.  It just feels like a tall, tall order.

The unspoken secret is we often feel inadequate and ill-equipped.

As an encourager of teachers and parents working with children, I know the feeling is so understandable, but it won’t help.  I don’t mean that without compassion.  The feeling is real.  It’s okay to feel all of it.

But, when you’re ready, to move forward…what will work?

So, I wanted to get clear on the template, steps to take, the Evernote checklist that could be repeated each time we step into the shadow and experience these shudders.  What is the way to unravel our feelings of inadequacy?

We must be B.R.A.V.E..  Our hearts can rally.  We can start fresh.  We can take small steps towards growth.  With compassion, we can gently smile and Learn Forward.  Be brave.  Let go of what is not essential.  Shift your mood, perspective, or state.

Here is a simple way to remember the steps…B.R.A.V.E.


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Breathe.  Notice what you are feeling.  Name it.  Hold it in your hands with compassion.  Gently acknowledge, the feelings of being inadequate and ill-equipped are not unique experiences for teachers or parents and they won’t last forever.

– Reach Out.  Express your heart and your hurt in safe places to people who will hold a space for your grief and encourage your heart.  Ask great questions to experts and fellow sojourners to discover ideas, strategies, and ‘first, next steps.’  There are a myriad of experts, master teachers, experienced parents, great thinkers, medical professionals, assessments, books, and pinterest ideas at your fingertips.  The resources are there and if they aren’t, they’re at most two phone calls away.

A – Act.  Nothing reduces the feelings of helplessness more than getting busy and making something happen.  It is easy to get stuck in the feelings and commiserate about how difficult it is.  But, it is sacred work and it will unfold if you start moving.  Make a plan.  What will you try tomorrow?  List three steps.

V – Value Yourself.  I can’t stress self-care enough in this process.  Know in advance and continue to practice the sanctuary you need to take care of yourself completely.  Compassion fatigue is a thing and we need to nurture ourselves.  Give yourself the gift of rest.

– Embrace Each Other.  This is the Table of Learning.  Teachers and parents can work together. Linking arms with willingness and warmth will surely help us create something supportive for children. Children need our hearts.  They need togetherness.  They need community.  It is pure grace to be together.

Are you struggling, feeling inadequate, or ill-prepared to meet the giant task of confidently trusting the process and stepping out to teach and nurture each child in your class?  If you are, know you’re not alone and you can repeatedly follow this checklist to rejuvenate and refresh your soul’s perspective.

If you are a parent, who is struggling, feeling inadequate, or ill-prepared, the same checklist will work!

Together we will be changemakers, in our homes and in our classrooms.

For the sake of the children,