An Invitation to Reflect
This has been an extraordinary year. While many of us have returned to in-person teaching, things are still not “normal” and we continue to face unexpected and exhausting challenges.
Last month Crystal Pridmore led an online workshop in which she explored the way trauma affects the brain and behavioral patterns and discussed strategies to manage the behavior and manage ourselves as teachers. She will be hosting a follow up session with that group to continue the work they started together.
As part of that work, Crystal developed a series of journaling prompts to reflect on all the past year has brought and to set intentions for the coming year.
This reflection toolkit is her gift to our community of music educators. This is her gift to you.
An Invitation to Reflect on an Extraordinary Year
It was an honor to spend some time with many of you last month to talk about becoming trauma informed, burnout resistant music teachers. I have read and been grateful for every comment and note that you have sent. It feels to me like we have some unfinished work together as we process and heal from the many things the last few years have brought. Today, I want to invite you to continue the work we began in the workshop with a year-end reflection.
I was 15 years old the first time I sat down for a holiday break time of reflection with my journal. My family had just moved that summer across the country to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. I had to start all over with making friends and finding a place to fit in as a VERY awkward (super band geek) teenager. I’ve never been able to move through this life quietly and with stealth. By Christmas, I had committed so many social faux pas and had shoved my foot so far in my mouth so many times that I was practically gasping for air. I dealt with it like a good high school sophomore in the early aughts. I clipped my bangs back with a flappy butterfly hair clip, cranked up my boombox with N’SYNC’s Christmas CD, grabbed my entire collection of milky pens, flipped to a fresh page in my trapper keeper, and started writing a letter to past Crystal and future Crystal. It didn’t make me any less awkward, but it certainly made the many hard things I was growing (well, stumbling) through seem a lot more manageable.
Fast forward to 2021, and this ritual of mine has become an important milestone in my year for more than two decades. It’s helpful to read back on those old journal entries and see what was so daunting as a high schooler, a college student, a newlywed, a young mother. And to see that each one of those stressors had a clear end date.
As we enter into a well earned winter break, I’d like to invite all of you to spend some time in reflection with me. What we have been asked to do as teachers during this unique time in history has been extraordinary in every way. Extraordinary… and extraordinarily difficult. This Reflection Toolkit is designed to help lead you through some thought exercises to name, examine, and process the many stressors and lessons this school year has brought with it.
I invite you to find a quiet place, perhaps some nice music (I’m happy to report that I’ve graduated from N’SYNC to YoYo Ma and Friends Songs of Joy and Peace), a fuzzy blanket, a warm cup of tea, and about an hour to lead yourself through a good Think, some journaling, and some intention setting for the year to come.
Click here to download Crystal’s Reflection Toolkit
For a deeper dive into this work, consider exploring Crystal’s workshop: Growing Into a Trauma Informed, Burnout Resistant Music Teacher