A Promise You Can Keep

It seems like just YESTERDAY I was reflecting on the 18-19 school year and remembering the joy that this journey brings me. A blink later, I’ve been to Costa Rica with an amazing group of students, I’ve written some new units, I’ve NAPPED, I’ve floated in my pool until I was a prune, I’ve been to Florida for IFLT19, I’ve taken a SILVER anniversary trip to wine country in Southern IL, and I’ve celebrated my 47th trip around the sun! It was an amazing summer! I’m sorry to see the relaxing days end, especially since my son is starting high school this year (and everyone who has already had a kid in high school knows that THOSE FOUR YEARS FLY BY) and I really enjoyed what I know are some of the last summer moments he’ll really spend hanging out at home with mom!

But now that the calendar page has turned to August and I’m watching my friends post pictures of their first days, I’m ready! Well… I posted a video on my Facebook that may prove that I’m not ACTUALLY ready… But internally, I am READY! I can’t wait to see the kids and get back in the routine!


Inspired by Meredith White, I have made myself a promise this year. A promise I know I can keep. It’s easy to overwhelm myself with a long list of things I’m going to do. I did it this summer! All inspired by Rachel Hollis and Girl Wash your Face, I promised about 10 things and did 5. Ok, 5 is fine but I should’ve started small and only PROMISED 5. So for the school year, I’m only promising 1.

I promise that I will make time to read. I love to read. I read at semester exam time when the world slows down a little. I read over breaks. I listen to books on long drives. I do not make a habit of reading during the active parts of the school year. But that is going to change. Reading relaxes me. Reading gives me new professional ideas and lets me slip into dystopian worlds (like the amazing series I just finished – Nyxia by Scott Reintgen). It lets me reset. So I’m going to read.


I think I can keep this promise. I have a nightstand. I can put my book there and pick it up every night before bed. I can keep a book on my desk at school too! I could sneak in a minute between when I arrive and when class starts! Or the last couple minutes of lunch hour! I can even keep one in the passenger door of the car for the times I am not driving (and lose control of the radio to my metal band loving husband). I will keep this promise.


I encourage you to set a small goal. Just ONE promise that will help you keep a great balance between teaching (which we love) and mental health (which we also love). I am never going to be able to “work less”… my brain fires on all cylinders ALL THE TIME… work helps me slow that train down! I can’t make a promise to take off Sundays (Meredith, I really wanted to join you in this but look at me typing a blog post AS I consider taking Sunday off… Maybe I’ll do every other Sunday??)… but I can promise myself I will do something I love and not stockpile my books for vacation times. I’m going to steal some vacation minutes every day this year! 🙂

Make good promises, have a GREAT year!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at gmail.com.

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