I love the year-end/new year season in the blogosphere. Many of my favorite bloggers (see sidebar for a list of blogs I read regularly) publish special posts or series of posts that feature their most popular posts from the last year. It’s a great time to be reminded of all those ideas that rocked your world this past year and to get reenergized for the coming semester!

As for me…well, I don’t typically do a ‘Best of” list, mostly because I never seem to agree that my most popular posts were my most valuable or important posts. This year, I haven’t even checked yet. But I DO want to do a BEST OF 2017 post…just a little differently. I want to tell you what the best thing that I did in 2017 was!

If you’ve been reading semi-regularly, you know that 2017 was a bittersweet year for me. I said goodbye to Alaska and my life of the last 10 years. I moved to Vermont on six weeks’ notice to start a new chapter of our life. I had a beautiful daughter on June 1, and my brother got married in August. I hosted a workshop in Chittenango but missed out on seeing my friends and many of you at the conferences I usually visit through the spring and summer. I started a new business that is growing so fast that I can hardly keep up with it, but it is totally out of my comfort zone and it is pushing me beyond the limits of what I thought I could handle. So…lots of good things, and lots of hard things.

But what was the best thing?

I saw a counselor for 4 months at the beginning of this year! It was LIFE CHANGING!

I am sharing this with YOU because you are a teacher. On top of that, you are a son/daughter, a friend, a coworker, a mom/dad, a brother/sister, a neighbor, a HUMAN living with other humans. And the BEST THING that you can do in 2018 is to get yourself right.

I decided to start seeing a counselor because I was experiencing anxiety; really for the first time in my life. It was mostly tied up in a few recurring…disagreements…between my husband and I. My counselor, wise man that he is, recommended that I work just on me. And so I did! And it was THE BEST EVER!!!

I learned that anxiety is not an emotion; it’s an impairment of fear. I had some fears that I wasn’t dealing with because I don’t like conflict and I take pride in talking myself out of confronting problems and ‘dealing with them’ on my own. Which is all fine and dandy until they devour your subconscious and make you super anxious! They will get out one way or another, and so I had to start facing my fears and *gasp* talking about them with my husband. I realized that I have had a lot of training in my life in many diverse areas–physical, mental, spiritual, professional–but I had never had emotional training. I had never learned about emotions and how to use their gifts and acknowledge their impairments.

What does this mean for you??

Teaching is hard; HUMANing is hard. How can you be the BEST teacher that you can be?

No method or strategy or management plan or dream teaching job will save you from burnout. Get yourself right so that you can be the teacher that your students need. It might not take seeing a counselor–although if you can, find a good one and GO! It might mean getting up a little earlier to exercise or pray; to take time during the day to BREATHE; to plan a coffee date with a friend or mentor once a week to decompress and look for solutions; to journal.

I wish each of you a HEALTHY, HAPPY 2018 from the bottom of my heart!!

Much love,


20 replies on “BEST of 2017

  1. I’m so glad you shared this. Thank you for your vulnerability and your good advice. We all need a reminder to do what’s beat for ourselves sometimes or a push to try something new! I wish you and everyone reading a wonderful and healthy 2018!

  2. I’m so glad you shared this. Thank you for your vulnerability and your good advice. We all need a reminder to do what’s beat for ourselves sometimes or a push to try something new! I wish you and everyone reading a wonderful and healthy 2018!

  3. Thanks for your thoughts and honesty. What a way to connect in the new year! I would add that it is always important to remember that we can really only ever change ourselves and that sometimes it is just as important to learn to let go of things outside of our power, as well as changing what is in our power to change. Peace and love in the new year!

    1. Martina your heartfelt honesty is such a great quality!!! Thank you for sharing this! Many of us educators need to take time to BREATHE and remember that we are human and deserve a BREAK to recharge and reflect on the things that are lifting up us and the things that are pulling us down. So happy you are in Vermont now and that you have helped to start the new PLC in the NY/VT area (which you should add to your wonderful accomplishments in 2017)!!

  4. You ROCK, Martina! I loved your honesty and boy, did you nail it. Being the wife and mother of 2 people with anxiety, I get it. For you to be so bold with your words – words of healing – makes me happy. Happy New Year!

  5. Thank you for being brave enough to be vulnerable! Anxiety is an issue for so many and professional help is an important step in facing the dragon.

  6. Thanks so much for your honesty. It is so important for us to remember that in order to do the many duties we have at school, at home, etc, we must first take care of ourselves! Happy New Year!

  7. Hi Martina. I am grateful for your open heart post. I have to admit that many times, after reading your blog, I have spent minutes comparing myself to you – or rather to my mental image of you – and asking myself how on earth could you be this superhero of a woman who seems to have everything so under control. It helps me put things in perspective to read how you too are “normal” aka human and facing real-life challenges just like everyone else. You are the best! : D Thank you and good luck on this new journey.

  8. Martina,
    I’ve been reading your blog for some years now and have been a Spanish teacher for 15 year. I really appreciate a.m. you sharing all of your ideas and your January 1 posting is the most important one of all that you have sent. I wish you a wonderful 2018 – one full of growth and happiness. God bless,

    Joe Fricano
    Spanish 2,3,4
    Catholic Memorial High School

  9. There are so many things I really love about you, and we’ve only met once and emailed a few times, but WOW! YOU. ARE. AMAZING! Admitting that you need help and having the courage to get it is one (well are two) thing(s). Sharing with your online community is another…COURAGEOUS! I’ve been searching for my ONE WORD for the year…waiting for it to find me, and today BAM! It hit me on the head! RIGHT. I love how you put it! Make yourself RIGHT! For the past two years, I have been focusing on everything and everyone else. It’s time for me to start focusing on my health and well-being… 2018 will be my year to make me RIGHT! Thank you!!!

  10. Thank you for this post Martina, it meant a lot to me since I have been suffering from anxiety as well. I too always avoided conflict with people in my life and would rather “keep the peace” than be honest about my feelings. I also have been seeing a therapist and although it takes time and diligence, it does get better. What I realized is that we are growing and ever changing and that is not always easy. But we must learn to be honest with ourselves first and foremost. Sometimes we feel like we are the only ones going through the struggle so thank you so much for sharing. We are not alone.

  11. Martina, Thank you for all the gifts you share with us to help us be better teachers, I’ve always appreciated all of your blogs.
    Having suffered for years with anxiety I especially appreciate your message this month! I also learned so much about myself from professional counseling and recommend it to everyone; nothing more powerful for navigating safely through life than self-awareness.
    Everyone must take good care of themselves first in order to be able to care for others and do our best work! It sounds so cliché but it is so true.
    I am a much better person, wife, mother and yes teacher since I’ve learned to be kind and gentle to myself first and BREATHE.
    Blessings to you and your family and thank you again for all that you do!

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