How I Make Literary Element Review Engaging

Literary element review is crucial for students before state testing. As a new teacher, it is easy to assume that they will remember all of the amazing lessons from September until now. The reality? Kids have a million things they are learning all year, and some review is a great way to boost their confidence in their skills before taking on the test.

Literary Element BINGO! is my go-to activity for engagement with review. We do a quick Q&A before beginning, with me saying one literary element and the students who remember the definition answering. This should take a total of 5-10 minutes, and is just a warm-up for all students.

Then I have students go to my Student Center and choose their Bingo Card, while also picking up some chips to use. My first few years teaching I cut up some bright Post-It notes to use as chips – the kids never seemed to mind I didn’t have real plastic chips.

Then, I show my students the prize for winning a BINGO! Usually I have a stash of small candy, suckers, Homework Passes, or other dollar store finds that students can choose from if they win. While winning is usually motivation enough, I love to give out small prize as well to up the ante. I teach in a high-poverty district, so providing them small gifts often makes their entire day.

Tech Set-Up

While my students are choosing their cards, I display the cover from my Literary Elements Bingo Slides and play some upbeat music. The students start to buzz with excitement, even though we are about to review. I see them sit in their seats quickly – they have been reminded that the quieter they are, the more games we can get through (and the more winners there are!).

There are two ways to proceed with calling out. One is my printing off the definitions of the literary elements and verbally calling them out. I use this with my higher-level students who know the terms on a deeper level. Two is displaying the definition of the literary elements and reading the definition to the students. I use this with my lower-level students and middle schoolers who tend to need visual directions.

If you want to save some time, head over to my TpT store and download Literary Element BINGO! for your next review session.

KEY NOTES

You must decide before the game starts if you want students to “call out” the answer after you reveal the definition, or if you want students to remain silent and have to figure the term out for themselves. You know your students best, so make sure you make this clear before beginning the game.

Make sure you are keeping track of what words you are calling out. It is easy to get caught up in the moment of teaching and forget to have your own BINGO! card in front of you. If you have a co-teacher with you, ask them to keep track so you can focus on the lesson and assisting students who are really struggling (a little review for them, too!).

 

What do YOU do in your classroom for literary element review?

Teacher, Stop Apologizing

This post and the photos within it may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

With the new release of Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Stop Apologizing, I was inspired to write a blog post that held the same spirit but was directly for teachers. I asked many of my teacher friends and acquaintances from around the world to chime in on what was weighing on their own hearts… things they wished they no longer needed to apologize for as an educator of the nation’s youth. Here are the ideas that came streaming back to me.

1. The Expectations

Teacher, Get Your Graduate Degree – But We Can’t Pay You Enough to Cover Your Monthly Loan Payment

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Photo by Esther Tuttle

The majority of responses that came flooding back to me revolved around the low salary that most teacher’s make, especially starting off their careers. Reading through their words, it was clear that every single one of these people had an overwhelming passion for education and yet were extremely frustrated with the sky-high loan payments that were required to engage in this career path.

Long gone are the days were school districts offer to pay for a teacher’s Graduate Degree, and so this financial burden has been placed on teachers’ shoulders. Many teachers earning a single-income reported having to move back in with their parents in order to be able to make their required payments. Those with multiple income-streams admitted to relying heavily on their spouse’s income in order to make ends meet.

It goes without saying that most of the teachers I personally know have some side hustle going to help them pay those bills! Even though it isn’t ideal nor easy, I want to let those of you who fall under that category know – you are amazing, courageous and incredibly resilient human beings. If no one has told you lately, then I will tell you – I am SO proud of you and every damn thing you have overcome. I’ve been there, and man… do I know that it is HARD. 

Teacher, Have High Expectations… But Not Too High

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Photo by Ani Kolleshi

When a teacher first begins working at a district, they must determine what their district’s expectations are and adjust their own accordingly. Yep, you read that right. Multiple teachers wrote that expectations for students (in the same grade) were entirely different depending on which district they were teaching at. Imagine how confusing that might be for a student who changes districts?

One teacher wrote that one district appreciated and admired him for having high expectations and holding students to those expectations. He made rules and procedures clear, and students who misbehaved or broke procedure were held accountable. He then married his wife, and they decided to move closer to her family. He transferred to a district closer to their new home.

This district had extremely vocal parents who would question many of the decisions of that same teacher. He came to school weekly to angry parent emails, students who blatantly did not follow the rules and threatened to turn HIM in to the principal, and a principal who was trying to merely smooth things over to avoid a lawsuit rather than back the teacher.

The message that many teachers have been getting is that they must have high expectations in their classrooms until one of the students or their parents do not agree – then they must adjust their expectations. Without guidelines, many teachers wrote in to say that they are hesitant to draw a hard line with high expectations for fear of being reprimanded or losing their job.

Teacher, Implement All New Policies and Curriculum Without Question

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Photo by Rock and Roll Monkey

Anyone who has been in the education world for a few years understands that new policies and curriculum are a dime a dozen. Once teachers get used to one way of teaching, a new administration comes in and deems something else more effective for reaching students. It is a constant merry-go-round of merely trying to stay afloat with the changes.

One middle school teacher wrote in to say that she wished that teacher voices were actually heard by the ones making decisions about policies and curriculum. She politely stated that she and her fellow teachers are the ones on the front lines, testing the material and seeing how beneficial (or not) it was for their students. Who else has more wisdom to discuss what should be kept or discarded than the ones actually working with the new enactments? While some states are listening more to teachers, there are many areas that seem to be failing to take the opinions of their educators into account.

Teacher, You Must Also Be Your Student’s Parent

 

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Photo by BBH Singapore

This expectation gave me some goosebumps and made me quite humbled. While only a few teachers wrote in on this expectation, they wrote with such fervor that I can only assume that there are other teachers out there who also are feeling the pressure in this area.

One teacher from a low-income, rural school in Oklahoma has six students in their homeroom class alone with both parents who are incarcerated. These students are either living with their grandparents or are jumping from house to house, sleeping on friend’s or relative’s couches. This teacher also has students with at least one parent who is facing addiction to narcotics. These students have confided that some nights they do not know where their mom/dad/guardian went, and are unsure when they will return.

When we have students who literally have limited or no parenting, the expectation is that teachers will become a stand-in parent for those students. Teachers should instill in them positive character traits, straighten out their attention-seeking behavior, provide love and support, make sure they are completing work outside of school… all while teaching the curriculum they are mandated to teach, according to their job descriptions. Even if there are parents in the home, sometimes respect for others or positive character traits are not being instilled in the student, which is leaking into their behaviors in the classroom.

While most educators have hearts of gold that are ten sizes bigger than any other human being on the planet, it is not their responsibility to parent their students. Now, I know there are educators right now who are cursing my name, angrily inquiring, “If we don’t help them, who will?”. I say this respectfully, but this is not our burden to take on. Should we keep showing up for them every single day and being a shining example of what an adult should be? Absolutely! Should we keep encouraging them, holding them responsible, and giving them opportunities to succeed? Of course. While we all love our students beyond anything in the world, and want so badly for them to succeed, we cannot take the place of their parent(s).

Teacher, That Student Is Failing… What Are YOU Doing Wrong? 

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Photo by Rawpixel

A veteran teacher who had enjoyed teaching for over twenty years wrote that the day she quit her job was the day her principal called her into his office, showed her a student’s failing grades, and asked her, “What are you doing to get this student passing?” This topic links back up to our earlier topic of having high expectations but not being too demanding.

There seems to have been a shift of responsibility within the last decade. Rather than students being responsible for getting in their work and doing well in their classes, there is now an expectation that students do what they will and teachers will pick up the slack to get them passing. I have seen time and time again, students who do poorly in ALL of their classes, yet their parent attends a conference and demands to know what the teachers are doing that is causing their child to be so unsuccessful. I can feel you all nodding your heads – we’ve seen this story played out so many times.

It is worth noting that several teachers wrote in to say that they felt they cared more about their students’ grades than the students did.

Teacher, Work During Your Non-Contract Hours

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Photo by Christian Erfurt

Without a doubt, this topic FLOODED my inbox. Teachers who are done, absolutely DONE, with feeling guilt for not working during non-contract hours adamantly wrote their frustrations with this ridiculous expectation placed on educators. No other career that pays in this scale requires such commitment (for no extra pay, either). This topic could be divided into three categories.

Teachers should care more about other people’s children than their own. 

This one broke my heart. Absolutely, hands-down, I had tears in my eyes reading some of the stories that educators are living. For whatever reason, society as a whole has placed this expectation on teachers. Teachers must give up their time that should be spent making memories with their own children, spouse, and family members to keep up with running their classroom.

I would add to this, that teachers are expected to care about other people’s children even more than their own HEALTH. I cannot tell you how many times I personally would skip meal planning on a Sunday in order to finish grading that pile of essays because of this overwhelming teacher guilt I felt about somehow not providing enough feedback for my students. I could just throw together a lunch for tomorrow, and figure out the rest of the week as it came, right? My best friend stopped going to the gym for an entire WEEK in order to create a brand new unit around a novel for her 6th grade students because she knew it would reach them more than her previous plans would.

Was that her choice? Sure. But why do most educators make moves like that? Because they feel this enormous pressure to constantly be on their A-game for the students they adore. Unfortunately, their own health takes a back seat. I’m sure you all know what that leads to… and it isn’t beneficial for ANYONE.

Teachers will keep up with grading, planning, providing feedback, answering parent and co-worker email… even if it requires non-contract hours to complete. Don’t complain, teachers, you get great benefits & summers off.  

In the popular slang of today, I first want to say, “Them’s fightin’ words”. Aside from pulling teachers away from family or their own health, this is one of the most damaging expectations placed on educators. NEVER should a professional be expected to work outside contractual hours without additional pay. Period. A set calendar is agreed to at the beginning of the year, with a set number of days, with set contractual hours. Those benefits, holidays and summers off were all calculated in when determining initial salary.

The additional 5-20 hours that MOST teachers are putting in on weeknights, weekends, and other time off are ADDITIONAL. As in, not included in their original agreed-upon hours. As in, additional pay would be given for any other professional job for additional work. Teachers, for the love of all that is education, do NOT allow anyone to tell you that great benefits and summers off is compensation for sacrificing time with your family. 

Teachers will learn how to use the newest technology and apps, as well as how to implement them into their lessons… but during their non-contract time. 

Some schools offer PD days where they get a chance to explore new technology on a surface level. They are exposed to new apps, websites, gadgets, everything that may intrigue their students enough to want to learn. However, several teachers wrote in that they were not given time to implement the new technology into their lessons, and test them out. Thus, either their students became their guinea pigs for these new technologies, or they had to do research and testing on their own time. AKA, non-contractual time. Some teachers are even observed on how well they implement new technology into their lessons!

2. Behaviors To Ease the Expectations

In perfect Rachel Hollis-style, I’ll give some tangible advice that may help educators who are feeling immense pressure to perform under these expectations. If you are a veteran teacher, you may already be a pro at these. If you are a brand-new teacher, take some notes and make your transition into your teaching career a bit easier.

Most Important Behavior: Learn How to Say No

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Photo by Isaiah Rustad

If you are a people-pleaser, this will be the most difficult, yet a game-changing step for you to take. Learn what your expectations are for yourself, have a discussion with your administration about their specific expectations for your job performance, and then act accordingly. While parents, students, and the community will all have expectations of you as a teacher, you are the final determiner of what you allow – and what you don’t.

Stop trying to keep up with the Pinterest-perfect teachers you’re creeping on on social media, or trying to assign multiple writing assignments that all require you to provide HOURS of feedback for your students. Be smart. Keep the activities that are exceptional, and toss out the rest. Say no to perfection and over-achieving constantly, and say yes to the fun events going on during non-contractual hours with your friends and family.

Also, learn what extra duties to take on, and which ones to say no to. If admin or a co-worker asks you to be the coach to an athletic team or start a club, if it’s not a Hell Yes, then it’s a big, fat no. I know you want to be involved in your district. Make sure you’re only investing your time in things that light your soul on fire. That’s not being selfish. Accepting the role of Drama Club Director, even though you HATE choreography and designing sets is being selfish. Someone else could take that role of Director and bring LIFE into that program. You? Who hate everything about Drama Club? Well, you may stifle or extinguish a student’s love for that simply because your heart isn’t in it. Learn to say yes to only the things that ignite you, too. 

Remember, this is your job, not your whole life.

Internal Behavior: Learn That You Are Enough

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Photo by Rawpixel

I keep seeing this post floating around the internet that says that teachers make more split-second decisions in one day than brain surgeons. Now, I haven’t seen the research to back that up but from experience, it certainly FEELS correct.

Teachers make magic during the school day, changing the lives of so many students every year. And each year, those same teachers get a new cohort, and work their magic again. Kids are learning, growing, heading towards their own futures, all because of the work that teachers put in to guide them on their path. It is no easy feat, treading the line between teacher and mentor, yet we all do so to the best of our ability.

Learn to whole-heartedly accept that at the end of the day, you were enough. This does not mean that you should give every ounce of your energy to your job so that you return home at night too emotionally-vacant to be an exceptional person, spouse, parent or relative. I spent a few weeks this year giving all of my emotional energy to a rowdy group of seniors, and then would come home with zero patience when my puppy acted like… well… a puppy. One night I yelled at her when she was asking for attention, and she just stared at me with those pitiful, beautiful eyes of hers. I knew in that moment that I needed to stop giving so much of myself at work, so I could give more of myself to the ones I loved.

Sacrificing everything you have for your job does not make you a superhero. It makes you tired, and unfulfilled in the other aspects of your life. Close your classroom door each day with a smile on your face, take a deep breath, and know that you make a difference… especially when you work within your contractual hours. Education is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and if you plan to stay within the profession for longer than a few years, you will need to treat each day as such.

 External Behavior: Draw Boundaries

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Photo by Luke Bender

You may want to identify where you are feeling the heaviest amount of expectation, and make moves to ease that pressure.

Some teachers were receiving emails from parents that had them feeling cornered. Send out a newsletter to parents that updates them on what is going on in your classroom, and subtly include a nice box at the bottom that states your new office hours, which is the ONLY time that you respond to emails. Purposefully make your office hours every other day, so that you have a grace-period to 1. Cool down if the parent was rude 2. Do any research or seek guidance from admin over a difficult situation 3. You’re just plain BUSY in your personal life and don’t have the emotional energy to write a response that day.

Then, STICK TO YOUR OFFICE HOURS (aside from emergencies, obviously) NO MATTER WHAT. At first, parents may be upset. However, when they see that you are keeping a reasonable attitude, expecting them to remain professional as well, and holding firm to your own hours, they will come around. Sometimes, we teachers need to also have high expectations of parents when it comes to professional discourse and respecting our own time.

Parents were making comments on teachers’ social media accounts about their activities outside of school. Delete, delete, delete. Parents who are judgmental in any way of your private time, delete them from your account. In fact, unless a parent is a close, family friend, I would delete all parents from your social media. Look, I know you want to have community ties and to develop relationship with parents. But, let’s be real. No parent needs to know THAT much about their child’s teacher. In fact, it is asking for some trouble. If you are experiencing expectations from social media peeping… start to thin the herd.

Teachers were being passive-aggressively asked to take on extra duties by admin. 

This is one that teachers experience quite often and one that must be handled professionally. Whether it is by your Superintendent or your Principal, it can be intimidating. If your admin “suggests” you take on an extra duty that you aren’t yelling, “Hell, Yes!” for, you need to still say no, and further explain what you are holding out for.

Our administration do not know about the secret fire in our heart to lead the Debate Team, or start a Book Club. They also may not know that you cannot take on an extra duty because of something going on in your personal life. They only see that they have an opening that needs to be filled and “Wouldn’t Ryan be just perfect for that position?” Communication is key with these types of situations, so be clear but unapologetic. A great admin will understand and be thankful that they now have further insight into who you are as a person.

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Photo by Markus Spiske

What other expectations would you add? 

 

Digging In Deep For Characterization

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When it came to teaching characterization to middle school, I’ve always taken the direct approach. Explicit notes, concrete definitions, and an assumption that students were coming to me with a very solid idea of how adjectives and character traits are one and the same.

Until this year.

I have a cohort of students who are, as we say in our district, “low” in terms of English content knowledge. They struggle to identify nouns, verbs and adjectives from each other. It was a very slow beginning to the year, starting from scratch, and getting them up to speed for 7th grade content.

With this group, explicit note-taking techniques did not always prove to be successful. Most 7th grade students are disorganized, yet this group seemed to make disorganization an art form. Any notes they DID take were somehow lost in the abyss of their backpacks or lockers. I knew I had to flip my normal teaching  routine to reach them.

So, when characterization identification came up as one of their weaknesses even halfway through the year, I decided to make it interesting. When the students entered the room, I had drawn an outline of a body on the board. Around the body, I labeled the Head, Mouth, Hands, and Feet.

Then, on a separate white board, I defined each of the body parts.

Head: What does the character think or wonder about that reveals a character trait?

Mouth: What does the character say that reveals a character trait?

Hands: What does the character do that reveals a character trait?

Feet: Where does the character go or spend significant time that reveals a character trait?

I then gave each student a Post-It Note and broke them into groups of four students. The groups sat together and determined which student was in charge of which body part. As a class, I informed them, we would be performing a Character Autopsy. Whaaaaat? The reaction was priceless. We would be cutting into the “guts” of our character to find the deeper character traits within! To make it simple, I assigned the same character to each student.

It was each student’s responsibility to think about their body part and come up with a character trait from our class novel (we were reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton) and write it at the top of their Post-It note. Underneath the trait, they then needed to skim the chapters we had read in class and write down evidence that supported the character trait they chose. On the back of the Post-It, they needed to explain HOW that evidence supported the trait they had chosen.

Students were in their small groups of four, which helped them have little discussions if anyone was confused on a certain trait, or needed help finding a particular piece of evidence. I circulated the room, checking Post-Its as they worked and guiding any students who were completely off-base with their answers.

Then, students were given a Characterization Autopsy handout. Within their group of four, students traded Post-It notes and filled in the different body part sections. It is interesting how critically middle schoolers examine the work of their peers! Many groups worked together to hunt down better evidence for some character traits, and eventually each group had perfected their character’s “autopsy”.

If you find that your students are struggling to understand characterization, and need a different approach for finding evidence to support the character traits they do identify, this activity has limitless potential for being fun, engaging and down-right educational!

 

Other Creative Lessons from The Genius Educator

Connotation Lesson Using Paint Strips

Contraction Surgery Lesson

Generic Plot Chart

How I’ve Kept My Hashimoto’s Symptoms at Bay

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this article is not meant to prescribe any form of treatment. It is always advisable to talk with your doctor before making any changes to your routine. 

 

Chances are if you are reading this post, you have felt a bit overwhelmed by the symptom flare-ups from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. While everyone is little bit different, we can all agree that these symptoms are extremely uncomfortable, if not downright painful. I set out on a journey to heal my thyroid as best as I could and I am going to share some of the things that have been successful for me so far. It is my hope that I can provide some relief for others out there who are going through a similar experience.

This post and the photos within it may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. 

I am assuming you have done your research on Hashimoto’s, and understand the basics for keeping this autoimmune disease at bay. If not, here are the absolute basics that I had to follow.

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Figure Out Your Triggers

Knowing what triggers a thyroid flare-up is essential to living a comfortable daily life. The very first thing that I had to do was entirely change up my diet. Personally, my antibodies attacked my thyroid after eating anything with gluten, soy, dairy or nuts. How did I know this? Whenever I would eat something with one of those ingredients, within two hours my throat felt swollen, I would get a SEARING headache that made me irritable beyond belief and my neck muscles would ache as if I had overdone a workout times ten.

I removed all of those from my diet, and within three days the “globus sensation” I kept experiencing in my throat nearly disappeared. My headaches became minimal and my neck aches were just a dull throb.

If you’re not sure where to start with creating a hypothyroid-friendly diet, try the Thyroid Cookbook. I can’t recommend any cookbook more for this disease. Not only did this one guide me on the right foods to eat, but each meal was designed to provide my body with the different nutrients I was probably lacking. Love, love, love this as a starting point for changing your diet.

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Begin to Heal Your Gut

Most Hashimoto’s (and other autoimmune diseases) are set-off from an imbalance in our gut bacteria. Most Americans have an issue with their gut health and experience bloating that can lead to Leaky Gut syndrome. Nutrients leak through the stomach lining, which your body identifies as foreign bodies and attacks it. Unfortunately, if this isn’t healed, the body can begin to attack its own tissue (like the thyroid) when it becomes confused as to what is the true foreign body.

My first step in healing my gut was to start eating foods that are naturally anti-inflammatory. This really aided in calming the swelling I was feeling in my thyroid, and my body was getting a ton of nutrients that I was missing.

Secondly, I began taking a Turmeric & Bromelain supplement twice daily (1200 mg). This was a life-saver for anti-inflammation and has become a staple in my life. There are many options, but I use NOW Turmeric and Bromelain due to its clean ingredients.

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If you suspect you have SIBO (small intestine bacterial growth), you need to begin the healing process by taking care of this FIRST. Otherwise, no amount of healthy eating is going to fix what is happening in your gut. The absolute best probiotic for healing SIBO quickly is FloraMyces Saccharomyces Boulardii (500 mg). This aids in stabilizing the gut environment so that the good bacteria outweighs the bad bacteria (causing your bloating and Leaky Gut issues).

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Lastly, if you’re having trouble with your regularity which is common with Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism, your body may be lacking magnesium. I use Thorne Magnesium Bisglycerate in powder form (no flavor). I take one scoop in a glass of water about an hour before I head to sleep. I have found that this helps immensely with my regularity AND it has aided with helping me fall asleep. It took about three to four days for this to take effect fully, so stay patient.

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Check for Adrenal Fatigue

Brain fog, anyone? Not many people know how important the thyroid is until it starts to become compromised. Yet, the thyroid and the adrenals work closely together to produce hormones that your body needs to function. When one is down, the other must work overtime. For those healing their thyroid, they must give added support to the adrenals to ensure they are able to keep up during this time.

In order to support my adrenals fully, I take Natural Sources Raw Adrenal twice daily. Within three days I went from foggy to focused, which was critical for my daily life. I felt like myself again after this, and found myself enjoying conversations again.

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Supplement Lacking Nutrients

Mostly due to Leaky Gut, your body has not been absorbing the nutrients it critically needs to function at its best. You must now take the precautions to supplement and renew those stores as your thyroid begins to heal. It is best to ask your doctor to run blood work to test what nutrients you are lacking. However, most Hashimoto’s patients are lacking Vitamin A, B6 & B12, D, E as well as selenium (and a few others). If you are a menstruating female, you will want to check your iron levels as well, to be sure you are not anemic.

I chose to find a Woman’s Multivitamin to supplement for these deficiencies. This is where you need to be careful. You must find a multivitamin that does not contain wheat (or any of your other triggers). Yes, I’m speaking from experience, and this is actually how I found out one of my triggers was soy.

I personally use MyKind Organics Women’s Once Daily and I notice within an hour of taking it each day that I feel even more relief from any symptoms or slight flare-ups. I take this in the afternoon, since it contains calcium which can interfere with my Levothyroxine absorption in the morning.

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You will want to take some form of Omega’s as well. Since one of my triggers is soy which is commonly used to coat omega capsules, I take Flaxseed Oil which provides my body with Omega 3, 6 & 9! Everything you actually need, and this is plant-based.

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Fix Your Hair

Admittedly, hair loss was the hardest thing for me to accept after being diagnosed. I never knew how attached I was to my eyebrows until they started thinning. To anyone else, that may sound ridiculous, but if you also experienced hair loss, I’m sure you understand.

My greatest hair loss was when I had not taken gluten out of my diet. My flare-ups were constant and I felt like I had the flu almost daily. When I cut gluten out of my diet, I noticed my eyebrows starting to return (and my flu-like symptoms abated). However, the hair on my head had thinned considerably, which was unacceptable to me. So, I began taking a scoop of Primal Kitchen Collagen Peptides (unflavored) in my coffee each morning. Within a few weeks, I noticed my skin became vibrant again, my nails were pretty and… HAIR GROWTH! This was significant since my TSH and T4 levels weren’t even optimal yet. This could also help those of you who are feeling joint pain.

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The difference between Collagen Peptides and Collagen Protein is something that may come up. It’s simple. Collagen Peptides are more bio-available for your body, meaning they can be used by your body quicker than the Collagen Proteins. However, the Collagen Proteins have different flavors. So, it’s really up to you!

 I have found that doctors are not well-researched in this disease, and often believe that placing the patient on thyroid medication is enough. We know, however, that thyroid medication often ISN’T enough – not if we want to truly enjoy life! If you also have success with these methods, please don’t hesitate to share your experience with our readers!

 

Self-Care Is More Than Sleep

Self-care is, without a doubt, one of the most important habits of a teacher if they plan to be in the profession long-term. Finding what makes you feel less stressed is essential to being productive and happy in the classroom. Yet, for a long time, the media has made it seem like teachers just need to sleep a little more and drink more water. Self-care is much deeper than that.

By the time we get into our mid-twenties, we need to start preparing for the next stages of our lives. We no longer than get away with treating our bodies like we did in high school and possibly through college. We need to start looking further than next month or even next school year; what do we need to start paying attention to so that we can be living our best life into our 40’s, 50’s and beyond?

Go get blood work for nutrient levels in your body

Once you get into your mid-twenties, it’s crucial to start paying attention to the nutrient levels in your body. This is a proactive way to be sure that all of your organs are operating at optimal levels. While it may not seem dire at this time, if your levels are even slightly off, within a few years you could be facing critical issues.

Women who plan to have children should especially get their blood work done during this time. Women are more susceptible to certain diseases, especially diseases dealing with the thyroid gland. Getting levels checked even when you’re feeling great will ensure that you continue to feel great down the road.

Start surrounding yourself with positive people

People become comfortable once they spend a good deal of time around the same people. If you have been around friends or co-workers who have consistently been negative about teaching, life, or your aspirations, know that eventually you will start to lower to their frequency over time. Make sure you surround yourself with uplifting people who are going to skyrocket you towards greater things; do not continue to be around average people who pull you back into the “average bucket” so that they have company.

If your life isn’t where you want it to be now, take a look around you. Who are you surrounded by? Don’t like what you see? It’s time for change.

Find the one thing that keeps your fire burning

You did not become an educator to use that teacher salary to pay the bills and be a slave to small children. What is the one thing in life that sets your heart on fire? The thing that, when you are doing it, time flies by and you are ENERGIZED afterwards? Go do that. A lot. Find the driving purpose of your life and start to incorporate it as often as possible into every single day.

I know you love teaching and kids, but there is more to you than being this rock star educator. Don’t forget that you are a person too who has a higher purpose for being put on this Earth. Go do all of the things that make you feel alive beyond the routine of work.

Always have one thing you’re looking forward to

Why is youth so enthralling? There are SO MANY THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO! Turning 16 so that we can drive, graduating high school and being independent, turning 18 so that we can vote, going to college or getting our first job, turning 21 and legally being able to drink, graduating college or getting promotions at work, buying our first home, getting engaged/married, starting a family… life is just a giant storm of wonders!

However, once we get to mid- to late twenties, things start to calm down. We no longer have these built-in milestones to look forward to and many people lose their sense of wonder about life. Make a point to schedule something a few months out such as a vacation somewhere with loved ones or friends, even if it is only a weekend trip. Get tickets to that awesome band you’ve always loved. Pre-order that wonderful book you’ve REALLY been wanting to read. Always have at least ONE thing to look forward to, and keep reminders of it in sight. Life is meant to be lived in anticipation of the next great thing!

Don’t discredit eating healthy, exercising in a way you love, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep and trying out meditation as ways for self-love. Just understand that self-love should be seen through a lens that projects far into the future, not just a lens that sees to the end of the school year.

Take care of yourself so you can live your best life, for the rest of your life.

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