Everyone knows how passionate I am about teacher wellness. After multiple encounters with burnout and exchanging experiences with other educators, I know that - more than ever - teacher wellness matters. The profession has always operated out of this missionary ideal that is often depleting and unsustainable. Yet, teachers are expected to just deal with the overwhelm and superhero expectations. We are expected to do whatever it takes “for the kids” even at the expense of our own wellbeing.
Today, I’m excited to talk with Kayland Lamar! She is another black educator who is passionate about teacher wellness and dedicated to helping teachers battle burnout through self-care coaching.
Kayland uses her Instagram platform to provide teachers with actionable tips and strategies to reclaim their time, energy, and joy. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Kayland over the last couple of months through direct message conversations and shared posts. We also collaborated on an Instagram Live where we talked about why teacher wellness matters.
I love connecting with Kayland on all things teacher wellbeing and I'm hoping you feel inspired and empowered to take charge of your wellbeing!
In this episode, Kayland shares about her “tipping point" and how that inspired her to prioritize true self-care, as well as share what she’s learned through her battle with burnout to support other educators. We also have a candid conversation about how the education system has been set up to deprioritize the needs of teachers as well as why focusing on teacher wellness is important to the education system as a whole.
During our conversation, Kayland discusses:
When you take care of yourself, you’re also taking care of those that you love and care about most.
Self-care is about doing the hard, internal work so you can create sustainable habits that will set you up for success in the future.
How the phrase “do it for the children” is sometimes weaponized and used to manipulate teachers into not prioritizing their needs.
Kayland wants teachers to know that when you’re dealing with feelings of burnout, you need to decide and choose how you want to show up for your life, and it’s in that choice that you can start creating habits and boundaries that will support yourself and, in turn, those who are most important in your life. This form of self-care challenges the mainstream, commercialized view about self-care that we’ve been programmed to rely on and quickly find that it’s not enough. Self-care is about doing the hard, internal work so you can set up sustainable habits that will set you up for success and “balance” in the future so that you can show up as your best self. Kayland acknowledges how - in creating these boundaries and habits - one could feel that they are pushing back on what’s been historically recognized as traits that make for a “good” teacher. However, it’s in challenging these narratives that we pave the way for the changes that are so desperately needed. She reminds us that you are still a good teacher even if you challenge the old “good teacher” narrative.
Kayland stresses that there has to be some sort of balance to your life, and when there isn’t, we perpetuate negative behaviors and the toxicity of living empty - that’s not living, that’s just existing.
She also points out the fallacy and manipulation that surrounds the use of the phrases “family” and “do it for the children”. These common phrases - which are seen as words of encouragement - often create the belief in teachers that, if they prioritize their needs, they are - in some way - letting down the students. Teachers begin to believe that self-care is an either-or situation, but it’s not. Prioritizing the needs of teachers and seeing them as human beings is the single most impactful change that not only impacts teachers, but also the students and the school climate as a whole. But in the broken education system, teachers wait for a “top-down” change that will never come because the system isn’t set up that way. Because of this, teachers have to focus on making bottom-up changes, which is why self-care is so important because it subverts the system through establishing routines and procedures that will create a culture that everyone in the school system wants and deserves.
Kayland believes that teachers can teach and live more authentically by choosing themselves daily so that self-care isn’t a one-time thing - it’s daily. Prioritizing yourself and how you show up for the world is number one. Once you prioritize yourself, then everything else will fall into place. It might not be perfect all of the time, but at least you started somewhere because you deserve it. Also, don’t wait for administrators or anyone else to start prioritizing your needs, self-care starts with YOU, so choose yourself daily.
Facebook: Facebook.com/kaylandlamar1 OR Kayland Lamar
Kayland empowers educators by helping them improve their self-care practices and boundary setting so that they can combat burnout. She also teaches educators how to focus on their overall wellness through reflection and empowerment strategies.
If you are enjoying the podcast, please do me a HUGE favor and rate, share, and subscribe to this podcast. My hope is that the experiences and gems shared on this show will inspire teachers to become better versions of themselves as they redefine what it means to teach well and prioritize themselves.