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10 Seconds At A Time

Elizabeth Schley Evans Current Affairs, Education, Life in the Classroom

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As I wrap up my first week, trying to navigate a constantly changing job description and managing a new “home office”,  I am overwhelmed.

I have cried every day this week. I want to do what’s best for my students, but it looks a whole lot different than it did before I said goodbye for spring break. Part of managing this has been to create a system that works for me.


  • Each morning, I start up my oil diffuser so that when I walk into my “office” it smells wonderful. Lately, I am a huge fan of lemongrass.
  • I sit down with my coffee, look at my calendar, and set reasonable goals for the day after I’ve changed out of my jammies. I have to be in a different mindset, and honestly, for me, I have to change… into my workout clothes!
    • Today, I needed to send a few emails and create content for my Google Classroom for Monday when live lessons start for my seniors
  • I set those goals into my calendar and loosely schedule my day. Loosely because we all know life happens and schedules don’t always work out the way we want them to.

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  • I value my work time, as well as my family time. We make our lunch and eat together without technology for an hour. This piece has been a huge contributor to my success in not having a meltdown with the huge influx of information coming my way.
  • At 3 pm, we shut it down. The office gets cleaned and we write down anything that needs to get done for the next workday. We go outside for a walk, sit on the patio and play games, or just unwind from the day.

The last piece of my sanity is to attend “happy hours” virtually. Happy meaning we just need to say hi and interact with others. I have them on my calendar daily because, during the time of physical isolation, there is no need to socially distance myself. You don’t realize how much you miss the interactions with other people and how you need to see their smiling faces.


Look, the uncertainty, change, and overall craziness of each day have done one thing for me. It’s made me realize that sometimes I have to let go and just flow with everything. Learning to be comfortable with “I don’t know” has been a challenge. Not planning weeks ahead has been a challenge. Learning how to teach remotely, be a parent of a stay at home 3rd grade, and a wife to a fellow teacher who is also working remotely has been a challenge. Learning when to work and not work is a challenge. I’m a veteran teacher and I AM STRUGGLING. And right now, that’s ok. We all are.

A quote from one of my favorite TV Shows, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has guided me through these days.

“You can stand anything for 10 seconds,” says Kimmy Schmidt. “Then you just start on a new 10 seconds.


I am starting my 17th year of teaching and have taught most of the social sciences in a public school setting including; 8th grade, AP Government and Politics, and dabbled in APUSH, World History, US History, and College Prep Government and Politics. I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Development and a Master's in Secondary Education, History from Northern Arizona University. I am also a National Board Certified Teacher in Social Studies/History (Early Adolescence). I write a blog for social studies teachers, Teaching AP Government, which has become a great passion of mine because I believe civic education is incredibly important to the continuance of democracy. I write for The Standard (National Board Blog) about civic education! When I’m not writing or teaching, I’m hanging out with my two favorite people, Chris and Emma, watching The Office or Parks and Rec.

Comments 2

  1. Jen Robinson

    Hi Liz,
    Love the idea of making lunch and eating together without technology for an hour. I am finding it hard to step away from technology, even for an hour. And the influx of new information coming in has been overwhelming. I also appreciate shutting down at 3:00. I am struggling with the balance and see my home school lines becoming very blurry. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Kyle Bragg

    Thanks for the post, Liz!

    I love that you have a routine in place. Being able to “shut it down” is important, and something I struggle with. I plan on making my own schedule/routine and sticking to it! Thanks again.


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