Remember to Stop and Reassess Periodically!
- Drink Lots and Lots of Water. The downside, of course, is running to the restroom at school between classes. The upside…more energy, enhanced digestion, better skin, reduced appetite, better immunity…convinced yet? Get yourself a cool (big) container and keep it on your desk with the goal of emptying it by the time you get home.
- Exercise. As a student teacher, I did laps around the track during lunch with my mentor. Now, I walk with my co-worker once a week, my husband once a week, and take the long walk to town with just my dog Smalls once a week. In between, I have been a runner, a roller-blader, a skateboarder, a biker, and a swimmer. Although motivation ebbs and flows, keeping things at least moving is a miracle stress reducer and mood enhancer.
- Eat Right. Teachers tend to stress and binge on unhealthy foods. Where I live and work, it is practically rude to not accept food that is offered, and it is rude to not bring something to share. Unfortunately, much of it is not healthy and results in low energy, depression, weight gain, and compromised immunity while your body tries to deal with the toxic load you just dumped in it. My constant challenge is to be the good example and set the bar higher.
- Maintain a Positive Attitude. Sometimes students and staff both can wear you down. It is easy to fall into the negativity that seems prevalent in the school environment. There are student challenges, which like buy essay, teacher and administrative differences, a poor economy stressing classroom resources, and overwhelming teacher duties. Something that has been of incredible value to me is the simple intention of starting each day fresh and positive. This means ill-feelings or judgements don’t get carried over from one day to the next.
- Continue to Grow and Learn. Remember to be a student yourself. Most people do not start off as great teachers, but if they continue to learn about teaching, self-reflect, and make a conscientious effort to implement new best practices, the sky is the limit. As we improve, our students learn more, and all of a sudden, our jobs are less stressful and more gratifying. The added bonus is that completing courses may also equal a pay raise.
- Get a Grip on your Financial Future. Teachers are lucky to have consistent, reliable paychecks. This is a bonus when trying to make financial goals. In my state, only 6% is transferred into the state retirement system, but we have other opportunities to save more pre-tax dollars for retirement. Once you set it up, it is automatic, and you get used to working with the balance to budget monthly expenses. It is very worth learning more about budgeting and gaining control of what could be a very stressful subject.
- Be Vice-Free. You may think I’m kidding here, but I am not. The first twenty years of my teaching career, stress was relieved at a happy hour somewhere. The problem is that along with relieving stress, I was creating a really bad habit called binge drinking. Now, I know that some people can drink alcohol without a problem, but I am thankful to have finally realized that I am not one of them. My life seems like one excessive behavior is quickly replaced with another. Last month, after a week of insomnia, I finally decided to give up the quart of iced coffee that I was bringing to work (see number one, above).
- Be Solution Oriented. One thing that is hard to put up with is a complainer. Some teachers complain about the students, the administration, each other, the parents and public, the union, and the government. The answer to this is obvious…work on a solution. If you are upset about the students, tweak your teaching to address the issue. If you are upset with administration, meet with them to suggest improvements and offer assistance. Take on a volunteer position on your campus for the union. The power that comes from a proactive stance goes a long way towards relieving the stress of perceived helplessness.
- Detach and Go Home. Endless hours at work (or working on work at home) do not benefit either teachers or students. We need to be complete, well-rounded human beings outside of our careers. Set limits to your time, and respect them. We deserve to prioritize our own self-care. Our loved ones will be thankful, and we also will be refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Be Prepared! The most recent tangible improvement in my teaching practice has been the direct result of setting aside a five-hour block over the weekend to prepare for the following week. I teach all subjects to behaviorally challenged high school students, and the time I have set aside to lesson plan, print out work, color code, get lab supplies together, and generally get my game on has paid off in increased student learning and fewer classroom disturbances.
The Superhero Movies Of 2018, Ranked From Worst To Best
2018 has gone by too fast. It seems like yesterday when the beginning of the new year was upon us, and the advent of having so many superhero movies hitting theaters seemed like a dream come true for every fanboy and fangirl. It's also funny to look back and remember that although we ended up with a whopping nine major theatrical superhero movies, we almost had eleven. Sadly, Fox delayed both Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants to 2019 instead.
Even with those two films delayed, 2018 was still a massive year not just at the box office, but for the continued advancement of the genre on a number of levels. Whether it was through the cultural significance of a film like Black Panther or the exciting animated adventures of Incredibles 2 and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there was no shortage of exciting superhero stories told on the big screen this year.
Here are the 9 theatrical superhero films of 2018, ranked from worst to best. You can start the gallery by clicking "Next."
Yeah, Venom is an interesting film to say the least. Many have doubted Sony and their plans to create their own universe centered on Spider-Man villains that is said to be "adjacent" to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially after what happened with their proposed plans for a shared universe set within the canon of Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man films.
What director Ruben Fleischer brought to audiences is this bizarre, clunky, yet surprisingly entertaining throwback to the early 2000s era of superhero cinema. It has major narrative and technical flaws that keep it from being legitimately a "good" film beyond some moments of ironic brilliance, but Tom Hardy's performance is one of the most entertaining comic book movie performances put on screen in a long time.
8. Ant-Man and the Wasp
It's pretty hard to follow in the footsteps of such a massive crossover event like Avengers: Infinity War, but the microscopic (yes, pun intended) scale of Ant-Man and the Wasp is a nice lighthearted cleanser after witnessing Thanos' decimation. It falls short of its 2015 predecessor, but director Peyton Reed still brings in some entertaining sequences that are a nice blend of action and comedy.
Both Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly have great chemistry, and the entire climactic chase sequence is pure delight.
7. Deadpool 2
2016's Deadpool was the surprise hit of that year. While many hardcore comic book fans were excited to finally see a proper iteration of the Merc with a Mouth, the industry was particularly surprised by how mainstream audiences embraced Ryan Reynolds as the beloved antihero of the Marvel Universe.
Deadpool 2 continues that trend of self-aware comedy mixed in with the badass action directed by David Leitch. Unfortunately, the film falls into some of the trappings of a "more of the same" type of sequel, but put on a bigger scale. The film certainly could've benefited from a more clever script beyond just making everything bigger than the first. While the film never recaptures that lightning-in-a-bottle that the first film had, it still holds its own with some great character moments and perhaps the best mid-credits scene of all-time.
Plus, the additions of Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) add more to the irresistible tone that Deadpool brings to the big screen. Overall, a decent sequel.
6. Teen Titans GO! To the Movies
It's kind of funny that Teen Titans GO! To The Movies is as entertaining as it is. Sure, the film is still targeted towards younger children that tune into the series on Cartoon Network, but the film is a surprisingly clever send-up of both the superhero movie genre as well as a hilarious tribute to the lore of DC Comics seen through the eyes of the Teen Titans themselves.
Also, the fact that the film ends with a stinger that teases the possible return of the original Teen Titans series justifies its existence in more ways than one.
Aquaman is a much-needed win for the DC Extended Universe. The franchise received its biggest win in 2017 with Wonder Woman but unfortunately hit a massive roadblock with the disappointing Justice League. As it turns out, all the DCEU needed to do to get back in the right direction was to add water and filmmaker James Wan into the mix.
Wan really goes all out with this film. This is a visually stunning adventure film on both land and sea that really leans into the inherently cheesy nature of the character while simultaneously turning Aquaman into perhaps the most badass superhero in the DCEU thus far.
Some may be turned off by how campy Aquaman can get at points, but it's hard not to get swept up into the fun when you have Jason Momoa having the time of his life.
4. Incredibles 2
It has been 14 years since we were last acquainted with the Incredibles. Thankfully, they haven't missed a beat even after that long, long wait for the most-requested Pixar sequel of all-time.
It's great to see Brad Bird bounce back with this exciting sequel after the earnest, yet disappointing mess that was Tomorrowland. Here, Bird is back on his element as a brilliant storyteller and is adept at further developing these characters.
Seeing the entire family in these hilarious and death-defying circumstances is so enthralling, particularly in the film's climax. Also, everything involving Jack-Jack and Edna Mode are some of the funniest sequences of animation that Pixar has ever done.
3. Avengers: Infinity War
What else is there that needs to be said about this 2018 film? It really is the most ambitious crossover event in cinematic history, and it has sparked an entire year-long conversation about what our surviving heroes will be doing next after all the chaos.
Anthony and Joe Russo accomplished the near-impossible task of balancing out dozens of larger-than-life characters in this kaleidoscope of comic book beauty that leads to some of the most epic battles ever brought to the big screen.
Also, with Avengers: Endgame on the horizon, it's going to be interesting if that film has a moment that tops the pure awesomeness that is the scene in which Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) arrive on the battlefield in Wakanda.
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Who would've thought that an animated Spider-Man movie that features Spider-Noir and Spider-Ham on the big screen would be the best film centered on the webhead since Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2?
Leave it to the minds of Phil Lord and Chris Miller along with the incredible creative team to bring us a true love letter to the character that would make Stan Lee and Steve Ditko proud. Yes, Peter Parker will always be our original Spidey, but this film proves that the best part about being Spider-Man is the fact that he/she can come from anywhere despite their personal background and circumstances.
1. Black Panther
As big as Avengers: Infinity War was, it's harder to find a 2018 movie that has had as big of an impact on the popular culture than Black Panther. But beyond the cultural significance that comes with such a film, Ryan Coogler crafted a powerful, touching story about legacy, family, principles, power and purpose.
It's hard to log onto the internet sometimes because the world is in such a chaotic place. But Black Panther represents the power of storytelling and why seeing more diverse characters and stories on the big screen matters.
Films like Black Panther remind us about the power of cinema. It can unite audiences together despite their differences and can also inspire us to be better people. All those reasons and more are why Black Panther is the best superhero film of 2018.