It seems like a cliché and overused phrase, but one of the most important things teachers can to do is take care of themselves – especially at the end of the school year. Self-care is what is going to give you energy to get through the last few weeks of school. Here are some tips to help!
Know when to say No
There are many ways to kindly and tactfully say no when something extra is asked of you, but you just don’t have the capacity. Try saying:
- “I’m sorry, I can’t do it”
- “I’m already busy”
- “Thank you for thinking of me, but not at this time”
It may not always be an extra teaching task; it could be someone outside of teaching, like a friend inviting you to an event when you’d rather be home relaxing. It’s okay to say no if you have other priorities, like lesson plans to work on, papers to grade, or even an hour of Netflix and chill!
Confide in someone you trust
Sometimes we just need to vent! Find a coworker that will listen to your frustrations and be understanding, instead of trying to solve the problem for you or give unsolicited advice. For example, maybe you have a lesson plan that just falls flat, and you’re just wondering how you can make it better. If you need help, ask them for help. If you just want to talk about it, let them know that so they know what the expectation of them is in the conversation.
Begin each day with a “temp check”
When you wake up in the morning, and you recognize that you’re just low energy that day, tell yourself it’s okay and adjust your lesson plans to be relevant to your energy level. Maybe you incorporate some extra reading time for students so you can catch up on some grading. Set limitations, make sure they’re healthy and realistic, and that you’re not causing yourself more stress.
Use your lunch and prep time…for your lunch and prep
All too often teachers are grading papers and setting up the day’s lessons during their lunch hour. It's okay to pause and say, "I'm just going to leave that over here, recharge myself, refresh my brain, take my lunch, and then I'm going to come back with a fresh set of eyes." You may find that you accomplish more, because you took that time for yourself to recharge, instead of just powering through. Sometimes, prep time can turn into social time or venting time – which may be needed on occasion – but try to stay focused and use your prep time efficiently so you don’t end up staying after school and prepping then.
Have something to look forward to
Many people put a countdown on their phone for something they’re looking forward to. This can help boost your mood, keep you motivated and in a positive mindset. Of course, teaching is rewarding, and we all have things we look forward to daily but setting a countdown for something in the future can be very motivating! It doesn’t have to be a vacation; it can be the weekend, date night, or eating ice cream in class on a Friday afternoon. It can be personal, or classroom related. Give it a try and see if it gives your mindset a positive boost!
Don't add more work for yourself
Use the resources that you already have available. Hopefully you've incorporated those resources throughout the year, and it's just a matter of shifting focus to be more finals-related than weekly lesson-plan related. Many of the platforms you’re already using include self-grading activities, assignments, readings, assessments, etc. – so use them!
Check out our library of Teacher Training Webinars to discover more tips and tricks to maximize digital and classroom learning.
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