The last two years have brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “teacher tired.” Last year we were teaching face to face with our kiddos. We wore masks, used dividers, and kept 6 feet apart the best we could. It seemed like every week we had a staff meeting, the rules were ever changing in order to follow the guidelines. I don’t need to get into all of the other things that played into last year to make it work because if you know…you know. You are either doing it right now or you have experienced this way of teaching already.
Now we are teaching what seems to be “back to normal”, but really, it's not. We are still in learning recovery mode with our students. We are trying our best to be there for our students emotionally, socially, and academically. We want to create a safe place for them to learn and give them a person to trust but we are also looking for the same things in our own workplace. We are tired. We are tired because we want what is best for our students. We are tired because we have had to relearn ways to teach our students again and again in such a short amount of time. We are tired because with all that seems to go against us, we still care… so much.
Even through it all, we are still in the classroom working everyday trying to give the best to our students. How can we keep the energy up? How can we keep the momentum going in a positive direction? We have created a list of some ideas to help you feel less teacher tired and more excited to be in your classroom. This is not to say that these ideas are a fix all. Not in the least. But we are here to tell you that these ideas will at least help you create momentum, create some positive energy and joy in your teaching and classroom. We still have days, but we are here to encourage you, cheer you on, and help in any way we can!
IntegratED Workshop: We are always saying we have too much on our plates and we do not have the time. This is true more than ever right now. With our workshop model we are helping teachers get back some of that time, meeting multiple standards, and enjoying our time in the classroom.
Recharge: I don’t know about any other educators, but I always feel guilty taking a day unless I am so sick I can’t function. It is easier to be at school than to make sub plans and be gone. But I am here to say that it is OK to take a day to recharge! There is a saying, “If you are better you will do better.” Take time to write those plans and take a day for yourself. Rest, recharge, rejuvenate.
We spend time every day recharging our phones but often go months without recharging ourselves.”
Stand with each other: I have seen so many posts talking about how schools wouldn’t run without teachers and that it's not stainable. Here’s the thing. If we work together and do what we know how to do best…teach. We can sustain and create a learning environment for our students and we can love.
Your Circle: One thing that has been a huge impact in my career, both positive and negative, is who I surround myself with at work and in my personal life. It is important that at work you are surrounding yourself with those who are encouraging you and supporting you. Negative talk and thoughts spread like wildfire and can be so harmful to one’s mindset and attitude. Who do you have in your circle?
Laughter is the best medicine: In our classrooms every morning we do Joke of the Day. Some of these jokes are terrible but hilarious. One morning our janitor stopped me in the hallway and said that one of our students tells him our joke of the day everyday at lunch. A smile can change someone's day. Imagine what laughter can do?
Do something you love: I have been so busy with all that comes with teaching right now I wasn’t making time for things that I enjoy doing. I decided this year to start reading books again…for fun! I take time at the end of the day to enjoy reading what I want to. What would you choose to do? Even if it's only for 20 minutes. Try to find something that brings you joy that is not school related.
Megan and Kara are educational leaders, professional development experts, and current classroom teachers who are improving the way instruction is being delivered in the standard classroom.