I am one of you. Having taught in public school for over ten years full-time, I understand teaching. This year, more than ever, you need to know that You Got This!!! You know your job and you will just do the best you can, right? In this post, I’ll share three tips teachers can try right away to start off this school year right!
I have to say, with Covid and the uncertainty it presents, I sincerely feel for all of you!
Even though I don’t teach in a schools anymore, I’m still just as passionate about supporting students and teachers with the work I do. So, this little post is for you – for the teachers – the leaders – the heroes who are helping to raise the world’s children. Such a wonderful career. Yet, I know…you have doubts and you may even feel afraid going into the 2020/2021 school year. This is understandable.
You are not alone!
In a workshop I gave on Self-Care last school year, many teachers shared how solitary teaching can be. People who haven’t taught are confused by this statement – after all, teachers are with students! They’re not alone. But, you see, when you are the one adult in a room full of young people (whose safety you are responsible for) it does feel like you are shouldering a big burden all by your lonesome!!
With that in mind, here are some tips to start off this school year on the right foot – whether teaching in class, virtually, or both.
1: Fill your own cup first
Set a morning routine that you can follow to mentally and emotionally prepare you for the day – and it need not take hours! Pullease!! Who has the time? Simply, upon awakening, notice your thoughts. Decide, right then and there: today will be a ‘good’ day! Take 3 deep breaths. Get out of bed and feel your feet on the floor. Squeeze half a lemon into a tall glass of water (yes – before coffee!) and drink it. Now, sit down (or stand) and breathe. Maybe close your eyes – choose one intention for the day. Keep it simple and real. Maybe something like: today I won’t lose it on my kids, or I will do my best to teach ONE thing to my students. Or, I will find joy in the little moments.
2: Look for the GOOD
It’s so very tempting to dip into negativity. The only problem is that once we start dipping we may slide down further and further until we find ourselves in a horrific mood. That is no way to self-care. So, look for the good – otherwise known as ‘gratitude practice’. If you are breathing and it’s effortless – well, that’s good! If you have a roof over your head and food in the fridge – that’s pretty darn good! If you have a few people with whom you can confide and feel safe – that’s so very good! And on and on. You have agency over your thoughts – now is not the time to indulge a chaotic mindset. Instead, consciously aim for peace of mind.
3: Create a To-DON’T list
We make lists upon lists of what we must DO. Yet, we rarely make a list of that which we shouldn’t do. Such as – scrolling mindlessly through Instagram instead of sitting outside and gazing at nature. Or, unrelentingly putting ourselves down throughout the day. We may berate ourselves on not getting enough done, or being unmotivated, or not being where we’d like to be in life but really – what good does this do? Write down a few things you aim NOT to do today – and notice how that makes you feel. It’s not so hard to start taking care of yourself – as you would a friend.
Start slow with your students. Remember – you will not ruin a child if they don’t learn about onomatopoeia this year. This is one year in their long, long life. You cannot be a perfect teacher, nor should you be. Kids learn from our example. Express yourself to your students – let them know that you are trying your best but that you made a mistake or that you are confused. Own it. Your students will learn more from being around you, as a person, than from the curriculum you deliver to them through your lessons.
Teach yourself, accept who you are, embrace this job, and find the love (it’s within us and all around us!). Have a look at our YouTube Channel to find some videos you can personally enjoy and can share with your students.
What more is there? Plan some professional development days with your team! We all need support these days – don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Now get out there (or in there) and do your best!