October 23, 2018

To All the Tired, Stressed Teachers: A Message of Encouragement and Hope

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

This is the time of the year that I am overwhelmed and stressed (and I know that I am not alone). It's the end of the quarter. This means grades, parent/teacher conferences, Halloween, struggling learners, and much more! With this in mind, I have compiled a list to help myself (and hopefully you) cope with this time of year!

Show a Movie

Sometimes, it's okay to show a movie to students. It doesn't need to be long. It just needs to give you quiet time (or at time to catch up on grading). Please note: there are a lot of books that have great film adaptations. This keeps things educational!

"File" Student Work

Do you really need to grade everything you have collected? Let me answer that for you...NO! You do not. Not going to lie, some papers get filed away forever in the trash can. Give yourself a break. Sometimes this needs to be done. Although, if you want to feel better, put the papers in the recycle bin. You've helped the environment. Good for you!

Take a Mental Health Day

I am a huge proponent of this! I don't take a lot of days off (I have over 100 sick days). Sometimes, you need to do something for you. This school year, I am more frazzled than usual and will be taking this advice to heart. In fact, I may have already done so. 😀

Spend a Quiet Afternoon in Class

This is a strategy for older students or at least students that can write clearly.  Pick an afternoon (or morning) where no one is allowed talk, including you. Give the students directions on work that can be done without your help. If anyone has a question, they have to write it out. It's been a few years since I have done this. I may need to try this with my group this year.

Busy Work can be Your Friend

I don't give my students much busy work. However, every so often, I need them to work on something without my help. This work may or may not get filed away (see above). This works especially well on days that you need to finalize your grades.

Leave Your Work at School

This has been my favorite bit of advice. It's best to choose a day ahead of time where you will leave early. (If you don't decide ahead of time, you won't leave early any day.) There will always be work to do. Taking one night (or two or three) off will not kill you!

Go for a Walk/Exercise

I am good about exercise. Don't hate me, but I wake up and work out on the elliptical each morning. I have to since my coping strategy is eating junk food. On nice days I like to take a walk when I come home. Rough days with students (like today) make perfect ones to walk and get the anger out of your system. Since I was in such a bad mood today, I walked to the park and went across the little bridge I love so much. It's definitely a mood booster. Exercise, in general, helps release those endorphins. Start small, 5 minutes is all it takes to start. Add a minute each week until you are up to 30 minutes of continuous exercise.

Read a Book (Not for School)

When was the last time you read a book that wasn't school related? Can't remember? That makes me so sad. I am an avid reader. While I slow way down during the school year, I still average a book every 1.5 weeks. There are so many interesting genres out there. The PopSugar Reading Challenge is a fun one to experience genres you may never have discovered.

Develop a Hobby

What do you like to do that's not related to school? It's easy to wrap your whole life around school during the school calendar year. Make time for yourself. For me, I love listening to podcasts (check out By the Book, the funniest podcast out there), spending time with friends, making new items for Teachers Pay Teachers (it's actually boosted my creativity), and creating things (foods, creations with my Cricut, etc.). 

My hope is that you will take time for yourself. There is always something else that needs to be done in your classroom. It's a never ending job. Please remember, if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of your students. I'll try to remember that too!

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