When I feel like I am burning out or overwhelmed with circumstances, I find it helpful to expand my skill set with professional reads. Over my 13 years teaching, I have learned that my feelings are not new, and there are many people in this field that go through similar situations or have gone through it. There are tons of valuable professional books that can help you get a better hold on teaching.
Another thing that helps is having a good teacher peer and even a mentor. Even the best teachers have their moments of feeling overwhelmed. I like to use them as a reliable source and see how they problem solve. What works for some may not work for me and vice versa, but it is always good to see other options.
Most importantly, close your ears to any rumors, negativity or unkind words you hear. It will only make you feel worse, and the goal is to remove any type of negativity. I have learned that negativity is what brings me down.
I am not the most organized person, so when it comes to things I need to do, I set deadlines for myself. I like having things ready a week or two in advance (especially data, report cards, assessments, and anything admin related). Using a lesson plan book keeps you in line, on task, and prepared with your materials. I have changed lessons the day of, but I focus on the fact that my role is to teach the child, not teach content for the sake of it.
Keeping myself happy makes me a better educator. I have learned that when I’m unhappy — whether because of work or not — I am not as motivated or passionate. I have to take care of me too, and I try to make sure I do something I love to help recharge me.
If there is one thing every 1st year teacher should know, it’s that even with experience teaching, you are never prepared. Each year will be different, and your energy is going to set the tone of your classroom. You also have to be upfront with rules and expectations. Set the bar high because children love a challenge.
Thrive Global is partnering with DonorsChoose, the leading platform for giving to public schools, on a new special section, How Teachers Thrive, to share the emotional and self-care resources teachers need to improve their well-being. If you want to help teachers create a more equitable playing field for all students, find a classroom project that inspires you on DonorsChoose.org, and enter the promo code THRIVE during checkout to have your donation DOUBLED during the month of August!
Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.