I saw this quote on August 1st and my initial thought was, “Said NO teacher EVER!!”
I don’t know about you, but when I think of August I don’t think of feeling the warmth unless it is the sweat dripping from us as we prepare our classrooms for students….Watching the sunset???? Try watching the sunrise as we work all night on creating lesson plans for the first week of school. Oh and live happy, don’t even get me started as we enter the third year of teaching in a pandemic!
Okay, so that was my initial reaction, as with most things in life initial reactions aren’t usually our best.😊 So, I sat with the feeling of anger as I stared at the quote a bit, and just as kiddos have a tendency to do, my daughter saved me from my downhill spiral of anger and resentment towards the words on the screen. She came and asked me to play catch with her. I closed my computer, went outside, and played catch for a whopping 10 min. before the children, next door came outside and I got ditched by my daughter so she could play with them! But, as I opened my computer back up and the words continued to stare up at me, I thought about my emotions, it wasn’t anger I was feeling it was anxiety about saying goodbye to summer and starting another school year up again!!
Let’s be real, teaching was hard before the pandemic, so it can feel like an impossible profession now. As you enter into your third year of teaching in a pandemic you might be sitting with many mixed emotions, please know you are not alone! Between masking mandates changing as quickly as you blink, hearing about learning loss everywhere you turn, and increasingly more initiatives being implemented from year to year to say it can be overwhelming would be an understatement. However, there are simple, non-invasive, things you can do, on a daily basis, to remain sane and actually enjoy your day in and day out responsibilities of teaching. Here are a few suggestions on how you can relieve yourself from the stress and anxiety about starting another school year to find the joy and excitement of a fresh start in the school year 2021-2022:
- Practice self-care. Yes, I know it is so cliche’ at this point but seriously doing 1 thing every day for yourself (even if it is just for 1-3 min.) puts you in a better place emotionally to tackle the daily stress and unpredictability that comes in education! Watch this quick video here on how to practice self-care!
- Write down your WHY and read it every day. Check out the last post of “The Progress Report,” written by Raven Szalkowski, the new ROE Professional Learning Coordinator at the ROE, as she shared with us the importance of knowing thy WHY – Check it out here!
- Expect and learn from your mistakes. Don’t stress out when lessons don’t go as planned. Learn from your mistakes, embrace them, use them as teachable moments of a growth mindset with your students. Even as I write that the Type A personality in me is smiling, so much easier said than done, but we are all human and we can plan until we are blue in the face, have the most creative, engaging lesson plan ever and it can still flop….and that is OKAY!1
- Embrace the fresh start. We are lucky, in our profession we get a fresh start 2 times a year (January and August)!! Let go of the stress from the past school year, forgive past hurts/disagreements with colleagues. You get the opportunity to meet a whole new group of students and parents, feel the excitement and look forward to the new exciting adventure ahead!!2
- HAVE FUN!! It doesn’t matter if you teach Pre-K or High School students. You GET TO hang out with kids all day! See the world through their curious, exciting, naive eyes. Play games with them, laugh alongside them, genuinely listen to their stories, I guarantee any bagage you might be feeling or stress you are carrying will lighten when you stop to really enjoy the ease and innocence of hanging out with kids!
I can’t prevent school from starting for you or make summer longer; but hopefully, the tips above will serve as a reminder that although we might have one of the hardest jobs in the world….we also are a part of one of the most amazing, fun and enjoyable professions ever!!
So, to help kick your 21-22 school year off on a positive note, I thought we would do a little giveaway. If you want to win Kane County ROE’s INSPIRE box for September be the first person to email me (email@example.com) letting me know the following:
1. The best part of your summer
2. What you are looking forward to most about the 21-22 school year
I hope you had a great summer and am excited to learn alongside you this year!
1Six Emotional and Physical Steps to Prepare New Teachers for Back ….” 11 Aug. 2016, https://medium.com/inspired-ideas-prek-12/6-emotional-and-physical-steps-to-prepare-new-teachers-for-back-to-school-8c75a2e60018. Accessed 9 Aug. 2021.
2Mentally Preparing For Going Back To School – The Highly Effective ….” 27 Jan. 2017, https://thehighlyeffectiveteacher.com/mentally-preparing-for-going-back-to-school/. Accessed 9 Aug. 2021.
Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning