There are a lot of tweets on Twitter, or things heard at conferences or in staff rooms, that can make educators feel guilty about how they do their job. I am sure that I am guilty of tweeting or saying something in the past that might have caused this feeling of educators but my intent, as I assume positively is also the intent of others, is to push thinking and help, but NEVER to discourage. Teaching can be physically and mentally exhausting. It is rewarding but also can be life-sucking.
Here are some shorts and quick thoughts on dealing with the stress of being a teacher.
Some days will not work out the way you want them to so it is okay to start again tomorrow.
I have had bad days as a teacher and administrator. You can go home and cry (you will sometimes) and be frustrated, but there is the next day. You do not have to get the most of out of every kid, every single day. Think of it this way…One of your students has a bad day. Would you push them to stay at school until the day turned “good” or would you maybe encourage them to step back and start again tomorrow? The ability to “get back up” is something we want to teach our kids, so it is okay to do the same. Sometimes, walking away, taking a break, doing something else, and starting again tomorrow is alright.
Your students look up to you but that doesn’t mean you need to be perfect.
John Spencer and Trevor Muir share this:
“You don’t have to be perfect. Teaching is a craft that takes years to master and even then, you’ll continue to make mistakes. And that’s okay.”
Being vulnerable and showing that you are a person not only makes you more relatable but more realistic to your students. If you are having a bad day, that is okay. I remember sharing with my students how hard it was when I lost my first dog. I was okay crying in front of them and was quite upset, and they rallied around me and checked in on me for weeks after. I promise you; we only had a better connection after this “breakdown” because they knew that even adults have tough times, and I knew that the kids had a tremendous sense of empathy for what I was going through. In a world that is becoming more “digital,” being “human” is more important than ever.
Breaks are good for you. Take them and enjoy them.
I don’t listen to education podcasts. I listen to sports podcasts. I have limited my use of social media on the weekend for education purposes. Do you know why? Because I need a break. So do you. And there is evidence that “breaks” will make you better at what you do, longterm. “Teacher guilt” is a real thing and not beneficial. Growth is essential to all educators, but the focus on growth all of the time can and will lead to burnout.
In fact, quit reading this blog because I am going to stop writing it. You probably have something much better to do 🙂
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