The end of Spring Break marks the race to the finish line. Many teachers find themselves overwhelmed with all they have to do before assessment season begins and the school year ends. With only a few more weeks left in the school year, we want to provide you with a few tips to help you to finish the year strong.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
We’ve all been there, you spill your coffee on the way to the classroom, Damian pours glue over Chloe’s hair, Alex pukes in the computer lab. It’s one of those days when you can’t wait for that dismissal bell to ring. Days like this, especially towards the end of the year, are when you could use positivity and encouragement the most. Seek out friends, family, and fellow teachers who can remind you of why you became a teacher in the first place. Dear Teacher/Love Teacher is a great blog to provide you with your daily dose of encouragement when you don’t have someone to talk to.
Everything in your job is important. And it would be great if your super powers included the ability to write a behavior plan, grade math worksheets AND cut out 500 tissue paper petals for the Mother’s Day project. Unfortunately, you have yet to be bit by that radioactive bug. So, you need to prioritize. Make a to do list, starting with the things most urgent. You’ve made the list now cut it in half. Focus on the top of the list. Those are the things that you are going to focus your super powers on right now. You can revisit the rest of it next week. Don’t be afraid to take things off of your list or ask someone else to take it over. You are a superhero, but even some of the best heroes have sidekicks they delegate to. And that’s okay. Here are some other ideas of how to prioritize that monstrous to do list.
I can just see the look on your face as you read that header, “Take a break? Are you kidding? My prioritized to do list is SIX pages not two!” You’re right, there are a crazy amount of things to do, and no I’m not suggesting that this is the time to take that trip to Tahiti that you’ve been dreaming about since your first year teaching when you realized what you were really in for.
Instead of pushing yourself to “make it to the end of the year” or even just “make it to recess,” draw from Responsive Classroom’s “Time-Out” Philosophy and give yourself a break.
Let’s say Daisy has refused to take her spelling test for the third week in a row and you’re ready to lose it. Stop, take deep breaths, count to ten, sit down in a chair and close your eyes. Envision the bag of chocolates hidden in your file drawer that you will dive into once the kids go to recess. Literally take a break from that moment and use the time to self-regulate your emotions. Be obvious about it. Tell Daisy that you’re taking a break and the strategy that you’re using, suggest she use it when she feels overwhelmed (especially during her spelling tests). Not only will taking these breaks improve your mental health, they’re excellent lessons for your students to see as they attempt to manage their own emotions. Check out some of these self-regulation tips and posters for the classroom.