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11 Teacher Self Care Tips

self care self-care Dec 05, 2019
Self care is essential in a profession known for burnout. 
1. Use Your Sick/Personal Days

A mental health day is a justifiable sick day. Better to have a mental health day than to be sick for days because you wore yourself out. Look at the calendar and see when your longest stretches are without a break (no Monday off or other holiday). Make a note of possible days you would want to take off to give yourself a break and tentatively put them on your calendar.  Maybe plan a long weekend or take a random Wednesday off (my favorite).

2. No. Say it. Often.

NO is a powerful word. Don't be afraid to use it. You can always change your mind and say yes later (on rare occasions), but it's really hard to go back on a yes.

3. Do Not Disturb

Put a sign on your classroom door when you are working on planning or grading. You'll have less interruptions and have more focused work time.

Do not disturb your heart as well. Don't listen to negativity. Have a standard answer when...

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Advice for New Teachers

True story.

My very first year teaching, was a year of surprises, lots of learning and improvising. I had 34 kids in a 3/4 split that quickly turned into a straight 4th grade. The school was in a very poor, rough area of Los Angeles. I was in a mobile all alone at the furthest end of the school with no classroom phone (this was before cell phones). The teachers at the school were reserved and not exactly welcoming to a young teacher at first. I realized later, the teachers had stacked the class I was given as were regretting that just a bit. Oops.

About 2 weeks into school, I had assigned some reading to the class and they were to get busy while I started working with a small group of struggling readers. Within the first minute of that assignment I had a student pick up his desk, throw it and shout, "I'm NOT going to do this!" To say I wasn't prepared for this would be an understatement.  I stood in shock for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only seconds. Truly, I...

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10 Things Teachers Should NEVER Apologize For

self-care teaching Aug 15, 2019

There are certainly plenty of things to have regrets about or beat ourselves up about as teachers and as parents. But... here's a few you should never apologize for.

1. A lesson that didn't go as planned.

So what?! As my mom would say..."quit boo hooing about it, learn something from it and try again". Show your students how to accept failure and start over. Now, there's a lesson worth teaching! Your failure is a powerful teachable moment for you to use with your students.

2. Sticking to and following through on your classroom management plan even when students or parents aren't happy about it. 

This is a big one! If you don't hold to your standards and expectations, then parents and students are going to fight you all year. Being firm is not mean or personal, it's just the law in your kingdom. Get yourself prepared with a list of all the objections you've gotten from kids or parents in the past. Next, write down your reasoning the way you want to sound when you answer them....

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Making Summer Fun, Even on a Teacher Budget

self-care summer Jun 27, 2019

I can a be a bit of a workaholic if I let myself. I just LOVE what I do so I always have projects and teachers to help. That means, I have to plan for keeping kids busy and getting the family out and about, especially in the summer. 

My kids don't like to do a lot of organized stuff over the summer, so I have to plan a bit of structure into our days or the summer slips by way too fast.

I know how hard it is to live on a teacher budget. But with summer here, we all still want to have fun every week. So, here's an easy way to make sure you get to do fun things and still stay within your budget.

Prep

First, take 5 minutes to make a list of all the activities you and your family want to do. Everyone helps. This is the "no promises what's your dream" list. You can rein it in once you're done. 

Now, arrange the activities into groups of your choosing. Perhaps you have a group for free things, one for inexpensive things and one for more expensive items. Or maybe you have them...

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Teacher Tired Should NOT Be Considered Normal

self-care Apr 17, 2019

Raise your hand if you are #teachertired. I see you, all of you. You're worn out!

I'm sure we can all agree we got into this teaching gig with the same enthusiasm and expectations for our future success as teachers. We looked forward to making a positive difference in students' lives, to helping them to love learning, to help students learn exponentially and to contribute to their become amazing people. It wasn't going to be our job; it was going to be our vocation.

So where does it all go wrong?

Sure we do a lot of what we hoped to accomplish but we're worn to the bone. Why are we so tired and overwhelmed all the time? Well... there are lots of factors contributing to that. We could go on and on, right?! But, let's deal with the ones we can actually control.

Taking Control of Your Wellbeing

Here's the ones we can control (off the top of my head): energy level, sleep, self-care, preparation, knowing how to say no, confidence, time management, classroom management, how much work we...

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3 Simple Brain Break Strategies You Can Use on the Fly

Brain Breaks

Everyone needs brain breaks throughout their day to be at their most efficient and productive. We know from research that brain breaks reduce stress and increase retention of learning. What’s not to like about that?!

Go Noodle Anyone?

Taking brain breaks works with our students and for us as well. What did we ever do before GoNoodle?! But GoNoodle takes time, something that we don’t always have a lot of.

There are those days (ok, a lot of days) we only have a minute or two for a much needed brain break in the midst of a busy day. Sound familiar? Then there are days we simply don’t have an extra second, much less minutes. Here’s how squeeze those brain breaks in on the fly.

Simon Says Lightening Round

Play Simon Says as fast as you can talk without anyone ever “getting out”. Stop briefly when you get kids to mess up and say “Gotcha”. Then, keep going.

Clap Snap Patterns

These first two are best used for waiting times,...

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There's No Tired Like Teacher Tired

self-care Jun 13, 2018

Teacher tired is a real thing.

No one, except another teacher, can understand that kind of tired. Add in a family and suddenly, the teacher tired gets through the roof.

Teachers, I'm just going to say it.... You HAVE to take care of yourself! It's just not an option to keep putting yourself last. There is a reason the airlines tell us to put on own masks on first. You can't help anyone else if you can't breathe! Let's face it, we can't being our best selves when we don't take care of ourselves.

I know what you are going to say... you feel guilty about taking time for yourself when you have so much to do. Plus, you have parent guilt about not spending enough time with your family because you are always "working" on the stuff you bring home. You can't go on that way. Let me just point out one teeny, tiny thing... that Teacher Tired has a lot to do with lack of sleep, guilt,  and caretaker burnt out.

It's time to make a pact. Repeat after me...

I, (state your name),...

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Perfection, Social Media and The Teacher Next Door

self-care teaching Oct 18, 2017

Keeping up with the teacher next door (or our Pinterest Pals) is an impossible task. But, we still try. What is it about all that perfection that is so alluring, even when we know it's not realistic?

Ok, this will date me, but I just have to share this perfect example of perceived perfection. I remember watching The Jetsons's cartoon on TV when I was young. There was this one episode where Jane Jetson gets a phone call on the video phone early in the morning. She quickly grabs her "morning mask", literally a mask that she places in front of her face before answering the call from her friend. The mask looks like her all done up and hides her real "just rolled out of bed making the kids lunches" face. Once the call is done, she puts the mask away and goes back to her morning with her friend none the wiser. 

Let's face it, everyone wears masks. We just don't always know what the masks others are wearing are and what's real.

Well, it's time to put our blinders on. 

Quit...

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Thriving Mode: How I Quit Surviving and Started Thriving

Survival Mode is for the Birds

I got so tired of survival mode, so I chose a new way to be.  I call it Thriving Mode. It's all about investing in systems to make your life run smoothly. Can you say auto pilot? There are many things we do that need to become habits so we can put them on auto pilot. Why do we train our students, but don't train ourselves? It's time to lead by example.

Auto Pilot

So, the first question is... What can go on auto pilot, and what can't? I'm so glad you asked!

School arrival time is on auto pilot.

Just do it, I told myself. I trained myself in the new habit of getting to school 1 hour early. I say HABIT intentionally. A habit is automatic, no thinking required. This became my best work time- uninterrupted, focused planning time.

The 2 Minute Tidy

I train students in the art of the 2 Minute Tidy. At the end of the school day, I leave 2 minutes to clean up. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Then, everyone works as fast as they can to clean up everything...

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9 Things Teachers Should Never Apologize For

self-care teaching Jul 26, 2017

There are certainly plenty of things to have regrets about or beat ourselves up about as teachers and as parents. But... here's a few you should never apologize for.

1. A lesson that didn't go as planned. So what. Learn something from it and try again.Show your students how to accept failure and start over. Now, three's a lesson worth teaching.

2. Being really good at something others aren't. If you resumer organized but others aren't and they give you trouble about it, shame on them. Enjoy your strengths and use them. We all have enough faults worry about, do don't add your strengths to the worry list.

3. Not having a Pinterest Perfect classroom. A perfectly coordinated room does not make you a better teacher. Either decorating in your thing or it's not. Make your room comfortable and welcome for you and your students. That's enough. Just teach.

4. Doing things your own way. Being different is a strength, not a fault. In some schools, teachers are expected to go lock step together...

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