Like today, you got out of bed and just stepped up to the line and stood with baited breath waiting for someone to take their shot? I think this time of year, many educators feel this way. It’s towards the end of the year, spring break is either almost upon you or recently over and we still have 9 more weeks to go. We’re all just a little bit more on edge. I know that this is the time when I see an uptick in the amount of parents who are frustrated and call with concerns, or students who are getting that spring fever and work isn’t being turned in on time – or at all. And let’s not forget about ourselves. The weather is getting a little bit warmer, the days are getting longer and I am antsy to get my summer vacation here as quickly as possible.
All of this combines into the perfect storm for most teachers.
You feel like it’s coming at you from all sides and you just want to scream, cry, run or hide. Maybe all of the above. So how do we keep our motivation to continue to provide the best possible education for our students? How do we continue to be those linchpins of creativity?
I have a couple of strategies that help me during this time of year. Who knows….maybe these will help us to all keep a little more sanity:
1.) It’s not personal. Nope. Not even that email that a parent sent to your administrator. Nothing is personal – people have a lot going on, we’re all stressed out and that makes everything feel very personal. But it’s not. Take a deep breath, put on your big girl (or boy) panties and ignore it to move on.
2.) Get outside! Go out for a walk over lunch. Take your kids outside for a lesson. Find a way to enjoy the longer days. Fresh air, a little movement and some sunshine always makes the days a little more bearable – for you AND your students!
3.) Take 2 minutes for yourself. Close that classroom door. Void out doing anything on your to-do list for just 2 minutes. It will give you a little perspective and give your brain a chance to recharge. Even on my busiest days, I give myself a 5 minute “play time” to go online and check my personal email, check out what’s new in entertainment, or just to sit at my desk and breathe while I stare off into space (which gets me some weird looks from passers-by). I know they’re hard to spare, but those 2 minutes will change your whole day.
4.) Get organized. I know I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. If you can keep yourself organized, you will be more effective and feel more prepared. And when you feel more prepared, you can handle the rest of it. So make it a priority today to clean out that desk or that classroom and feel like you’re on top of things.
5.) Enjoy your family/friends. Don’t let work consume you. We’re all guilty of being a little too invested in our school and students. Make sure that you are really there for your family and friends and cultivate those relationships. And no, I don’t mean by venting to them about school. Find something to do or go with them and live in that moment. Enjoy the time you have to spend with them and your work will suddenly be put in its proper place on your priority list.
Hopefully, we all have a few tricks up our sleeves for getting through the end of the school year with dignity and positivity. Do you have any tools you use that others could benefit from? If so, why not share them with us? The more strategies we have, the more healthy we’ll all be!
Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.