Congrats! You survived the first few weeks of school!
If you’re like me, you prepared for weeks with many restless nights wondering if everything was perfect and ready for your new group of scholars. Doesn’t it feel great to start a new year with a clean slate of kiddos and minimal desk clutter? Now, you can execute all the new ideas and strategies you learned from your summer PDs, roll out those new lessons you read about, and finally carry out your plans to eat healthy and workout!...or at least that’s the plan! Much like New Years Resolutions, we all start the school year off with lofty goals and a plethora of new duties. If you haven’t by now, you will soon feel overwhelmed with the demands of our calling as a teacher. Many times, because we love what we do, we allow ourselves to take on too much, overcommit, or get carried away with responsibilities, only to get burnt out by October.
To keep this from happening, don’t forget to keep YOURSELF healthy. Refrain from allowing yourself to feel like you’re drowning in lesson plans, grading, and curriculum building. In order for us to be the “superhero teacher” our kiddos, parents, and colleagues need, we HAVE to take care of ourselves. As educators, we have bought into the lie that this makes us “selfish,” when in reality, taking care of you is the only way we will have the stamina to care for your students all year long.
You’ll inevitably have worries for your kiddos that you’ll take home with you, but don’t let these overtake you where your own personal needs become completely neglected. Schedule a mani-pedi, go on a dinner date, or make time to catch up with colleagues or old friends. It’s crucial for us to realize the most important tool for a student’s education is a healthy and happy teacher. This means when you finally have some down time, even during a school day, allow yourself to a moment to breathe. Take a stroll down the hall and check up on the first-year teacher, send a little wave and wink to the veteran. Don’t feel guilty to have lunch with your team and NOT talk about school. Build one another up and get to know one another on a personal level.
Our kiddos will get taken care of. There are many like-minded adults on your campus with the same goal of loving and caring for students... but the question is, who is going to take care of YOU? This year, keep in mind the best way to help our scholars is to practice self-care.
I wish you all a healthy year, filled with laughter, the joy of seeing your students’ “aha moments” and those “can you believe that just happened?” stories that make it all worth it!
Yuri Lewis - 8th Grade ELAR Teacher, TJ Rusk Middle School