Everyone knows that a teacher’s work week is not 40 hours. That is what we are contracted, but the time, energy and focus that it takes to be a teacher is a 24-7 job. Am I right? It can be difficult to wake up thankful each day for the job you face, but here are a few tips that might help.
Frame your class picture.
Snap a class picture and frame it in your home. Place the picture it in a central location. When conversations happen about a student, you can share their face with your significant other or children. Talk about your students with your children. This will show your own children how much their teachers love them as well. Focus on the positive when you see those smiling faces and remember that they are your passion for teaching and what brings you joy. Forget about the paperwork, lesson plans, and negative energy from co-workers.
Use your Notes App.
Keep a running list in your phone in the Notes App of things that your students, coworkers, or administrative team does that makes you feel loved. Did a student say something hilarious today? Type it out or write it down. In moments of despair, stress, and heartache (we all know they will come), read this list. Did a student show incredible growth on their post test? Record that down too! You played a role in that! Focus on this list when times get tough and it will bring a smile to your face.
Jot down inspiration everywhere!
Write scripture or inspirational quotes EVERYWHERE to remind you throughout the day of your calling or purpose in life. Jot it down in your planner, lesson plan book, or on a sticky note. Place sticky notes or index cards with Bible Verses or inspirational messages on your mirror, computer screens, door knobs, etc. This will help keep you going on tough days.
Exercise as often as possible.
Nothing can get rid of stress like a little late night jog or power walk. Take some time for YOU and go enjoy a little quiet time outside. This is a great time to think about and pray for your students, yourself, your school family, and administrative team, because more than likely that is where your stress is coming from.
Keep a box!
One of the toughest years I taught was my second year teaching. I was moved to a new grade level and it was UP, not down like I wanted. I received a call that my husband was in a head-on collision. The next week, I came in to find a single card on my desk from a student who struggled terribly to read and write. I remember crying when he told me how much I meant to him and how much he needed me. This was the day that I started my “box”. It is full of student cards, drawings, letters, and keepsakes. When I need a little pick-me-up and reminder of why I chose this insane profession, I pull out my box and cry, laugh, and wonder if I ever taught a single grammar lesson.
Turn it to NIGHT mode!
Each night before bed, turn your phone on night mode. This will ensure a good night’s rest. No vibrating with alerts to disrupt your sleep patterns (whether you think it is a problem or not). I didn’t think my phone was a problem since I keep it on vibrate, but when I started setting it on night mode, I woke up more refreshed and energized. #justtrustme
Lift Others Up
If you need to feel more thankful for your job or profession, tell others why you are thankful for them! Send an email or text to your team, co-workers, administrators, and friends. Tell them how you appreciate their hard work and dedication. More than likely, when you need it the most, you will get a text or email back. “Throw kindness around like confetti!”
Once a month, I treat myself to something. It can be big (within reason) or small as a reward for my hard work. This keeps me rejuvenated and ready to tackle the job of teaching. I usually get something that will help make my job easier. For example, an Erin Condren Planner was my gift to myself in June, July I bought a pack of Flair Pens, and this month I have my eye on a new pair of Tieks (massive splurge alert).
I can’t guarantee that burn out won’t hit, because it will. I can’t promise that you will make it the entire 30 years until retirement, because I can’t promise I will make it either. Together, we can promise that each day we will wake up Thankful for the breath in our lungs and swear to give it our all in everything that we do for our profession, family, and teaching community.
Join the conversation! What do you do to wake up thankful? Comment below or head over to Facebook and tell me there! Thanks for reading!