We all know that education has been one of the hardest hit sectors by the pandemic. Many of you have even expressed wanting out. In fact, the latest epidemic facing schools is the huge turnover of teachers and staff.
We all feel it and one Ohio teacher has some definite ideas and has even compiled these in a recently issued book. So, use his advice to find those good vibes and focus.
- Remember your why. Take time to reflect on why you became a teacher. Maybe you had a teacher who inspired you to enter the profession. Or maybe you love working with kids, knowing you play a part in their future success. Or maybe you love learning yourself and want to inspire that same love in others.
- Make a plan to protect your time and take care of yourself. Are you grading too many assignments? Responding to emails from parents at 10 p.m. or on the weekend? Can you “borrow” an idea for a project (and the necessary supplies) from another teacher? Set expectations with your students and families at the beginning of the school year. For example, maybe you will only grade two assignments per unit. Or let parents know that you will respond to emails from 7-7:30 a.m. and/or 4-4:30 p.m. each day so they don’t expect a faster response. You can’t teach at your best (and enjoy it) when your glass is only half full. Protecting your time so you have a good work-life balance is one way to fill that glass back up!
- Start learning again. Many conferences and continuing education opportunities ceased when the pandemic hit. And who had the time anyway!? Now that the world has had a chance to reset and you’re back in the classroom full-time, start seeking these opportunities to learn again. The pandemic has challenged the way education is delivered and school districts are more supportive than ever of finding innovative ways to meet the needs of their communities. So pick up a book, such as Bill Manchester’s “When You Feel Like Quitting Teaching, Read This Book” or find an in-person event (this can also help with number 4 below). Who knows, maybe finding a new strategy is just what you need to find your love for teaching again.
- Find your space. Doe Zantamata said, “Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them … your smile, your hope, and your courage.” Most of the world experienced social isolation as a result of the pandemic, and teachers are no different. Maybe you lost your smile, hope and courage. Rekindle or develop new friendships with other teachers who can support you, whether it’s by listening to your frustrations, making suggestions for how to get through to a certain student, or brainstorming new projects or assignments that reinvigorate you - and your students.
Whether you’re in your fifth or twenty-fifth year of teaching, we hope these tips help you have a long and successful career as an educator.
Allerton Hill Communications provides communication consulting to public school districts to help them engage with their constituents consistently and effectively. Read more of our blogs here.