This week I had the opportunity to talk to a bunch of teachers from all over the country. Some had gone back to school mid-August and others just last week. When talking to teachers about how they’re managing their school year so far, the overwhelming response was, “exhausted, but hopeful.”
School just started, and many teachers are already feeling overworked, overtired and exhausted. The more we feel this way, the more hope and promise diminish. I’m left wondering:
- How do we manage our workloads and exhaustion? And…
- How do we keep hope alive?
When I hear about “managing workloads and exhaustion,” I almost want to cry! What this makes me think of is “another thing I have to do” or “another thing I have to fix.” If you feel the same way, I get it! Our list of action items include: lesson plans, student issues, parent needs, administrative requests, grading, assessments, politics, curriculum, bureaucracy, CCLS, APPRs, IEPs… —> it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting AND it’s also our profession, our love, or at the very least, our income. The only person to change this is us, so we have got to take control and the very first step is…
Taking control of our thoughts. If we keep saying “it’s exhausting,” guess what, it will be! When we say something is exhausting, there’s no where to go from there. But if we say that something is challenging, we can choose to be up for the challenge (or not!). Do you see where I’m going here?
Are things still tiring and difficult? Yes! But we’re choosing a more powerful way to tackle them. Remember the goal is to keep hope alive, but when we’re just plowing through life we become overtired and hope dies.
A sure fire way to keep hope alive is all about perspective. Ask yourself, “What’s my real purpose here? What truly matters?” Focus your energy on the things that matter. Seriously, I give you permission. Do whatever you can to keep perspective alive and hope will surely thrive! #happyteachers #edchat
For example, when I ask myself “what’s my real purpose here?” my answer is to have fun and connect with the kids. I have a great picture on my desk – one where I’m getting a bear-hug from a student – that reminds me of why I’m a teacher in the first place. I also repeat this mantra to myself several times a day, “I’m up for the challenge. Remember to have fun today.”
- Be mindful of your language (ie: “I’m exhausted” doesn’t serve you)
- Keep perspective by asking yourself, “What’s my real purpose here?” and put your energy on that. It will fuel your soul and energy reserves, and it will make you an awesome, powerful teacher.
- Trust yourself. You’re extraordinary!