As teachers, we often work closely with our colleagues. Not only is this a great way to share our workload, but it is also a way to share how you are doing generally. Sometimes we get into situations where it becomes very clear that our friends and colleagues are struggling. They may tell us outright, or it might be clear through their behaviors.
We have all encountered some version of perfectionism within ourselves. There are certainly ways in which perfectionism benefits us. Striving for flawlessness can often mean that you are thorough and scrupulous when approaching projects, which can be a useful skill. Perfectionism likely played a contributing role in your life successes thus far—a great resume, excellent grades…you get the picture.
Now that we’re almost halfway through the school year, it’s a good time to step back and ask yourself how you’re doing with your mental health. There’s no doubt in my mind that the semester was hard. And there were probably particular periods in the classroom that felt like lows. Were you able to harness resources (both personally and by reaching out to those around you) to manage your teacher stress and wellbeing?
Thanksgiving break provided a much-needed respite from an incredibly busy semester. And now, the end is in sight. There are only a number of weeks before the semester is over and you will have the winter break to spend time with loved ones, tend to things you’ve been putting off (hello dentist!), and finally get some real rest.
One of the more difficult experiences I had while teaching was seeing a side of myself that I didn’t know existed. A side that yelled, that was sarcastic with kids, and that felt incredibly angry. This happens to all of us when we teach, especially in the beginning years when management is particularly challenging. We find ourselves doing things we didn’t realize were within our capabilities—engaging in power struggles with 11-year-olds, rolling our eyes, and even crying in front of our class (yes, I’ll admit—I did this).
(Photo Credit: Camdiluv)
Sometimes, life can get so busy that we function on automatic pilot just to get through our day. But wouldn’t it be great if we had a reset or a “clear” button, like the kind you find on calculators, just to wipe the slate clean and view our world with fresh eyes? After all, if you don’t reset your calculator prior to running calculations, the results will be off.
(Photo Credit: lisaclarke)
I recently received the following in an email from an alumnus who stayed to teach for a third year:
“I am very interested in finding a way to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle as a teacher. I want to both be an excellent teacher and to have a healthy, balanced personal life – I figure that is the only way I can succeed as a teacher in the long term.”