It’s tough being a teacher. Sometimes it’s hard not to drown in your workload and all the pressure of your responsibility. This can lead you to question yourself and question your profession. Self-care is an important part of life as a teacher. Here are ten things to remind yourself when you’re feeling down.
1. You love your subject.
Whatever it is that you teach, you teach it for a reason. You dedicated your time to learning about the things you need to teach. You did that for a reason. Try to remember why you wanted to be a teacher in the first place. What was it that excited you about you subject?
2. You got the job for a reason.
Even when you’re passionate about your subject, sometimes you can feel like a fraud and you don’t really know what you’re talking about. That’s not true. You have made a career from teaching your subject. Your school, organisation and students all trust that you are capable. Remember that they saw something special in you. You got this.
3. Nobody knows everything.
And nobody is expecting you to know everything. There is always more to learn. If you’re asked a question and you don’t know the answer it’s ok to admit that. Tell your students that you aren’t sure and will get back to them. Make a note and look it up. You’re not failing by not knowing, you’re showing your students that it’s ok to ask questions and it’s ok to not know it all. Encourage them to be curious and always looking for new information.
4. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
Sometimes we can repeatedly struggle with something. It might be that a student has behavioural problems and just isn’t responding to your techniques. It might be that you just can’t seem to get a piece of information to your students in a way they can understand. Talk to your colleagues about it. Ask parents what strategies they find effective in managing their child’s behaviour. Other people are going to have perspectives that you don’t and one of them might be just what you need. Asking questions will just make you a better teacher.
5. Sometimes you need a break.
As term wears on it can be hard not to burn out. Many teachers have a lot of grading and planning to do at home too. If you need to take a personal day and not do any of it, don’t feel guilty. You’re only human. Sometimes you’re going to need a break. Giving yourself time to recharge is going to help you come back revitalised and you’ll end up much more productive.
6. You don’t need to do it all yourself.
If you’re struggling with your workload, learn to delegate. Do you have an assistant teacher? What activities can they run? Parents also need to play their part in their child’s education. What can you ask parents for support with? Allowing the children to take responsibility for themselves will help them to become mature, confident and independent. Could you choose a student each day to take responsibility for a task? Can you put systems in place to manage your classroom such as an award for the tidiest table?
7. You can’t do it all at once.
Don’t get overwhelmed by everything you need to get done. Break it down into small targets and schedule it in a manageable way. Looking at the big picture can make tasks a bit too daunting. Take things one step at a time. Think about the important tasks and prioritise them in your schedule. If it’s something extra and you don’t get around to it that doesn’t really matter. Try not to bite off more than you can chew.
8. You got this.