Teachers are devoted to the success and well-being of their students. They constantly think about them and what they can do to help. Teachers are usually also perfectionists who can constantly doubt themselves, and often spend more time than what they signed up for to improve their teaching techniques and address the lack of resources in schools.
With all these other tasks related to in-class teaching — like planning, correcting, communicating with parents and professional development, to name a few — it’s easy to forget to take care of oneself. By wanting to avoid school drop-outs at all costs, teachers forget to break free from their daily routine. Here are 5 useful tips for recharging to keep in mind. After all, taking care of yourself is essential in order to keep taking care of your students!
1. Plan the winning conditions to allow a recharging moment
In order to take your mind off teaching, it is important to plan for it. A weekend can be anything but relaxing if your internal voice keeps reminding you of everything you have to do for Monday morning. To succeed, follow these two golden rules: plan properly and limit the quantity of work you bring home.
First, working proactively allows you to increase your feeling of control and, consequently, decrease anxiety. With strong planning, you know what to expect, so you can truly enjoy those relaxing moments. Properly planning other personal aspects can also give you time to relax. Planning meals and lunches for the week can save you considerable time and stress!
Finally, while it’s impossible to get everything done while in class, you must limit the work you bring home and do on your own time. If you can’t leave your correction piles at school, you can compromise. For example, correct the math exams during the weekend, but leave essays at school. This will free up some quality time at home.
2. Go outside — even when you are not monitoring the students!
Teachers are the first to encourage students to close their screens and play outside. Why not take your own advice? Enjoying an outdoor activity, whether it’s a simple walk or a ski weekend, provides oxygen to your brain and helps you recharge your batteries. It’s important to find any outdoor activity more interesting than monitoring at recess. That shouldn’t be too hard!
3. Have fun without a pedagogical ulterior motive
To recharge your batteries, why not read a good book or watch a series of your choice without having to create an educational sheet for your students? Read that book that has been on your bedside table for months, or watch that movie that has been in your Netflix watchlist since you opened your account. Bonus points if the activity includes delicious snacks that are not necessarily nutritional!
4. Talk about something else at home
Even if you are tempted to share classroom anecdotes - and it’s important to vent about some more difficult parts of our day - it’s also critical to think about something else once you are home. In order to really disconnect, trace a clear line between work and home, and avoid bringing back your students and their worries home with you.
5. Find a hobby that has nothing to do with school
There is nothing wrong about reading books on pedagogy or new practices during your downtime, or even about creating your own teaching material based on great Pinterest ideas. After all, educators are first passionate people! However, try to find a hobby that has nothing to do with school, just so you can think about something else and recharge. Whether it’s gardening, dancing, knitting, baking or anything else, a hobby done simply to pass the time reminds us that we not only teachers, but people too. Bonus: it enriches your life and gives you a new passion to share with your students!
Taking your mind off teaching for a while does not make you any less of a passionate teacher. On the contrary, if you are rested and relaxed, you will be more efficient and able to spend even more energy on your students. It’s a win-win situation!
Ariane Lefebvre holds a degree in early childhood and primary education from UQÀM and is passionate about her career as a kindergarten teacher. Children’s literature and fostering a welcoming environment both hold a very important place in her heart. She is also currently completing her advanced graduate diploma in Educational Institution Management.