First Year Teacher Rule #1: Take Care of YOU
The idea of self care isn't new, but as teachers we need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of the students we teach each day. I am so excited to welcome this guest post by third year teacher Hannah Sansom.
This sounds cliche, but, you MUST take care of yourself! This is one of the biggest things I have learned because your kids (yes, I say your kids) depend on you to be there. But, to be there, you must first take care of yourself physically and emotionally so that you can embrace those silly off-topic conversations, enjoy the pictures and random gifts, and wipe away students’ tears.
Physically: Take care of your health!
During my first year of teaching I completely lost my voice, was gifted the stomach bug on Christmas Day, and took too much over-the-counter medicine! That first year teacher immune system is totally a thing! I stayed up too late perfecting lessons and lost sleep over various school related things. You will make the same mistakes, trust me, we are all human. But, here are some tips to help you take care of your physical health:
Tip 1: Eat healthy (but indulge in chocolate and coffee)
Tip 2: Keep allergy medicine, Tylenol, Hand Sanitizer, and chocolate someplace safe at school (you will thank me later)
Tip 3: Invest in peppermint (for headaches) and immune defense (for the moments of getting sneezed on) essential oils (life savers!)
Tip 4: Sleep
Emotionally: Breathe and relax!
I spent many Friday nights and weekends at school planning, copying, grading, and just trying to get my head above water. School was ALWAYS on my mind. There is a perfectionist side of me that wants everything planned to a tee and done oh so right. Hence, one reason for the late hours and afternoons in the classroom.
However, I finally learned (not soon enough) that things do not have to be picture perfect. I spent hours skimming through Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers to find the cutest and most engaging activity even though I already had ones that fit the objective. Much time was wasted trying to create an Instagram perfect classroom. Must time was wasted trying to become a teacher that I was not. I just needed to be me: an imperfect, young teacher who needs to be in the moment for my kids and do her best.
I remember bringing myself to tears because I knew that I failed and let someone down, that the lesson wasn’t perfect, that I made a mistake, and that I was not the teacher I wanted to be.
Yes, you will make mistakes and you will have some not-so-great lessons. It’s part of figuring the whole teaching thing out.
Here are a few tips about taking care of yourself that I realized earlier:
Tip 1: Set a nightly time to call it quits and unwind and unplug (gym, TV show, journal and reflect, etc.)
Tip 2: Don’t work all weekend, take time to enjoy life
Tip 3: Don’t let the negative things get you down
Tip 4: Recognize that not every moment will be perfect
The first year will bring many new experiences and challenges. But, remember in it all to take care of yourself because your students need you!
You have the EduMagic in YOU!