Burning the candle at both ends often leads to teacher burnout. Practice teacher self-care to give students your all without losing yourself.
For many, the career of a teacher includes a schedule of caring for the educational needs of others: teaching during the day, combined with reviewing lesson plans, combing through homework, and correcting exams at night. Though weekends should be dedicated to relaxing and recharging from the week’s work of being a real-life superhero, this off-time is usually spent catching up on administrative work or continuing to review student assignments instead of focusing on teacher self-care.
While this wholehearted dedication is commendable, it is a recipe for disastrous exhaustion and leaves little or no room for teachers to focus on themselves. Successful educators aren’t those who run on empty, they give their all to students after dedicating precious time to helping themselves through intentional teacher self-care.
1. Fundraising Class-supply Financing
Being a dedicated teacher not only depletes emotional energy, but also financial reserves. Teachers are known to spend their own money to design and stock a classroom that will cultivate young minds when district funding falls short. This common, yet unfair practice, forces teachers to invest hard-earned money into their classrooms while sacrificing goods and experiences that could be used to improve their quality of life. Rather than spending a portion of your salary on classroom supplies, reach out for help through teacher fundraising sites. By raising money online, educators can maintain classroom-supply stock, but also relieve a source of stress to focus on teacher self-care improve their quality of life.
2. Pick Up a Good Book
Encouraging students to read comes with the teaching territory, but who is monitoring educators to ensure they are able to carve out time for reading in their own lives? Part of teacher self-care is recognizing the areas in which a deficit is occurring. Avid readers often find that a busy schedule cuts into time that was once spent with beloved books. Teachers who find that pleasure reading time is slipping away must remain diligent in carving out at least a few minutes each day to read, if only a few chapters.
3. Stay Off Social Media
Deficits in time for teacher self-care might not only result from dedication to students, but could also occur when educators are sucked into a social-media black hole. It can happen to anyone, but spending too much time on social media — whether scrolling, trolling, or commenting — can eat away at valuable hours that could better serve teacher self-care. Create a social media schedule that limits the time you spend on social media each day. Set a timer to ensure unnecessary time isn’t spent becoming lost online.
4. Home is Where Healing Is
Speaking of setting time limits, cutting down on school obligations completed at home can promote a healthy work-life balance. This might seem like an impossible goal, but by limiting distractions (see above regarding curbing social media overload), teachers can complete their own homework in a timely manner. By focusing on completing work before leaving the classroom, bringing work to a cafe or quiet bar, or visiting the library, teachers can enjoy their homes as a space for teacher self-care in which things like pleasure reading, exercising, or enjoying family time take priority.
These suggestions are simply starting points and preliminary changes from which teachers can begin to reclaim their lives outside the classroom. Start small and eventually begin to follow a schedule that provides teacher self-care by incorporating activities that promote personal growth. By practicing teacher self-care, educators will not only be happier, but also more efficient and better prepared to teach students.