It is nearing the holiday break around here, and you can feel the intensity in the air. Every student is on pins and needles, about to burst with excitement (if they haven’t already), teachers are trying desperately to hold it together; students, their personal excitement for the break, organization, classroom management, lesson plans etc…
Teaching is one of those careers that allows us to work with the most
fragile but gritty,
brilliantly enthusiastic but impulsive,
persistent but hardworking little people.
Their energy is contagious but during the holiday season it is very difficult to contain. Which can create a VERY exhausted teacher.
So, here are my foolproof tips for surviving this time of year.
- Remember your Why (linktoapreviousarticleaboutFindingyourwhy)
Remember why you became a teacher. I can tell you it wasn’t because you thought it was going to be easy- well, it might have started out that way, but then found out very quickly that THIS is not a J.O.B. that is easy. I am sure it wasn’t because of the pay, the overtime or cash bonuses (you wish).
So, what is your WHY?
Hopefully, it has something to do with…
- making an impact
- changing student lives
- the belief that these students are our future
- teaching as a calling
Grab on to that, remind yourself for the next few days Why you became a teacher and hold on to it tight because it is going to be a bumpy ride and that WHY will be your life support.
2. Change Your Mindset (Link to a post about how my Growth Mindset Discovery)
Instead of coming to work thinking about all the things that went wrong the day or week before, try and find the good. Believe in each one of those students sitting in front of you. Your growth mindset can create a classroom of students that believe in the power of persistence, perseverance, and effort.
Walk into the classroom trying to find every single positive behavior, rule follower, quiet child and give them kudos because they are holding on to their wits end just as much as you are- And doing a pretty great job. I remember what it was like as a child around the holiday break (not easy).
Walk into the school thinking about all the wonderful things you are going to do with these kids. Remember, we get to work with kids- every single day there should be something Great to celebrate (These are words that never escape me- from a wonderful mentor- I sometimes have to pull them out of the deep, dark place inside me because I have hidden it away, but I can always find it.)
The greatest word/idea from our Conscious Discipline curriculum. This idea explains that your energy, your attitude can and is Downloaded onto the students or the people around you. If you walk into a conversation and smile and add to the conversation in a positive way, the rest of the group will feed off of that positive energy. The opposite, unfortunately, also applies. If you are frowny and negative, the rest of the group will ‘download’ that energy and the conversation will turn negative.
Download through positive interactions with the students.
Fake it, till you make it!!!!!
Our campus is a growth mindset campus, but sometimes positive self-talk and effort can only take us so far.
Award good behavior
Cheer on classrooms that are really trying to hold it together
Even if you find students talking when you have asked them not to, SPIN IT. Our CHAMPS curriculum tells us to Correct Positively. Instead of saying, “I have asked you not to talk. Stop talking.” nag- nag-nag
Try a positive twist on it. “Thank you for remembering that we are not talking.”
Dunn-Rankin Reward Preference Inventory is a great ‘go-to’ if you are needing a little help finding out what your students’ motivation is.
- You will be surprised how many students will work for positive relationships and positive interactions with their teachers. (lunch time with the teacher, before school hang-out, helping out a teacher with chores)
Head over Heels TPT is a great place to go. This teacher is AMAZING! She has wonderful ideas and she Knows WHY she became a teacher. Here is a link to one of her great incentive ideas.
5. Don’t forget to have FUN!
Sometimes it is hard to let your guard down during this time of year because the students are just waiting for you to do this. But, if you don’t laugh with them, tell stories to them, or PLAY- it will lead to teacher burn-out. Enjoy this career choice you made. It really is one of the best. Plan fun activities that connect to state and district expectations but also lead to fun connected thematic units about snow, the holidays, or character traits. If the plans you have are exciting; for you and the students, then the lessons won’t feel like work for any of you.