Teachers are superheroes, but saving the world comes with challenges. By starting with self-care and self-management, you will remain a high-performing teacher all year long. Below are six winning strategies to get you started on your journey to counteract stress and prevent burnout.
1. Plan Ahead & Stay Organized
Staying your best as a teacher means taking time to plan; proper preparation will make a difference for you and your students. Teachers who plan are more likely to relax on the weekends and show up Monday refreshed and ready to teach. Make it a point to have desk areas and turn-in trays organized before leaving work each day – a clear space calls for a clear mind.
2. Keep the Classroom Fun
Keep energy high by planning exciting things to do throughout the year. If you have a favorite unit you love to teach, consider saving that one for a testing time when students display low energy. Planning for something you know you will rock, and students will enjoy, is a great way to stay charged throughout the year. If there is a hands-on project that you know your students will love, consider adding that to your April or May calendar so you can end the year on a high note.
Get the body moving and blood flowing! Exercise is a super-easy way to jumpstart your morning. You can even include movement-based activities in your lessons to engage students and get in a bit of exercise at the same time. You might already have a fitness routine, so make sure you keep at it! If you are looking to build a community at your school and already have a tight schedule, consider starting a teacher fitness class. Nothing brings people together like a staff Zumba or yoga session!
4. Stay Hydrated
Hydrate those vocal cords, teacher! Water is important for energy, which you need a lot of. Make sure you are consuming enough water each day. Consider switching up your water container to increase hydration throughout the day. You can even make a challenge with your students to maintain your goal. Remember, your classroom is made up of teammates working together toward the same outcome. Don’t be afraid to set a phone reminder throughout the day to hydrate at specific times.
5. Find a Sleep Schedule
Sleep is important for overall health, but it especially becomes vital when it comes to your ability to teach. Your mood, cognitive performance, overall health, and reaction time are all impacted by the amount of sleep you are getting. Put the device away in the evenings, only set a timer on to remind you it’s time to wind down for the night. There are a million things happening each day, so write down your thoughts before turning in for the night; this can clear your mind and help focus on sleeping soundly. You are an asset, and your sleep schedule is one of the most impactful areas of your wellness as a teacher.
6. Reset Daily
This might be new for you, so be sure to take note! One of the easiest ways to prevent teacher burnout is to recharge throughout the day to avoid crashing. Take a minute or two to set your intention for the next lesson or walk around the room before sitting down at your desk. Those ideas can serve as a much-needed body and mind reset. Consider building in work timers throughout your day so make sure you are getting up and moving at least once every hour. Many apps and smartwatches now track your active minutes – use that to your advantage. When each bell rings, say a favorite quote, or re-read current goals you have written down.
Remember your students need you at your best every day so commit to that now! You can prevent teacher burnout today, just by implementing these simple tips.