Our Top 3 Tips for Teachers

This week teachers across the country head back to school. If you are one of these teachers, thank you! What you do every day makes such a difference to the lives of not only your students but their families and our community. Teachers are one of the most valuable resources!!

While we know that teaching is a career that brings great joy at times, we also know that it has daily challenges! And sometimes “challenges” is an understatement! After 12 years in the classroom I’ve experienced many of these challenges. Looking back now I can laugh but in the moment… Perhaps not so much!

Here are three tips to help you set yourself up for a great year and to help you get over those inevitable days when it all goes to custard!

1.  Decide on the classroom environment that you want to create.

What would the ideal day in your classroom look like? What would it sound like? What would you be feeling? What would you and your students be doing? What would you be telling yourself (self-talk plays a large role in how we feel).

I get it, after 12 years in the classroom I know that there are many things that happen in the day that are out of our control, but if you could imagine, just for a moment what your ideal day in the classroom would be like and then consider the following:

To move you and your class toward experiencing that day what would your:

  • Standards need to be (your standards for yourself and the standards the expectations of your students)?
  • Values need to be?
  • Beliefs need to be?
  • Support system need to be like?
  • Classroom structures need to be?
  • How would your day be structured?
  • What resources would you need?
  • How would you be caring for yourself both through the school day and outside of school?

Once you know the answers to the above questions you can start to move toward creating a phenomenal classroom environment and your ideal day in the classroom.

2.  Make time for you!

I know easier said than done when there are lessons to organise, resources to get together, term plans and individual education plans due and a classroom to set up… Oh, yeah and a new class of students to meet, make welcome and teach!

Making time for you is one of the most important things you can do through the school year, for yourself, for your family and for your students. No one wins if you burn out!

So how do you do this? By making yourself a priority in your own life. Set time for yourself aside and stick to it, schedule it like it’s an appointment that you must keep!

In that time do something that is JUST FOR YOU! Do something that you love, something that lights you up, something that relaxes you, something that makes you smile.

When you take care of you, you will be happier and healthier, you’ll have more focus, more energy and more to give to your work, your loved ones and yourself.

3.  Prepare in advance for the challenging days

We all know that we’ll have them right? Those days when things won’t go as planned, when we have an unpleasant interaction with a parent, a student or even another staff member. Those days when no matter how well prepared we are things just don’t work out. We’ve all had them and we know they’ll happen again.

When those tough days happen the last thing we feel like doing is having to think about what would make us feel better. A trick I learned was to prepare in advance for those days…

You could:

  1. Have a couple of dinners in the freezer for the nights you’re shattered and don’t feel like cooking.
  2. Have a list of things that you can do that you know will help pick you up:
    • Go for a walk
    • Visit/phone a friend
    • Have your favorite dance songs loaded on your phone/ ipod ready to listen to
    • Do something nice for someone else
    • Have a stash of cash for retail therapy or a dinner out
    • Have one of those adult mindfulness colouring books
    • Do some yoga or meditation
    • Have a hobby that you enjoy to engage in
  3. Have a self-care pack ready to go with items like:
  • Chocolates
  • Your favorite tea, coffee or wine
  • Maybe a sneaky massage voucher or a hairdresser voucher (for those really tough days)