What a challenging time to be a teacher! This wasn’t the start to the year that you had planned. Not only have you had to manage all of your personal worries and concerns, but you have also had to be there for each and every child in your care.
So how, when the first half term has left you feeling anxious, weary and over–burdened, do you start each day of the new term “with glittering eyes” and find the magic that is "hidden in the most unlikely places”? Surely, even our beloved Roald Dahl would be willing to have us aspire to less, in this, of all years. But wait, the inspirational characters in his stories always face great adversity and challenges with a special something in their hearts. Maybe if you can find a way to do this, then you will absolutely be teaching the children in your class the most valuable lesson of all: how to live well.
And it does start and end with you. You hold the magic wand in your classroom. How you are is more important than what you say or do. The children in your class will follow your glittering gaze, copy your curiosity, pass on your positivity and embrace your enthusiasm. But how can you be the wonderful Willy Wonka, the BFG and Miss Honey, all rolled up into one glorious perfect teacher package?
Well, the good news is, you don’t have to be. YOU are the perfect teacher for your class because you are the one who is there for them every day, you are the one who knows them, you are the one who cares for them and you are the one they love. So how can you be your best you on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and still have some energy left to enjoy your weekend?
Make YOURSELF a priority
Let’s start with your health – So that’s sleep, good food and exercise. Not rocket science I know, but when your job is fundamentally about caring for the needs of others it is so easy to make yourself unimportant, make your needs the last things on your to do list; the ones that never get ticked. So, this year, see yourself as the most important resource in the classroom. Make time for you, even if it means other things have to go down to the bottom of that list!
Invest in your creative heart – It might be baking cakes, or planting vegetables, it could be painting or playing the guitar, it might be taking photos, or writing a journal, knitting, or making jam, listening to your favourite band or reading that new book. Remember, the more you create, the more creative you will be.
Breathe fresh air, look up at the sky, watch the seasons unfold – There is so much written about the positive impact on children of being outdoors, and the same is true for you! Buy a warm hat and gloves, waterproof coat and boots; whatever the weather, spend time outside each day. Fill your lungs with fresh air and your heart with the wonders of nature.
Laugh – As much as you can, as often as you can! Make your world one that is full of giggles and silliness.
Embrace all of your feelings – “Feelings are not either good or bad, though some are more pleasant to experience than others! They are all valid. They tell us valuable information about ourselves and others. We feel sad if we lose someone we love or experience another kind of loss. Envy tells us what we want in life. Fear alerts us to danger and so on” (taken from Little Book of Big Worries). So be a detective when you think about your own emotions. Work out what they are telling you, talk about them with someone you trust and take action if need be.
Build your snowman – A wonderful head teacher once described that Friday night feeling to me as being a puddle on the floor instead of a snowman. I’m sure you know the feeling! So, what can you do when you feel like that? Take a few minutes to think about the things that build you back up. It might be putting your feet up and watching a favourite feel good film, it might be chatting with friends who lift your spirits, it might be a big walk in the countryside, or climbing a hill, just having a lie in, cooking a delicious meal or baking a cake. Write a list of the things that help you build your snowman and when you feel low, look at the list, decide to invest in YOU and do as many of them as you possibly can!
Remember, YOU are the perfect teacher for your class.
Learn Well products are available from YPO, view the range here.
If you enjoyed this blog and would like to read others like it, it features in our Everything Curriculum Magazine edition 9. Each edition is centralised around a chosen theme, you can sign up to receive future magazines digitally or access our previous editions here.