Whether you’re teaching virtually or in-person or both simultaneously (how tho???) – 2020 is The. Effing. Worst.
Every teacher I know is significantly more stressed than any previous year.
And how could you not be?
There are many tweets and memes that clearly and honestly sum up teaching this year, but this one is my fave:
The speed we went from “Teachers are underappreciated, we should pay them triple!” to “Get in the classroom and watch the children so we can get back to work, even if it kills you” is quite breathtaking.
— Mattie B 🏳️🌈 (@stoodle) July 8, 2020
Teachers are more stressed than ever (again, how. could. you. not. be.)
Here are 3 suggestions for managing teacher stress and anxiety in this insane school year:
Your students cannot get the most from their amazing Spanish teacher if your gas tank is on empty.
Prioritize yourself after 3pm and on weekends.
Take a bath.
Go for a walk.
Drink a tall glass of
wine water. Eat a piece of cake. You know what – it’s a pandemic. Eat the whole damn cake.
Whatever you need to do to recharge – do that. Your students need you, and you need to be sane for them.
We Are Teachers has a fabulous article on 7 Simple Ways to Sneak Mindfulness Into Your Teaching Day. It was written before the word “pandemic” was even in any of our vocabularies, but it’s still great for these crazy times.
I love the idea of “grounding yourself”. Literally for 60 seconds, just be aware of your body and release any tension. It could be a great, simple routine to incorporate into your day, whether you’re physically in the school building or teaching from your couch.
Repeat after me: Taking care of yourself is taking care of your students.
Don’t be afraid to say no.
If you’re teaching virtually and in person – you do not need another duty.
You do not need to sponsor that club.
You don’t need to do anyone an extra favor.
Literally just no.
You can’t practice self-care if you’re grading papers, running a club, and putting together the Talent Show until 8pm every night.
Would students benefit from you doing that extra thing? Yeah, maybe.
But if the cost of you taking on that extra duty is burn out – it’s not worth it. 2020 is the effing worst and it’s not worth you having any more stress or anxiety. Period.
Change your mindset
What’s the nicest way to say “just accept that 2020 is a dumpster fire”?
Hey Teach! has an article about dealing with anxiety as a teacher and they have an amazing (no, like seriously amazing) article that includes evaluating if problems are big, little, or not your problem.
It can be super frustrating when a problem arises that is out of your control (like tech problems, amirite?), and taking the time to evaluate if a problem is big, little, or someone else’s can help calm your anxiety.
When If you do find yourself deep in your feelings, TeachStarter has tips for how to identify and manage your feelings.
I know that seems super basic, but it can be so helpful to write down exactly what your feelings are (“I’m afraid I won’t be able to teach virtually and in-person simultaneously”), so that you can then figure out how to fix the problems or just be the best teacher you can be given the circumstances.
There are so many extra things out of teachers’ control this year, but you simply cannot do your best if you aren’t taking care of yourself during non-school hours and maintaining your sanity.
What are you doing to stay sane this school year? Share in the comments below!