You’re only a week in. Don’t worry, only another 15 to go until Christmas…
September is a weird month for teachers. Until you have experienced what it is like to have six weeks holiday and then return to work (and unless you’re a teacher, it’s unlikely you will have), you can’t really understand just how that feels. It’s not a nice feeling.
It’s the ultimate shock to any system, but it’s not all bad – you get to see your colleagues again… even the kids!
Then there’s the New Year, new slate angle. September is a new academic year. It is a fresh start. For most, it will mean a new timetable and new classes. At the start of September, it is the most refreshed and reinvigorated you will ever feel as a teacher.
Okay, exams analysis, the looming performance management appraisals, and the realisation that Year 9 Period 5 on a Friday are going to be a weekly nightmare might have taken the shine off things.
Surviving past September – The First Challenge
Yes, many teachers might be looking at their calendars and thinking the end of the month is going to be tough enough to get to, let alone the whole autumn term. But you can, and will, do it.
Set yourself realistic goals
Schools are very good at getting students to set goals and targets. There’s nothing wrong with this at all. It’s just that teachers could really take a leaf out of their own books and try out their own medicine every once in a while too.
We’re not talking the formal, performance management-style targets here. We are talking personal, small and measurable goals for your own classroom and teaching practice.
Many teachers want to change the world. This is honourable, but ultimately doomed to failure. Focus on what you can impact. Lots of small wins keeps the spirits up when things
get tough (those dark evenings in late November)!
Find a way to manage stress
Stress is part and parcel of being a teacher. We all suffer from it to some extent. It can be crippling and incredibly debilitating, but it can be managed so that it doesn’t spiral out of control. But to do this, you need to find a way to manage it. It can be any activity or interest. It just needs to be non-teaching related and great at reducing your stress.
Once you’ve found it, use it!
Learn to let go
This is easier said than done, admittedly, but it’s vital. Linked to the need to manage stress, you need to get into the habit of taking time out and giving yourself some time. Otherwise, you’ll have reached Burnout Town by Christmas.
You must maintain some semblance of a non-teacher life. Teaching cannot become your 24/7 existence.
The energy that you feel at the start of the term can quickly evaporate. Follow the advice in this blog and you’ll survive to the other side of Christmas!