Image Map

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Keeping Positive: post-spring break teaching

I'm not quite there yet but I know in many places, teachers are coming back from spring break and saying to themselves, "oh boy, hang on tight because here we go". Teaching between spring break and the end of the school year can be wild ride, and it can make you dread going to work. Here are some things I do to take control of my mood and keep myself in a positive mindset.

1. Monitor your mood

The first step I have started taking more and more consciously during stressful times of year is keeping a close eye on my own mood/ stress levels. I can't do anything well if I'm overtired, stressed, or anxious, least of all handle end of year teaching. I have a regular year-round habit of sitting with a cup of coffee in silence each morning, and this is always my time to process and gauge where my mood is as well. It's important to find ways to stay in touch with your own mental and emotional wellness regularly- if you aren't a morning person like me with the luxury of slow mornings, printing out a poster that asks, "how are you?" and putting it somewhere you'll see it every morning (in the bathroom/ on a bedside table/ in your closet), designating something you wear every day to be a mental cue to check in with yourself (I have an elastic bracelet I wear for this purpose when I know I'm stressed), or asking a trusted friend to check in with you can be good ways to keep reminding yourself to check in.

2. Identify the source

If I realize I'm feeling stressed or anxious or dreading the day in general, I try to go through the list of things I'm thinking about/ preparing to do that day to identify more specifically what it is that's causing my stress/ dread. Sometimes it's one specific class that has been difficult to manage, a lesson I've planned that I'm not sure will go over well, a particularly hectic work schedule, or something totally unrelated to teaching entirely. Identifying the source of the stress more specifically makes it more concrete, gives me more clarity on how I can address and manage it, and often makes it less overwhelming when I realize it's not my entire life I'm dreading!

3. Make a plan

It wouldn't be an "organized chaos" strategy without putting a plan in place! Once I've identified what it is that's got me in a funk, I try to think concretely about how to address it. If it's a difficult class, I come up with a strategy to help the class go better. If it's a hectic schedule, I look through my day and come up with ways to make my life easier, whether that's ordering takeout for dinner or making some of my lesson plans less complicated. 

Writing it all out like this makes it seem like this is a long and involved process- it usually isn't. Because I make sure I'm monitoring myself regularly, I usually catch things before it gets too overwhelming, and it's not that hard to identify what's bothering me and come up with a solution. Oftentimes the whole thought process takes all of 2 minutes. Sometimes when things get really stressful I do have to take more time to work through the whole thought process- I might be processing what's going on and thinking through solutions the whole time I'm getting ready for work, getting the kids to school, and driving to my school. But it really does make a big difference in my effectiveness, especially this time of year!

If you're feeling like you're in the thick of it, I hope this helps you break out of the depressing "just survive until summer" mindset and find ways to get yourself in the right frame of mind to actually enjoy this time of year! I'd love to hear other things you do to make the end of the school year more enjoyable- leave a comment down below. 

No comments :

Post a Comment