But, feel like you make a difference?
Yet, a smile has become your most sought-after reward?
Drowning in paperwork?
Nonetheless, glad you are a part of a larger mission?
Teacher Appreciation Week
Sometimes, teaching involves many different feelings. There are dramatic ups and downs. Every teacher needs to make the most of Teacher Appreciation Week. Use the gratitude you get to refuel, and take advantage of the week as a new initiative to cultivate a “healthy you.”
Relaxation, rejuvenation, dealing with stress properly, managing time, and practicing mindfulness are all things that we are hopefully passing on to our students. As such, we should also be aware of these important skills in our own lives.
Take on some new “healthy you” habits, as the start to a healthier, happier school year. Commit to practicing for the week, and see if you want to (and are able to) keep it up for the rest of the year. Likely, if you find the habits help you to be more productive, calmer, and less stressed, you will continue to find time for them.
“Healthy You” Habits
First, we need to wind down, making room for peace in our lives. Try to build mindfulness into your schedule, taking five minutes to meditate before lunch and after your last class. Book a twenty minute massage for one night this week to de-stress. Block off a chunk of “sacred space” during each day, which you dedicate exclusively to family/friends/whatever makes you happy–no checking your school email, no grading, preparing, etc. Perhaps, most importantly, try and commit to a bedtime each week, so you can be refreshed for the morning.
Next, we need to focus on building ourselves up. Record three things you are grateful for every morning in your gratitude journal. Take on a hobby. Yes, that’s right. Sign-up for a jewelry making course, sign-up for the pool once a week, or join a novel writing group. Have a creative, fun outlet outside of school to cultivate other parts of your personality.
Lastly, we should focus on our strengths and contributions, in order to inspire us to keep reaching upward. Take the VIA Strengths Survey to see which strengths you possess. Then, open each morning by practicing one of your strengths. For example, if one of your strengths is “creativity,” spend ten minutes writing a new poem or repainting the birdhouse you have out front. Or, if one of your strengths is “love of learning” sign up for a Coursera course on a new and interesting subject, spending fifteen minutes each morning on it. As you start to use your strengths, you will begin to feel more invigorated for the workday.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy Teacher Appreciation Week, keeping in mind that you are the biggest change agent in the world.