when you are tired–
here is where the true grit of teaching rises to the surface.
Because anyone can teach for an afternoon, fresh out of the shoot, full of smiles and candy and a song-and-dance-routine.
But, it’s when mental and emotional exhaustion creep in that your true heart as a teacher is revealed.
And it’s those choices you make to be kind and creative, gracious and patient that sometimes matter the most in the life of a student–
not extraordinary, just consistent–
even, maybe especially, when you’re tired.
“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.” – Mother Theresa
5 Things to Do When a Teacher is Tired
1. Take a Break, Especially at Home. Put the grades down for an evening. Go out with a friend. Date your husband. Catch up on your TiVo shows. Do something fun or mindless or relaxing or indulgent . . . as long as it is NOT school-related. Give yourself permission to not live-breathe-eat-die education. Really, you have permission.
2. Exercise. The benefits of exercise far outweigh the hassle of making the time to do it. Even just an evening walk will get your endorphins flowing, which will do wonders for your overall energy level, perspective, health, confidence, and ability to fight depression.
3. Make a List. Whether it’s with your class or on your own, make a list of all the things you are grateful for this week. Shifting your perspective from all that you have to do, to all that you already have will speak volumes to your ability to finish the day/week/semester strong.
4. You’re Tireder on an Island, Promise. When it comes to teaching, don’t be an island– isolated from your collegues who could become valuable friends and assets to your own ability to being a stronger teacher. Pick someone you can trust and be brutally honest about your weariness– it may just be that they need someone to commiserate with, as well. There’s nothing worse than really struggling and then really believing that everyone else has it all together.
5. Perfectionism Would’ve Made Even Mother Theresa Tired. In order to sustain teaching over the long haul, you will have to learn to let go of the ideal. There will always be a better job you could do, a student you could encourage, more advice you could write on an English paper, more homemade snacks you could make for your elementary sweethearts, but you have a life outside of the classroom. Enjoy it. And get comfortable with the reality that maybe a B+ is good enough.
Felt Tired Lately? Anything particular stressing you out these days?
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*Laura is a former middle school teacher and current home educator. She blogs at aLifeOverseas.com .