Teacher Self-Care Tips for Regular In-Person School and Distance Learning

May 05, 2020

Teacher Self-Care Tips for Regular In-Person School and Distance Learning

In any profession, it’s important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. And those who work in “helping” professions know this all too well. It’s interesting because many of us know that we should take better care of ourselves. Yet, we don’t always do it. Perhaps this is because in the U.S.working hard- or dang near to the bone -is valued. I mean, there are so many studies stating how “American’s skipped another year of vacation.” On the other hand, there are countless studies showing how chronic stress is adversely affecting our lives. 


In my teaching profession, I’ve seen educators giving so much of themselves but doing a lousy job taking care of themselves. And, as much as we educators love educating, the job is hard; it’s draining. Over the years, I’ve had to learn ways to ensure that I am caring for myself. This is primarily mentally and emotionally. Below you’ll find a list of things I do. I encourage you to figure out how you “self-care.”

 

  1. I try not to take my work home. I prefer to stay late. Another option is coming early before everyone else comes in. I’ve found that over the years, my productivity at home has decreased. My home is my sanctuary, so I don’t want to be working when I’m there. 

  1. I try my best to schedule time with friends. This is an area where you need to be intentional. I’ve discovered, at least in my friend group, that the problem isn’t time. It’s actually scheduling the time. If we’re not proactive about this, it will easily fall by the wayside. Also, follow through!

  1. I actively search for things that interest me. One thing I like to do is listen to music. So, I try to stay up on performers in my area. And, actually go to the shows! 

  1. I pray and talk to GOD about my life, relationship with him, and my desires! My faith is a huge part of my life. I like finding (especially since the pandemic) faith-based or inspirational podcasts and sermons.

  1. Some days I do nothing. That is okay too. Sometimes filing up time is detrimental/counterproductive to self-care efforts. But I try not to get stuck here at a “do-nothing” place. 

  1. I wrote the above list pre-COVID-19. The next paragraphs were written during the pandemic. However, it could apply at any time!

I never used to have my school email connected to my cell phone. (It was actually one of my “rules”). Prior to the pandemic, I had no reason to connect it. I would simply check my email when I returned to work. Or I would return calls when I returned to work. Now that’s not possible in the era of distance learning. Unfortunately, if I don’t connect my work phone to my cell phone, I’d have to use my personal number to make work calls. And that ain’t happening! 

What I do though is: I download my work number to my cell phone only when I need to make a phone call. When I’m done making calls, I remove it. I’ve found that downloading my work number also requires me to download work email to my phone. It’s too intrusive. One day, I had forgotten to remove my work number from my cell. I was typing in a name so that I could send text, and all of these names from the District came up. Like full emails “abdcdef@district…” My school number and email had completely synced up with my phone. I freaked out! Then, when I went to my calendar, my school email had taken over my calendar. Girl, what?! I know you lyin! I deleted that school account so fast!

I have a laptop. After my official scheduled day, I don’t check my email or student assignments. Even if I’m tempted to check- I still don’t! 

Lastly, I check-in with other teachers. I have my work friends whom I talk with all the time. We have a pretty hilarious group chat! However, I decided to reach-out to another teacher I work with. We never talked outside of work before this. It was an email where I was checking on the progress of a student. After talking about the student, I asked how the teacher was doing and shared a bit about myself and my class. The teacher thanked me for checking-in. Please check-in with your peers. Being at home can be hard for them as much as it is for the students.