The beginning of the year was always my favorite time as a teacher. Getting to see my kids who were returning, meeting our new families, seeing how the students had changed over the summer, starting fresh with a whole year of learning ahead of us after a break for the summer. Unfortunately, this school year has started with more stress and confusion with everything up in the air for most of the country. Are we starting online? Are we heading back to brick and mortar? How are we protecting our students and ourselves? It is an extremely difficult time for everyone-teachers and parents alike.
Tips for teachers:
- Practice self-care-
- Now, more than ever, make sure you are practicing self-care. The stress and concern that you are under this year can affect your immune system and mess with your body. It is something I know I struggled with as a teacher and watched many of my teacher friends struggle as well. Speaking with some of my colleagues, I know the struggle is even harder this year. Take time for yourself each day to take off your teacher hat and do something that brings you joy.
- Adopt a team mentality-
- Find ways to work together with all your teams both at school and with your student’s parents. Because of eLearning and other factors this year, working together is going to be the biggest help to making this year great for everyone involved. Work with your other teachers to create activities and lessons to share. Create book studies or themed lessons that cover a variety of topics.
- Start the year with a fresh mindset-
- It is a new year, a new start, a new plan. One of my favorite things to do each year was plan how I was going to change my classroom each year. I had a multi-age classroom so I would have students for a few years in a row but wanted each year to be a truly NEW year for all of us. That meant new ways to teach, new set up, new ideas so that it was a truly fresh start. This also includes mindset. If you had a student who was a challenge, start fresh. Sometimes you both need to start the year as if you’ve never met and an open mind. That might be just what that student needs to make a change.
- Be willing to learn-
- Our most important job as teachers is to learn and grow just as we expect our students to. Be willing to open up and learn new ways of doing things or trying new ideas. One of the most limiting phrases in education is “this is how we’ve always done it” especially in the world of disability. Being willing to learn opens a whole realm of possibilities for you and your students.
You are a vital and important part of our loved one’s lives so please take care of yourself and work with our families to create an amazing educational experience for our students. We love our educators and appreciate how hard you work. We are here to support at Rett U and have lots of resources available on our website.