Teaching is hard work. Between lesson planning, grading, organizing, attending conferences and actual teaching time, it seems like teachers have a never ending to-do list. Here are some secret tips every professional educator needs to apply to their busy day.
1. Dial down the perfect Pinterest classroom
Every kid loves a bright and cheery classroom, but putting all your time, money and effort into a Pinterest dream room is unrealistic. Children will actually live in that room. It isn’t going to stay in apple pie order for long. Many teachers make the mistake of over labeling, color coordinating and decorating that they forget to establish effective classroom procedures that will keep the students organized and on task. Instead of going all Martha Stewart on everyone, focus your attention on classroom management.
2. Get in early
Many educators feel like they can come to work minutes before the school day begins and just “stay late” after school to catch up, but you might want to reconsider this approach. Getting to work early enough to attack any last minute hiccups will save you from starting your day with the wrong attitude. The copy machine could be broken; the lounge might be out of coffee, a parent might be waiting to talk to you or a student may need extra help before class. Leave yourself some time to put out fires before they start.
3. Avoid the teacher’s lounge
It may not be the “team player” choice, but the teacher’s lounge is frequently the place where teachers take all their frustration. It can become a verbal venting forum that can simply drag you down. Avoid the drama. Stay in your classroom and stay positive.
4. Remember your role
Teaching can be hard on the heart. Sometimes hurting children come attached to hurting families. It is important to know when to listen and when to refer people to a professional counselor. When a parent teacher conference turns into anything but attending to the academic needs of a student, then you have crossed a line. Teachers aren’t social workers. Sometimes the best thing to do is refer the parent(s) to a trained professional who can help in a time of crisis.
5. Avoid Burnout
According to Edutopia, teachers have one of the highest burnout rates; 45% of new teachers will flee the field after just five years. The pay isn’t great, the hours are long, and depending on where you work you might feel either adored or attacked as a person. As a teacher it is easy to sign up for every little need that comes up at your school. Different groups and clubs will always solicit more help. Be a team player but don’t spread yourself too thin. You really need the evenings and weekends to recharge. Your students deserve a teacher that is rested and well balanced.