Saturday, April 14, 2018

To the Discouraged Teacher

Dear Discouraged Teacher,

We all go through times that are difficult in the classroom. Whether it be because of students, parents, co-workers, administration, friends, or any other factor, know that you are not alone. Even the best teachers go through these times (I am not one of the "best" teachers, I've just heard this from them, too ;).

Let's be honest, teaching is a hard job. It's a job that doesn't always come with enough "thank you"s or recognition. Sometimes it feels like you are doing so much work with very little return. It may feel like no one understands what you're dealing with. It may feel like no one appreciates your time and effort. It may feel like others are judging you.

I wish I could say that things will get better, but sometimes these are just things that we have to deal with. However, there are three things you can focus on to help get you through it.

keep in mind the students

The reason behind the stress and the tension are because we are trying to do what is best for the students. There are times that no one outside of your classroom will understand that. When I have a crazy idea that I do not feel is supported by parents, sometimes I have to persevere through it before parents understand why I wanted to do it. Other times, a classroom transformation just gets crazy looks from others, while I stay up all night trying to finish an activity for it. Just focus on the students. I'm not saying this will always be easy, but they are the reason you are going to all that work. The look on their faces after a room transformation, or the excitement of seeing them succeed, will make it worth it. It may not happen quickly, but you will be the teacher they remember, so continue to put your heart into it, even when its hard. 

focus on yourself

Obviously we do the things in our classroom because of the students, but we need to make sure that we are doing things that we want to do. Don't get lost in Instagram and blogs and put too much stress on yourself. The classes we see are not perfect all the time, and even though it may seem like other teachers can do it all, I'm sure they have their struggles, too. Don't try to live up to unreasonable expectations, just do what is best for your students and YOURSELF. 

Also take time for yourself. The more I follow other bloggers and instagram-mers, the more I hear and see them take breaks from social media to have time for themselves. This. Is. Hard. With so much to do, it is so hard to get up early to workout just because I know it'll make me feel better. It's hard to stay off social media when you're trying to promote TpT products. It's hard to set the grading aside for a day. Just remember how important it is, though and do it. As silly as it sounds, even taking an extra long shower and doing a face mask or going to get your nails done can help you feel so much better! 

find your support

Look to the people in your life who give you support and surround yourself with them during these times. Take time to goof off or vent to your teaching BFF. Go on a date with your significant other. Visit your family. We are not always surrounded by those who support us, but when you are feeling discouraged, you need to step away and find that support. If you are lucky enough to have someone at work like this, it can be so refreshing to just go in their room or office, close the door, vent or cry, and then laugh a little. Whoever it is, don't feel bad about it, just lean on them when you need it! 

We can do it, friends. In the end, it is all worth it and we are there because we love it. Times can be tough, but luckily, so are you! 


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