If we're honest, we all have days when, for any number of reasons (lack of sleep, family issues, minor illness, idiopathic crankiness...) we are just not at our best. There are days when, in any other line of work, we would probably call in sick, but we don't because we know the impact of our absence is so great. What are your survival tips and tricks to get yourself and your students through those days in one piece? Special supplies to keep on hand? Treats that get you through? Lifesaving lessons or activities?
This month, thousands of brand new teachers will enter their first classrooms and face their very first class of students (some of them within just a few days.) Share the tricks you wish someone had told you (or maybe the tricks you are grateful someone shared!).
I'm pretty fortunate that my tired, grumpy, sad, unhappy days come so infrequently that I had to take some time to think about this post. But of course I would be lying if I said that these days didn't come my way so here are my top 5 tips...
1. Let Your Students Know
My class, and the students in it, are my classroom family for the school year and we care about one another. What that means is that we rely on one another to help us get through our "grumpy" days. I am always amazed by how truly caring my students are when I let them know that I'm going through a tough patch. Since I don't say it too often, and I foster a climate that encourages us to be supportive of one another, it is quite natural for them to be supportive of me too.
2. Get to Know Your Classroom Neighbours
Nothing helps you get through a rough day better than having someone to share the load with. Although I don't have my own kids I'd assume it's a lot like when parents have play dates - one day at my house, the next day at yours. While that isn't exactly possibly sometimes just having two classes working together on a group project can help take some of the pressure of you when you're not at your best. It can be something as simple as buddy reading with one another . The kids love it, it's educationally sound, and it's great to see how your students interact with other students. Another possible job is a buddy letter writing campaign to help fight/support a cause. If you do rely on your classroom neighbours be sure to be willing to reciprocate with they need your support too.
3. Find a Quiet Place for Your Break
When I'm not at my best I find it really hard to be social with those much more chipper than I so I tend to find a quiet place (outside of my classroom) to eat my lunch. Sometimes that means a walk in the neighbourhood (fresh air is ALWAYS good for you) during my break, and other times it just means finding a quiet room that isn't used over the lunch break.
4. Read Alexander and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (or any other book about being grumpy)
Sometimes just making light of the day you are having is enough to turn your mood around. Alexander and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day is perfect for that. It also allows me to talk to my students about Australia a country I lived in in 2009 and that I have very fond memories of.
If nothing else works I keep a small tin of instant hot chocolate in the staffroom for days when I really need sugar or chocolate or both. If I need caffeine I add coffee for a quick Cafe Mocha. Not sure what it is about hot chocolate (particularly the no name brand with the little marshmallows in it) but it usually does the trick.
What do you do to fight off the grumps?
Never undersetimate the power of chocolate to make a teacher sane again! :)ReplyDelete
Oh, how I so hear you. :-)Delete