7 Ways to fuel the Embers
1. Continue your normal sleep patterns.
If you're anything like me, you get to the end of the year and something changes in my mindset about how much sleep I need. For some reason, I think I can get away with going to bed at 11:30 when I usually get to bed no later than 10:00 every night. When we interrupt our normal sleep patterns, our bodies respond negatively. Our brain is unable to respond as quickly as our jobs require. It is difficult to manage our emotions appropriately. We tend to become short-tempered. And we lack the enthusiasm students deserve because all we can think about is how tired we are and how comfortable a cozy bed sounds.... and yet, when we get home, we turn on Netflix for hours on end and the pattern continues. STOP the madness! Keep your regular sleeping routine in tact!
2. Write encouraging notes to students.
Writing encouraging notes to students (specifically those particularly challenging tikes) is two-fold. Not only does the child feel encouraged, you will find yourself feeling more connected with the child. The fact is that these kiddos are just as tired as the teacher, although perhaps in a different way. Their relationships with peers are likely becoming more challenging the longer they spend time together. Providing a brief, encouraging message will lift everyone's spirits and help you and the child close the year on a positive note.
3. Invite colleagues to an event completely unrelated to school.
Not only to students become tired of each other, the teachers and staff can sometimes become short with one another as well. Everyone is stressed at the end of the year. We are thinking about those end-of-year state mandated assessments, the mounds of paperwork to complete, a classroom that has to be cleaned, and SO much more! It's rather easy to see how easily the claws can come out in the most minor situations. When this begins to happen, perhaps it's time to get OUT of the school and hit the town with colleagues! Have a movie or game night (dare I say, with drinks!). Go walking after school; the weather is probably perfect this time of year! Enjoy dinner at a local joint. Host a team-building event like a scavenger hunt or go zip-lining. Whatever you do, be sure it is NOT school-related and try only to have conversations about life outside of teaching!
4. Eat well, exercise, and take healthy supplements.
This is kind of an obvious one... BUT, it's worth mentioning. As I get tired from end-of-year events and activities, I make really poor decisions about what I eat and when/how/if I exercise which, in turn, affects my level of energy and definitely hinders my mindset. If you are accustomed to eating well and working out, then KEEP DOING IT! If not, now is as good a time as any to begin working toward a healthy diet and physic. After all, summer is just around the bend and you'll wish you had gotten started sooner.
5. Read a professional book or attend PD.
Okay, I know... you want a break! Believe me, I get it. But before you curse me for mentioning PD at the end of the school year, hear me out. Sometimes reading just the right book, article, or PD session can create a spark, if ever so small. Choose a topic that interests you and seek out articles, short books or sections of books, or even webinars and podcasts concerning this topic. If you're unable to use the information gained for the time left in the current school year, you'll have something to look forward to in the near future. Maybe, just maybe, you'll learn something that you can't wait to immediately implement.
6. Create and teach lessons that YOU enjoy.
As the year winds down, our lesson plans often tend to show the lack of initiative and motivation we have for doing those creative, rigorous lessons that were once prevalent in our classrooms. Take the last weeks of school to plan lessons that YOU have loved in the past or create lessons that you know YOU will enjoy. Chances are, if you're planning something YOU enjoy, your students will enjoy them as well and remain engaged and on-task. As a result, you'll feel energized and proud of what you've produced.
7. Surround yourself with the RIGHT people.
Finally, the people around you make all the difference in the world. Everyone is ready for the last days of school. A LOT of those people could be the "Negative Nancy" that pollutes the "Positive Polyanna". And it just gets easier to dread going to school everyday when we succumb to the negative mindset that is thrown our way. Work diligently to navigate your way toward the colleagues that will fuel your fire instead of those that will smother your barely burning embers.
How Do you Fuel the embers? Let us know!!
Welcome! I am Casey Watts- teacher, mentor, leader, mother, and wife aspiring to be much more!