Every morning, I jump out of my bed with that unpleasant alarm. Yes! It sounds like “Oh! My God, I hardly have slept enough!”
Who on EARTH would want to leave that cozy bed for yet another challenging day!
Well, In almost half an hour, while exercising and spending time with my dog ‘Coco’, I have gained the positive energy and I am all set to begin my day with a ‘BANG!’
I start setting up my mood thinking about “How exciting (and challenging) my day is going to be?”
Alright! Here I am, while entering the school we start exchanging ‘good morning’ notes. As a conversation lover, I would keep asking everyone “How are you today?” And I get the 3 most frequent replies from my colleagues, I have started calling it;
‘THE 3 S CONDITION’
BIG QUESTION–If we teachers feel vulnerable dealing with our state of mind, how are we going to provide any kind of help to our students?
If we are weak and shattered from within, how are we going to empower these young people?
YOU CAN’T POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP!
I feel strong empathy for the teaching fraternity. I keep asking myself, How do we support each other with our experiences, so that that we don’t feel vulnerable anymore?
Believe me, I am not in any position to preach or heal anyone! My colleagues and friends have helped me gain insights on this issue through real-life experiences. Let’s work on these simple tips to start our journey of transformation!
KEEP YOUR GRATITUDE AND POSITIVE ENERGY HIGH!
What usually comes to our minds as soon as we wake up?
“Ah! I have to do so much today and I am so overloaded!” Depressing thoughts start forming the moment we wake up. Consequently, we enter the school carrying a ‘baggage of negative emotions’ and induce the same feelings to our colleagues. The impact becomes disastrous when we reflect this to the students as it blocks the entire teaching-learning process.
So, what do we do to solve this issue?
- Be grateful for all the GOODNESS that uplifts you every day. For me ‘Coco’ and coffee are good to set up my mood every day! I have started developing habits of mind and I feel wonderment and awe for the beauty of life around me. Train your mind to think “Life is pretty good, Yeah!”
- How hard it is to start your day with the feeling of ‘GRATITUDE?’ As soon as you wake up, Thank God for giving the precious gift of ‘Life’. Most importantly! Spend some minutes thinking about how can you make your life worthwhile as you have just one life!
- Set a goal- “Today, I am going to help and cheer someone.” Make sure you do these small acts of kindness, like holding the door for colleagues and students, asking for their wellbeing, etc. SMILE, SPREAD POSITIVE ENERGY, and APPRECIATE HARD WORK!
- Make positive connections with your students. let your students know there is more to the school than just the curriculum and books. At the break, before or after your class, engage them in casual chats and jokes. Ask them about their day and if they have anything exciting going on in their lives. Take a couple of minutes to talk about hobbies, music, television shows, sports, movies, etc. This will strengthen the teacher-student relationship and you will feel good from within.
Are we able to manage our time?
Many times teachers grumble for being so overloaded that they have to take their work home. This kills their family time and adds to their frustration. Once in a while, it is fine to work in the evenings but it shouldn’t be our daily DEADLY ROUTINE! Our families happen to be the victim of this habit and gradually it affects our connection with them.
My teenage son keeps commenting on my habit of answering Whats app messages of my students, “Mom, why do you have to answer them now! You are meant to do all this during your school timings.”
So, what do we do to solve this issue?
Recently, I have started working on my “WAY OF WORKING!”. Here are some tips and tricks to manage your time effectively. (Please do add more ideas to this list as I am also a novice in this aspect!)
- Before you leave your desk daily, plan, and note all the jobs “to do” for the next day. This process needs some brainstorming as you need to think and list each task in it. You can use readymade planner templates for it. (Make sure you don’t work on this planner at home unless something is URGENT!) AND, BRAVO! You are all ready to start-up your NEW DAY, just keep checking each job when you finish it.
- Avoid overdose of GOSSIPING! It is a healthy habit to share feelings but not at the cost of the loss of your precious time. At school, teachers keep telling each other about weekend stories, husbands, and kids (OOPS!). Sometimes, we get so obsessed with these conversations that we forget how much time has been wasted! Moreover, when chattering becomes too loud, it also affects the work efficiency of others sitting in that staffroom (and they didn’t sign up for that!)
- Monitor your time on Social media! Truly, Humans are social by nature. However, many times we get so engrossed in peeking into others’ lives that we FORGET TO LIVE OURS ENTIRELY! Watch out for your TIME and PURPOSE on social media! It is very fruitful if used wisely to connect with like communities where you share vision and ideas. If not used appropriately, it is a sheer loss of your precious time and emotional calmness.
- Effective collaboration is the key to save time. You are not here to prove yourself as a ‘superhero’ who can manage everything alone! Make an organized plan with your team and divide the tasks amongst the teachers. Be it unit planning, lesson planning, or class strategies, teamwork brings deeper insights than you working alone. Most importantly, collaboration saves time and effort which could be utilized for yet another productive task.
SPEND TIME FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL BEING
I have seen teachers who are very concerned about the academic and personal growth of our students, which is a sign of a GREAT TEACHER! We get so engrossed with our profession that we almost forget our own identity. We hardly think about ourselves,
“HOW DO I KEEP MYSELF FIT, MENTALLY, AND PHYSICALLY?”
If you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of your students.
So, go easy on yourself! Find the time and ways for self-care and personal growth.
- Use your leisure time to cultivate a new hobby. It is an enriching experience when you use your energy to learn a new skill. Hobbies give you a way to take your mind off the stresses of everyday life. They let you relax, build your self-confidence, and improve the element of CREATIVITY. (Creative teachers induce the same to their students!). In case you’re wondering what my hobbies are; I love reading books, especially philosophical and mystical fiction, writing poetry, cooking and stitching (I have UPCYCLED old clothes!) Believe me, these hobbies have positively changed my life and given me a lot of joy and a sense of accomplishment.
- Develop mindfulness and focus your mind on the present moment. Many times the cause of our anxiety and restlessness is thinking about the past and the future rather than the present moment. LIVE IN PRESENT AND FOCUS ON WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW! Every morning, sit in a comfortable place, practice meditation, and focus on your body and senses. (Make it a habit! Even for 15 minutes).
- “Sleep is the best meditation”-Dalai Lama. To be able to get good sleep is a blessing! Never ignore your bio-clock and try to follow the ‘Early to Bed’ regime. We simply get hooked to those NETFIX series that we tend to sleep late even on the weekdays. Try your best to get 8 hours of ‘magic sleep’ and the next day, you will see a big difference in your energy levels and performance. (Finally, No more sleepy teachers!!)
- Never ignore your health and fitness. Find time to exercise and walk daily. Keep a check on your overall health and consult a doctor if anything is troubling you. Believe me, if you are physically unfit, you will never be able to give your 100% as a teacher. Your profession should not be a barrier to keeping you in good health and fitness.
- Travel whenever you get a chance! Teachers need to relax and unwind every holiday they get! Visiting places and exploring cultures brings new perspectives to your life. Traveling is a GREAT PLATFORM for personal growth as it resets your body and mind to be a BETTER YOU! It breaks the monotony and you come back to school with wonderful experiences and insights.
Try to bring these changes in your attitude and lifestyle and you will see WONDERS!!