If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.
Providing service in a pandemic might seem a little crazy, but there are still plenty of ways for us to serve and find that happiness that comes from helping others. The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto have a guide that they created with several ideas of how to help others during the pandemic. Here are some of them:
Donate to and/or volunteer at the food bank
Donate to a homeless shelter
Spread kindness and uplifting messages
Be tech support
Consider fostering an animal or donate pet food and supplies for owners in need
November is typically a time for high stress due to the approaching holiday season. The stress of getting ready for family gatherings and purchasing gifts can sometimes be a load. Being a teacher may add to this stress with report cards and Parent/teacher conferences. Then, add COVID-19 to that mix and you have the perfect storm…unless you prepare.
Erin McClintock discusses some things that will help us come out on top of it all. In her article “10 Mental Health Tips for Teachers During the COVID-19 Pandemic” she suggests some important steps for teachers to take care of themselves.
Control the Controllable – while you CAN’T control the pandemic and what happens because of it, you can control “how you spend some of your time, what you choose to prioritize, what types of media you consume (and how frequently) and your mindset.”
Carve Out Time For Self-Care To Maintain Your Mental Health- The previous blog addresses this issue. Remember to wash your hands, read, meditate and take time to refresh yourself.
Get your Body Moving- We are spending more time on the computer and in a chair. Make a mental note to move around. Stand up and take a break. Get those steps in!
Model Self-compassion- “We teach students this all of the time– the basics of self-compassion, kind self-talk, and growth mindset. Now is the time to also turn it inwards.”
Set Reasonable Expectations (for yourself and others)- This is not a business as usual time! There are so many unknowns and although we need to move forward and grow, we need to set small realistic goals.
Communication is Vital for Maintaining Mental Health for Teachers- Simply, let people know what is going on – parents, colleagues, and administration. Being in the dark only adds to the anxiety in ourselves and others.
Be unapologetic- We live in an “I’m sorry” world. “Be unapologetic about taking time for yourself, setting realistic goals, setting boundaries, and being clear and transparent about what you are capable of (and what you need).”
A Dedicated Work Space Can Improve Mental Wellness-. “By creating a dedicated workspace: even if it is just one corner of your home that you designate as “work only,” you can do two things: you can send an outward message to those in your life that when you are in that space you are working, and also an internal message to your own brain that signals when it is work mode and when it is time to disconnect.”
Set Office Hours While Remote Teaching-put aside time when students and colleagues can get a hold of you. This will help you separate your work life and personal like.
Reach Out-If you are feeling overwhelmed, having a tough time, or need help, reach out to others. Reach out to a counselor. Talk with others and find out what they may be doing to overcome some of these feelings. Don’t isolate yourself!
In this episode of The First Three Years, we interview Wyatt Bentley about some of the state licensing changes impacting provisional teachers. We also discuss self-care as we approach the holiday season.
Now, more than ever, there is a need for teachers to practice self-care as an important part of their daily teaching routine. We must get over the idea that self-care is unnecessary, self-indulgent, or a selfish use of our time. In fact, self-care promotes long-term health.
According to the National Institute of Mental Illness, there are 6 elements to self-care:
Ideally, we should be setting time each day to include a small activity from each one of these elements. Some ideas are listed:
Make sure to plan at least 10-20 minutes a day to decompress by yourself. This could simply mean closing your door and listening to soothing music at the end of the day.
Find ways to work on and improve your self-image. You need to improve your sense of compassion for yourself.
Keep a journal and write in it to work through difficult teaching days when you feel overwhelmed.
Social support is important. Find ways to connect with loved ones at least once a day. This could be having dinner with your family, calling a friend, or relaxing with your significant other.
For more information on self-care, read the entire article published by Waterford.org, April 10, 2020.
Working with special education students in your classroom is the norm; however, we can sometimes be overwhelmed with the challenges they may present. We realize that people are more alike than different and that including children with disabilities and special needs is beneficial to them as well as to the other children in your classroom.
JPAS Domain IV Indicator 56 helps you maximize your understanding of individual learner differences and allows you to demonstrate a curriculum that meets the needs of varied students.
Here are three thoughtful articles that may help you make their lives and yours easier this year. You may feel an article is aimed at one specific age group, but all the suggestions listed in each article are excellent suggestions for all ages and classes.
I am grateful for the hard work teachers do to provide wonderful learning experiences for students every day. I appreciate the kindness, generosity, and patience of teachers. They never give up; they are wiling to try new things; they do creative things to reach every student. Teachers do not stay on the sidelines; they are part of a team, making a thousand decisions a day for benefit of students.
--Dr. Anthony Godfrey
This is the value of the teacher, who looks at a face and says there's something behind that and I want to reach that person, I want to influence that person, I want to encourage that person, I want to enrich, I want to call out that person who is behind that face, behind that color, behind that language, behind that tradition, behind that culture. I believe you can do it. I know what was done for me.
The power of an effective teacher is something almost all of us have experienced and understand on a personal level. If we were particularly fortunate, we had numerous exceptional teachers who made school an exciting and interesting place. Those teachers possessed a passion for the subjects that they taught and genuine care for the students with whom they worked. They inspired us to play with ideas, think deeply about the subject matter, take on more challenging work, and even pursue careers in a particular field of study. Some exceptional teachers achieve celebrity status, such as Jaime Escalante, the math teacher who inspired the
film Stand and Deliver, but thousands of unsung heroes go unrecognized in their remarkable work with students on a daily basis
-- Pamela D. Tucker and James H. Stronge
You have been amazing during this very unusual teaching moment. Your websites, Canvas classes, blogs, Zoom meetings, parades, lawn posters, and all the incredible technology you have used to instruct and stay connected to your students has been a monumental effort. We applaud you for finishing strong and caring so much about student success.
Have a safe, restful summer!
With Gratitude: your JSD Mentor Teacher Specialists
“When you know yourself well--when you understand your emotions, social identities, core values, and personality--you gain clarity on your purpose in life and in work. Being anchored in purpose makes you able to deal with setbacks and challenges.”
-Elena Aguilar, Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators
As we finish the school year and move into summer, take time to ground yourself in who you are--your values, your purpose in teaching. Try some of these reflective activities: