February may be short, but for teachers it is often one of the longest months of the year. Students are tired. Teachers are tired. Tensions are high. Morale is low. It is hard to find the motivation and energy to pour into others if our own reservoirs are not filled to capacity. Christopher Doyle wrote on this very subject last February in Ed Week. He noted, “Not unlike other professionals devoted to nurture, such as doctors, teachers are measured—and measure themselves—against an idealized image of excellence that involves incessant work.” There is no doubt that YOU WORK HARD. However, when is the last time you put YOU first? Have you made yourself a priority lately? Students need you, of course, and duties call. Yet, it is vital that teachers, that you, make time to nourish yourself. Otherwise it’s like riding a bike on fire; eventually you’ll burn out.
Be a Priority
Schedule some time on your calendar this month for yourself. Do it now, and don’t let yourself cancel! Love nature? Check the weather and hit the trail after school. Love to read? Treat yourself to a new book and head to a quiet place to enjoy it. Does the gym soothe your nerves? Then grab a bench and get to it. Steven Covey suggests these areas of renewal and balance:
Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service
Grab a coworker to keep you accountable for renewal this month! You will feel better and garner the motivation to tackle Quarter 3 like a boss. (And you might encourage someone to do the same along the way!)