Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You're Never Just a Teacher

As the new school year approaches, I'm sure we're all starting to write lesson plans and welcome letters.  Maybe some of us are stopping by our school buildings this week to check on classrooms.  And that's all well and good, and incredibly important.  But have you taken some time to remember how you're going to take care of yourself this school year?  You are, of course, never just a teacher.  You are a friend, a son/daughter, sibling, parent, or spouse.  Maybe you are also a yogi, a writer, a dancer, a tennis player.  Do you have a plan for nurturing your entire personality for the coming year?

One thing I did this week was to lay out a daily agenda for myself that leaves me time to do the things I care about, like exercise and work on my creative writing.  I make time for that just like I make time for grading papers and cooking dinner.  A really easy, quick, and free way to do this is with Google Calendar.  I block out time for what I consider to be non-negotiable on any given day to be sure I'm not wasting my discretionary time.  I want to make sure I can spend time on what gives me a lot of satisfaction at the end of the day.  If you want, for example, to spend 3:30-5:00 every day on your paperwork, you can enter that into your calendar once and set it to repeat every weekday until the end of the school year.  If you find yourself distracted by, I don't know, obsessively reading our wit and wisdom here at NYC Educator, you can use programs like Freedom or Self-Control to make sure those 90 minutes of grading are really 90 entire minutes of grading.  I like to set an alarm on my cell phone because I feel like it frees me up to really work.  I'm not constantly glancing at the clock to see if I need to leave or stop to make dinner.  

Start getting up early again this week, too, if you have been spending summer vacation catching up on your sleep.  Set your wake-up time back 15 or 30 minutes each day until you're back to your school year wake-up call.  Make sure you're DVRing The Daily Show or whatever your particular late-night poison is.  (Colbert was priceless last night.)  Stock your cupboards with good breakfast food.

Most of this may sound obvious, but I know I always end up walking into walls in, say, March, because I've lost sight of all of this very reasonable advice.  I'm going to try to actually make it work for ten consecutive months this year.  And leave your suggestions in the comments!
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