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Self-care tips for a beginner teacher

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Avery Isgett Avery Isgett 240 Points

As I prepare to begin my student-teaching internship in the fall, I would love to hear about any self-care strategies that have helped you navigate the beginning stages of your career as an educator. We all know that this profession can be stressful, so I really want to have some good strategies to have handy in my tool belt so that I can avoid burnout as much as possible.

Annie Mast Annie Mast 605 Points

Hi Avery, 

I am currently a third-year majoring in Elementary Education at Wartburg College. I just listened to a presentation about surviving your first few years of teaching. Some of the main takeaways that I took from it were prioritizing your mental health, staying organized, and asking/accepting help. For prioritizing your mental health, make sure you leave work at work. It is recommended that when you go home, you should be doing activities that you enjoy instead of continuing to work. Staying organized is very important as well because your students will be able to tell if you are not. While it might be hard for us sometimes, we need to ask for and accept help when we need it. This will be important for me to remember when I first start to teach.

 

I hope this helps!

Peter Ower Peter Ower 140 Points

Hi Avery,

I've been teaching 7th grade science for 15 years. Here's what I recommend.

  • Set limits. You are not on call 24/7. Decide a time each day where you turn off your email and stop doing work. Don't check it until you get to work the next day.
  • Prioritize yourself. Sometimes you will need to put yourself first and that's okay. Sure, it may mean the grading gets delayed. It happens!
  • Learn to say no. Early career teachers often say yes to everything that comes their way. Saying no is always an option. Figure out your own comfort level for extra (e.g. clubs or committees). Only take on what you feel you can take on.
  • Have a mentor (supervising teacher). Many new teachers are assigned a mentor. Rely on them! Ask for help when you need it. I offer as much support to my mentees as possible. If that means I setup a lab for them so they can get some more plan time, I'm happy to do it.
  • Have a planning team. My grade level teachers meet once a week to check in and help plan. We're often sharing resources, lessons, activities, etc. At no point is one of us writing every single lesson for the entire year. We share and work together. It really helps when you work as a team to divvy up the workload.
  • Have some fun hobbies or other "you time." I love to run, go on walks in the woods, ride my bike, and read. All of these help me reset whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed. Remember, you are more than your job!

Ultimately, you're not alone. There are always great teachers there to help you! The first year is going to be tough as you figure out your teaching style, build relationships with students, and make sense of the curriculum. But, it does get better. You got this and congrats on being near the end of your preparation program!

Hannah Rumble Hannah Rumble 398 Points

This is so true and helpful! I am a senior college student going into my student teaching coming up soon and all of these things are areas I tend to struggle in. So, I hope I can utilize these tips and have a great school year! Thank you so much for helping all of us stressed-out future teachers! :)

Another tip I have often heard veteran teachers say is to use your time wisely but to not stress if not everything you had planned to get done gets done. 

Mariana Garcia Mariana Garcia 500 Points

Hello! I really liked what you said,  "Prioritize yourself". I've seen so many friends of mine being stressed/ worried about not having enough time to grade paperwork from their students, always working on school work, and always stressing about everything.  Im currently a senior in college, two semesters away from student teaching, and by reading these reccommendations builds up more confidence towards what i want to become one day. Thank you!

Have a good one! :)

Mariana Garcia Mariana Garcia 500 Points

Hello! I really liked what you said,  "Prioritize yourself". I've seen so many friends of mine being stressed/ worried about not having enough time to grade paperwork from their students, always working on school work, and always stressing about everything.  Im currently a senior in college, two semesters away from student teaching, and by reading these reccommendations builds up more confidence towards what i want to become one day. Thank you!

Have a good one! :)

Kai Johnson Kai Johnson 1305 Points

Thanks for sharing Peter! I am a preservice teacher who is getting nervous about my first year of teaching but your ideas really helped. I'm happy to hear that we will get a mentor teacher to help us along the way also. I know that setting limits and saying no are two things that I will struggle with.

Lauren Karabin Lauren Karabin 280 Points

Thank you for this post! As I approach my student teaching semester I have seen people telling me how overwhelming it can be. These however are great tips, I especially like priortizing yourself and saying no. These are two things I somewhat struggle with now so I know I need to work on them before my workload gets to be too much because I don't want to burn out or lose my passion! 

Daniel Fulkerson Daniel Fulkerson 870 Points

Thanks for sharing these tips, I find them very useful!

Brittney Booker Brittney Booker 353 Points

I am an upcoming teacher and I am always curious about the tips and tricks teachers use. I am glad to see that there are other people out there just as curious as me. I plan to use your tips in my future. Thanks for sharing!

Analiza Amaya Analiza Amaya 910 Points

I'm so glad I was able to find some tips for self-care! I'm a senior in college and i'm coming close to student teaching and would like to take some of these tips into the classroom with me in order to avoid burnout. 

Abigail Bowers Abigail Bowers 520 Points

Hi Avery! I am still a preservice teacher and do not have my own classroom yet, but I would love to share something a mentor teacher told me that has really stuck with me. They told me that it is super important to take time for self care because if you are a broken teacher you can't help broken students to the best of you ability. Many aspects of the classroom can wait a day or a few hours, your mental health should always be a priority. Good luck and God bless :)

Jacquelyn Adcock Jacquelyn Adcock 780 Points

Hi Avery,

This is something I hear is very important, especially for first year teachers.  At the university I attend they have two "Professional Seminars" where the focus is on career building and self-care.  They have tips and methods to help new teachers maintain their mental, emotional, and physical needs while dealing with the demands on them at school.  I hope your school has something like this.  If they do and it is an elective I would highly suggest this type of class.

Caroline Meroski Caroline Meroski 365 Points

Hello, 

some self care tips for teachers is to set limits when you are grading. If you get tired take a break and come back to it. Some other ideas is to go for a walk and embrass nature. Another idea that i love is mediatiing in the morning i find them on youtube and it really helps me to start my day. 

 

best caroline

Andrea Harris Andrea Harris 320 Points

Hello! Something I've learned this semester about self care is to set boundaries!! Keep school at school and home at home. I've learned from my cooperating teacher to not check your e-mail while at home and she doesn't take home anything to grade or plan while at home. She saves it for the next day. She also has been teaching for 20+ years now but as a first year teacher I bet we can also do this in small ways. Something else that I do is try to do something that I really enjoy throughout the week. I try to bake something every week and read a book that I enjoy. I also really like taking bubble baths! So try to find something that you like and carve out time to do that. 

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