Making Teaching More Manageable
We all have days (or weeks, or months) when we feel like we can’t keep teaching. Often these times come at the end of the year, when we’re exhausted and overwhelmed. The good news is that sometimes small tweaks can make all the difference, giving you the energy you need to power through.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try these tips:
Having someone to talk to can make all the difference. All teachers get busy, so it can be easy to let our collaborative relationships go by the wayside. Finding some time to reconnect with a teaching buddy can go a long way. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop by a colleague’s classroom after school and talk. Find time to collaborate and share the workload. Is there anything that you can split up to make both of your lives easier?
Get inspired by watching strong collaborative relationships in action. See how Sherwanda Chism and Debora Gaten come together to plan and reflect on lessons, even though they teach at different schools.
Find a Coach
Having a peer to talk to and work with is invaluable, but sometimes what you really need is a coach. Even if you don’t formally have a coach this year, talk to your administrator to see if you might be able to get access to one. Be honest about being overwhelmed. Teacher burnout is real and it’s great that you’re taking steps to prevent it. Need more evidence of the power of coaching? Watch this video about transforming practice through coaching.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all we have to do. If that’s the case, try to break your to-do list into more manageable small steps. Instead of being confronted with every possible thing you can do, focus on the essential tasks that you need to get done. This video is meant to show how to teach complex topics to kids, but I think it can be applied to teacher life as well. If something feels too hard, break it down!
Focus on Joy
Plan something that makes you light up. Do you have a favorite art project? Is there a book you love reading with students? Find ways to reconnect with what you love about teaching. Watch how kindergarten teacher Mary Abdul Wajid communicates her love of teaching to students.
Let’s support each other! What do you do when you feel like you can’t keep teaching?
Lily Jones taught K/1 for seven years in Northern California. She has experience as a curriculum developer, instructional coach, teacher trainer, and is also a contributing writer for Teaching Channel.