Beat December Overwhelm with the #TchItReal Photo Challenge

Show us what teaching really looks like

You’re in the homestretch towards winter break. You’ve almost made it. But, let’s face it, this stretch isn’t often pretty. If you’re like many teachers, your classroom is a mess, your desk is full of papers to grade, and the bags under your eyes aren’t going to go away until well after Christmas.

Teaching can be both incredibly exhausting and incredibly rewarding. At Teaching Channel, we’re here to support you in both your triumphs and challenges. Though we want to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished this year, we also want to keep it real. So this holiday season, we’re celebrating the craziness and exhaustion that can come with teaching in December.

While the messy stacks of “overwhelm” don’t look pretty, they’re a sign of your dedication. Even when teaching isn’t perfect and classrooms aren’t always Pinterest worthy, you keep going. And that’s a reason to celebrate! We’re all hobbling towards the winter break finish line, so let’s do it together.

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#TchWellness: Protect Your Personal Time

Getting Better Together

This entry is the third post in the series #TchWellness.

My career as an educator bleeds into every part of my personal life. While reading with my children, I often ask them open ended questions, requiring them to use claim evidence reasoning. One Thanksgiving, I began a clapping pattern, expecting more than 20 guests to match the pattern and give me their undivided attention. Sometimes it’s even challenging to go out in public. My students are seemingly everywhere. While pushing my cart down the aisle, I occasionally hear “Ms. Morey” echoing behind me, and I suddenly tense as I realize the spheres of my personal and professional lives are not all that separate, but intermingled components of a Venn Diagram with a vast area of overlap.

This overlap is most often recognized by my children. They’re sitting beside me as I work through the papers I bring home, prepare for the upcoming week, and strive to stay on top of email and social media updates. My ability to prioritize my role as mom is often compromised by the intense work I engage in at home. When it comes to creating a clear separation between work and home life, I admit, I find it a challenge.

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#TchWellness: Incorporating Play Into Your Life As An Educator

Getting Better TogetherThis entry is the second post in the series #TchWellness.

Last year, mid-September, I realized something was missing from my daily appearance — my smile.

Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure & a love of play.

Photo: Early Learning HQ

I was going through the motions of teaching and doing an effective job, yet I found myself unable to laugh. It was as if my intense focus on academics masked my enjoyment of teaching, and all at once I realized laughter was absent from my classroom.

Once this enjoyment diminished, it was harder than I imagined to get this fun “groove” back. I desperately wanted to reinstate my internal enjoyment, both for myself, selfishly, but also for my students. I understood that laughter was contagious and would help my students to feel comfortable and content at school. As my to-do list mounted, and I became bogged down with meetings, giving feedback, and writing lesson plans, I became even more desperate for the return of my smile, yet it became only more elusive.

This September, I’m intentionally focusing on play and laughter as my monthly goal. Engaging in more frequent play has already started to make me more relaxed. I’m enjoying my family, finding my own creativity, accepting failure, and developing new friendships. All of this is contributing to a sense of optimism and internal peace, allowing for more frequent smiles.

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“Welcome Back Classroom Hack” Challenge

There’s just something about teachers — I don’t know if it’s nature, nurture, or some combination of the two, but teachers are clever. If you need a problem solved in a way that is practical, economical, innovative, and immediate, your best bet is to find a teacher and present your problem as a challenge.

Welcome Back Classroom Hack Challenge

Teachers also know the value of iteration. They understand that we learn from our first attempts that fail, and they’re cool with it. Add to this mix a willingness to learn from the iterations of others and a strong bias against reinventing the wheel, and you can see why teachers are among the most resourceful, ingenious, and inspired individuals. Teachers are hackers, no doubt!

Though we may be problem solvers at heart, the classroom is unpredictable and perfection is a pipe dream. We march forward with good intent, but there always seems to be that one thing that didn’t work out quite like we planned. The more complex the puzzle, the harder we work to devise a solution.
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