Teaching during a pandemic is not the highlight of my teaching career by a long shot. But, I have learned so much about myself as an educator since March of 2020, when “pandemic teaching” became a thing. Whose with me?
Here are a couple of those lessons:
Take a day
- When your cup is empty, you can’t fill others cups. We’ve all heard this one right? And if anything were to make us extra tired it’s EXTRA Covid duties, being shut down because of an exposure or a student trying to kill themselves, because they’ve spent so much time at home, and in their case it’s not a “happy” Place to be. That will wear on any teacher. When you feel like you’ve lost your joy, take a day for yourself. You deserve it and there is no shame in it. This year I’ve seen so many teachers taking mental health days, myself included. Finally we feel comfortable enough to communicate our needs.
- Whether this year is your first or your 15th, forgive yourself when things aren’t perfect. Because they won’t always be. This goes for any teaching year, but particularly those that Covid and shut downs have impacted the most. Your kids will get it, no matter their age. You can make it a food for thought moment and the kids really soak moments like those in. They need to see an adult say, “that didn’t turn out the way I planned, and it’s okay!”
Have boundaries & stick to them
- This one has been the bane of my existence but when I figured out what this looked like for me, it was and is magic. I established at the beginning of the year, I will not respond to messages or emails after 4pm from kids or parents. I let parents know too. This established to my students, when Mrs Weatherford was in family time, nothing else came before it. They respect it too for the most part, and those that don’t, just don’t see a response until I get to work the next day.
Put in grades 2-3x a week
I used to grade every night at home. It’s so unnecessary. Then my work is in my home life, which I now work very hard to keep separate. I now grade throughout the day. Sometimes on sat mornings, if I had a big test or writing assignment. But very rarely on the weekends. This has been a mental lifesaver.
Those are my top pieces of advice my friends! Most of all, give yourself grace, love on yourself and your kids daily.