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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Things I Learned From Having a Difficult Class: Taking Care of Yourself

This is the first post in my Things I Learned from Having a Difficult Class Series. Today I'm focusing on taking care of yourself. In the upcoming weeks I'll discuss managing the class as a whole, the problem kid(s), and the perfect kids. 

Did you know that it is extremely common for teachers to have health problems? I've heard about high blood pressure, foot problems, bladder infections, migranes, anxiety, TMJ/grinding teeth, not to mention always being sick from all the different bugs were exposed to - and that's just naming a few!

Taking care of yourself is so important in general, but becomes even more important when you have a difficult class. I mean, teaching can already be stressful enough when you have a class full of little angels should you ever be so lucky, but when you add in that one child who really gets to you.. well, things could get ugly. But only if you let them!

I'm sure this won't be the only time you've heard this, but if it is - seriously take it to heart! You and your students will benefit from a well-rested and HAPPY teacher. 

The grading can wait. 

The things you *need* to cut out can wait. 

The pencils that need to be sharpened can wait.

Lesson planning can wait.

The emails can wait.

This is difficult for me to do. I put 110% into what I do, and I won't settle for doing anything less. The students deserve the best, and I am determined to give it to them. BUT, when you're stressed beyond belief because your behavior student had multiple meltdowns in one day and keeps getting dumped back in your classroom because no one else wants to deal with them and you're holding on to your sanity for deal life - for goodness sakes GO HOME AS SOON AS YOU CAN!

Teachers spend so much time at work, and a good portion of that time isn't even paid. I'm talking early mornings and/or staying late. You can't do this every single day, but make the most of your time at work and GO HOME. Leave work at work, and go do something for you. 

Take a walk outside. Go hiking. Read a good book. Go to a movie. Go take that one class at the gym and let someone else be the teacher for an hour. Find a good happy hour and go with your friends. Do something for you that has nothing to do with teaching. Invest in yourself and you will thank yourself in the long run. Nobody on their deathbed says that they wish they spent more time working!

P.S. - Take a sub day if you need to. It's better to take a day to save your sanity than develop severe pains in your abdomen due to being SO stressed by your students. Learn from my experiences and take care of yourself. 

Check back next week to get some more tips for handling a difficult class!

P.P.S - In addition to taking care of your health, make sure you know your rights as a teacher. I will have more information about this in my post about documenting and the big picture, so I don't want to say too much about it now, but that being said..  It is super important to take care of yourself professionally and legally. Check back soon for more about this!

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