So, what advice for teachers could possibly exist to get us through the January blues? Well, here are some tips that could help you survive the longest 31 days known to mankind!
Tip One: Book a holiday!
I feel like one of those Boxing Day adverts… you know – where suddenly TV goes from showing snow-filled nativity scenes to the beaches of Barbados in the 2 seconds from Christmas Day to Boxing Day. But, seriously, you need something to look forward to. Don’t wait until the Summer Holidays – book for Easter. If you book for Easter, then you are not available for those “free” days you give the school each year in exam revision classes. Then, print off a picture of the hot, glorious beach you will be sat on and blue tac it to the edge of your computer.
Tip Two: Imagine the future
We tell our students to do this all the time. If they want to know why they are trying so hard, then we tell them to imagine the future they are aiming for. So, are you aiming for the summer holidays? Are you able to imagine the promotion you want? Do you want to be living in a different part of the country? Give yourself a reason to be working this hard on these dark days when you arrive and leave work when the sun is below the horizon. The search for your next amazing job could start now!
Tip Three: Work gently
I remember when I first started teaching, my Head of Faculty told me to see teaching as a marathon and not a sprint. He then told me the 1001 jobs he wanted doing by lunchtime… but you know, the thought was there! The truth is that it is a marathon but the start of term often requires you to sprint. You are starting all your classes on new topics, which means you are likely doing a lot of active learning strategies. Manage your planning wisely. Look at the whole of your day, all your classes together and see your energy as a finite resource that needs to be managed as closely as your felt tip pens!
Tip Four: Make time to exercise
You will probably have made a resolution to exercise more but then it is cold and dark. To get more energy you must exercise – life is weird like that. Plus… endorphins are addictive… so after a while you will actually want to exercise. I know – doesn’t sound true – but it happens, I’ve been told.
Tip Five: Remember to eat
You will also have put yourself on a diet in all likelihood – or at least promised to cut out break time biscuits and the chips from the school canteen. But – this was all you actually ate at school and to remember to pack a lunch of healthy leaves is all too much in a morning. So, find a way to remember to eat.
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