Advice from a Teacher

I was talking with a teacher with whom I’m observing. We got on the topic of her first year of teaching. She told me that during that time, she would stay until as late as 7 most nights and still take work home with her. She was really stressed.

Then her mentor told her that if she’s not taking time for herself, then she’s not doing what’s best for the students. They need a teacher who is taking care of herself (or himself).

Since then, she’s learned to end her days at 5:30, and she’s made an agreement with herself that she won’t take any work home unless it’s grading papers. She’s also decided that on Friday nights and Saturdays, she won’t do work.

She told me that there’s always something more you can be doing, but sometimes it’s important to take time to go see a movie.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Advice from a Teacher

  1. That’s really great to here. So frequently I think it’s drilled into our heads just how intense being a teacher will be and how bogged down you can get with work, which to a degree, without a doubt is true. But it’s refreshing to hear a teacher that has figured out a way to still be a great teacher and also take time for herself. Glad to hear it!

    • When she was telling me about her experiences, I started to feel some relief. Here she was, saying that yes, there is always.more you can be doing and you will feel that pressure and stress, but it really is in the students’s and your best interests to take a step back and take time for yourself. You can give yourself that permission and still be a great teacher.

  2. Stephen Ransom

    The first few years of teaching are indeed overwhelming, as there are so many new things to learn and get a handle on that were either not part of your teacher education experience or are requiring you to figure out how to put theory into action in an effective way. You realize quickly that educational theory is just theory unless it is tied to actionable experience… and it’s much easier when it is just ideas on a printed page.

    One must take care of oneself, for sure. Being highly organized and using time efficiently can go a long way toward getting a handle on the work load. But yes – the work is never done.

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