I wake up in the morning with my to-do list running through my mind. I’m thinking of lesson ideas as I get ready, writing a to-do list as I get breakfast, and continue the day with my mind multitasking as I check things off my list.
I’ll be honest, I kind of thrive on this kind of pace. I like to get things done and have my mind working. Although, I’m learning that pausing throughout my day has amazing benefits. Being able to recenter and pause actually helps me get more done and with a more positive attitude.
How do we pause in the blur of a day of teaching? How do we recenter ourselves in the midst of 20 children needing our constant attention?
5 Little Things That Will Help You Pause
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- Take a deep breath. This may sound too simple but I find it helping me more than anything else. Right before I start the next thing, (a lesson, a group project, a team meeting) I take a deep breath. It’s hard to remember to do this so I will put a sticky note that says, “pause” on my lesson planning page. I also found this super cute breathe pillow that I want for my teaching chair!
- Mindset. It seems every week I stumble on a quote that hits me in my core. I write it down on a sticky note and put it somewhere I’ll see it often. What I would really love is to get one of these felt letter boards and display my quotes! I often post the quotes that inspire me on my Facebook page too.
- Music. My first year of teaching was the most challenging year, as many of you may agree. What made my first year different than most was that my students had multiple disabilities. The majority of them were in wheelchairs. They had feeding tubes, seizure meds, and were learning how to communicate using alternative methods. I also had 3 assistants in my room to “lead.” Every morning, before anyone else got there, I would play a song that motivated me! If you need a pick me up in the middle of your day try dancing brain breaks and make sure to dance with your students!
- Treat yourself in the afternoon. I try to eat healthy and keep my sweets to a minimum but I find that eating a small piece of chocolate helps my afternoon go much better. It is something small to look forward to and gives me a boost.
- Lists. This might not be a helpful tip for everyone but lists save my sanity. By writing down what’s on my mind (to-do lists, ideas for lessons, upcoming trips, grocery lists…) it frees up my mind to be in the moment. If it’s on a list, I won’t forget it and I don’t have to spend my brain power thinking about it! Check out this awesome journal about lists! I need this!
5 Other Things To Help Your Sanity
- Is there something that drains your patience quicker than anything else? Identify what that is. Maybe it is when students call out or when you have to repeat directions. For me it’s when students rely on me to do things that they can do for themselves! Find some inspiration to solve it. Hopefully by solving this problem some patience will be added to your day!
- Are you eating well? I don’t mean drinking kale smoothies but actually eating meals. With fast paced days it’s hard to focus on cooking or what to eat. I plan my meals out at the beginning of the week and that has helped so much! This has helped me avoid getting home and feeling discouraged because I have to figure out what’s for dinner. Here is a recipe book by one of my favorite chefs from Food Network! This looks like another awesome recipe book for teachers!
- Are you taking care of yourself? Many teachers I know are terrible at this! We spend so much time focusing on our students and our teaching that there isn’t much time leftover for us. I’m always trying to do better at self-care because I know that if I’m taken care of, I’ll be more effective for my students! This book also looks like a great resource for self-care!
- Are you laughing with your students? There is so much to get done in a school day that I often forget to savor some moments with my students. Find a good time in the day to read a few jokes! It helps create a fun classroom culture and everyone feels better after laughing!
- Do you have fresh expo markers and sharpened pencils? Seriously, sometimes it’s the small things that make all the difference in my day. If I don’t have to dig through my closet for new expo markers or help students find a sharp pencil my day is much happier! These are the best pencils! You may not want to share them with your students!
Listen to music, display quotes, and remember to breathe.
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