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Are you feeling stressed out and overwhelmed? Today, we’re going to talk about how to combat those feelings as you get through the end of the school year.
In Disney’s Encanto, there is a popular song called “Surface Pressure.” Luisa, the “strong” sister, sings about her stresses of being the strongest member of her family and trying to live up to expectations.
It has become wildly popular with mothers and can apply to teacher-moms as well (if not more).
You are working so hard for your students, but you also have a home to run. You worry and care for someone else’s babies all day and sometimes don’t have enough energy to care for your own at night. It can be a lot of pressure.
So, here’s the number one tip to getting through the end of the school year: get help.
We’re going to be talking about how to get help at school, online, and in your home. These tips are meant to simplify your life through routines and systems that you or someone else can do to make your load lighter. Remember, you don’t have to do everything and that’s okay.
Get Help from the School to Get You Through the End of the School Year
To get help at the school, you need to figure out what you are spending the most time on. Or, what you think could be done by someone else. For example: copies.
The first school that I taught in had a HUGE copy center. Not only that but it had two technicians that ran it. It was like we had our own in-house Kinkos. They were efficient and did a great job. The only catch–they had a system to get it all done and they needed a little time.
When I finally figured out that I had to have my requests to them 48 hours in advance, I did whatever I needed to make sure that I got it done.
While I know that not every school has an in-house copy center like this, there are other resources that you can utilize. You just need to figure out what it is and how it works.
Let’s circle back to the original question. What are you spending a lot of time on that someone else could do?
You don’t need to know the answer to this question or how to solve it. (If you did know how to solve it, you already would have.)
Once you figure out what you need help with, go to a trusted colleague, admin, mentor, or coach. Ask them if they know of a solution to your problem.
It could be as simple as referring you to the copy center–or explaining how it works. It could also be that you brainstorm together to figure out how to simplify your grading practices, come up with routines, or reorganize your classroom.
What’s important here, is that you are getting help from people who want you to succeed. They also want you to be spending your time teaching and not getting burned out by tasks that could be simplified or completed by someone else.
Get Help and Support Online to Get You Through the End of the School Year
What do you do if you don’t have trusted support at your school or district? The internet has made it easier to still get that support.
Here are the three ways that you can get support online:
- social media communities,
- paid programs and professional development,
- and paid resources (curriculum).
Getting Support Through Social Media Communities
CTE teachers (especially singletons) find great value in connecting with others online. Some are organized by topic or subject and others are broader.
Facebook groups are a popular way to connect. Do a quick search for your content area or specific courses and see what comes up. Some examples are secondary teachers, shop teachers, business teachers, and FCS teachers.
You can also find many teachers on Instagram and Twitter. These teachers are sharing tips, giving examples, and teaching others how to do the same.
Getting Support Through Online Professional Development
Another new online support is on-demand teacher professional development. One new idea is PopPD. It is an online marketplace for educators to take innovative, relevant PD. Think skillshare, but for teachers.
Coaches and expert educators are creating workshops and courses that you can take wherever and whenever you want.
Want to take this online support a step further, there are educational coaches, like me. They specialize in a bunch of different topics. They have different personalities to help you achieve your professional goals.
Getting Support Through Paid Resources and Curriculum
The last online support is through paid resources and curriculum. Don’t think that you need to create all your content for each of your preps. It’s too much. You don’t have enough time.
Give yourself permission to use someone else’s created resources (free or purchased), to save some time and your sanity. Check out this post for more about how to personalize this curriculum.
To wrap that section up, if you want more support than what your school can provide, go online and see what is out there.
Get Help at Home to Get You Through the End of the School Year
Your home should be a place of relaxation and rejuvenation. You need to be functioning at full capacity when you’re at school to help your students. That’s difficult to do if you never have a chance to relax and recharge.
For our family, routines are a huge part of this. Check out this post for more on our routines at home.
Before we go on, think about what you want to be feeling on a perfect day after you get home from school.
For me, I would love to come home, quickly get dinner started. (Set it and forget it style). Catch up with my husband and kids on how their days went. Eat dinner as a family. Spend special time with my children playing games, reading books, etc. Bedtime would be a breeze and the kids would go to bed without a fight. The rest of the night would be spent with my husband, reading, or supporting teachers through this blog.
To have that “perfect day,” you cannot do it alone.
Establishing a Dinner Routine
Let’s start with dinner. Dinner will need to be planned, ingredients purchased, meals prepped, and cooked. What in this list could be done by someone else or before that day?
Our family loves to do freezer meals that we can cook in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. You can find recipes online or check out this book with recipes that our family enjoys.
If you live in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, or Colorado, we have loved going to Citrus Pear Dinners on a monthly basis to make our monthly meals. This is a meal prep service where we put together 20 meals in 2 hours. Check out to see if you have something similar locally.
Going back to our “perfect day,” we’re going to look at what is missing. Clutter, cleaning, and conflict. In our family, the first two lead to the last.
Clearing the Clutter
Earlier this year I was talking with a veteran teacher at my school. She told me the best thing that she has done for herself and her family is to have someone come in and clean.
My first thought was, aren’t cleaners expensive? Turns out, the service may not be as much as you think. Most cleaning companies also have various “packages.” They come as frequently or infrequently as you would like.
Hiring a cleaning company to come in a clean my bathrooms, kitchen, and floors has been the best investment in my time and sanity.
1) You have to have a decluttered house to clean. The night before the cleaners come, our family picks up the entire house. During the week, our nightly “pick-up” takes about 10 minutes.
2) A dirty and cluttered home is no longer a distraction so I can relax. I can choose to do what I want instead of having to clean or pick up.
3) I get things done that I’ve never had the time for. Want to deep clean? Go ahead, your bathroom has already been cleaned by someone else.
Having a less-cluttered (we are still working on some systems and routines here), has made the evenings and weekends more enjoyable. We are able to spend more time together and there is less arguing and stress.
In the end, it is challenging to be a teacher while trying to manage your home and family as well. Especially as you are trying to get through the end of the school year.
Recharge by making your life easier, more meaningful, and intentional by getting help.
Find people who can support you and help you figure out how to make your life and teaching simpler.
You don’t need to only rely on those who are assigned to support you at school. You can take charge of your own professional development and learning by going online. And, you can utilize systems and others to help at home as well.