As a secondary school teacher, you need to be well-prepared and manage time effectively. In a recent podcast series, the 4S system was introduced to help you as a multiple-prep teacher.

The last “S”, sustain, focuses on ensuring you take care of your well-being and keep yourself in the teaching profession in the long run. This blog post delves into the importance of sustaining oneself as a multiple-prep teacher and tips for achieving it.

Importance of Sustaining Yourself as a Multiple Prep Teacher

As a multiple-prep teacher, you may have a lot of different courses to teach, and this can be overwhelming. However, sustaining yourself as a teacher will help you to maintain a healthy balance between work and life.

To sustain yourself as a teacher means to maintain your energy, motivation, and focus so that you can keep teaching and grow professionally.

The 4S System

The 4S system is a tool to help you as a teacher manage your work effectively. It involves setting priorities, sorting out schedules, systemizing tasks and sustaining oneself through self-care and well-being. The 4S system can help for the upcoming school year even during the summer.

Set in Order

The first “S” involves setting priorities. This means deciding which tasks to focus on first and which ones can wait.


The second “S” involves scheduling. You can create a schedule that allows you to make the best use of your time. This can include planning for lesson prep, grading, and administrative tasks.


The third “S” is about systemizing your work to make it more efficient. This can involve organizing resources and simplifying your work process.


Finally, the fourth “S” is all about sustaining yourself as a teacher through self-care and well-being.

This is crucial for multiple-prep teachers, who have a lot of responsibilities to juggle. To sustain yourself as a teacher, you need to maintain your energy and motivation so that you can stay engaged in your work.

Tips for Sustaining Yourself as a Multiple Prep Teacher

  • Prioritize Rest – Rest is a crucial element for sustaining oneself as a teacher. Make sure you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Set a routine for going to bed and waking up, and avoid working late into the night.
  • Set Boundaries – Setting boundaries is essential for your mental health and well-being. You can set boundaries by scheduling breaks, limiting the amount of work you do outside of school, and delegating tasks when possible.
  • Be Mindful – Mindfulness can help you stay focused, calm, and motivated. You can practice mindfulness by taking breaks throughout the day, focusing on your breath, and being present in the moment.
  • Engage in Self-Care Activities – Self-care activities are essential for maintaining your well-being. You can engage in activities such as exercise, reading, cooking, or spending time with loved ones to help you relax and recharge.

In Summary

Being a multiple-prep teacher can be overwhelming. But it is possible to sustain yourself in the profession. The 4S System provides a useful tool for teachers to manage their workload effectively. Incorporating tips such as prioritizing rest, setting boundaries, being mindful, and engaging in self-care activities can help you maintain your energy and motivation as a teacher.

Useful Links

 Today we are going to be wrapping up our series. We are on the fourth S of the four S system, and we are going to be talking about sustain. If this is the first episode that you have listened to, make sure that you backtrack and listen to the previous three episodes starting at episode 100. And 33 to get the full picture of the four S system as we go into the summer, and how to prepare yourself not only to get things done during the summer, but really set yourself up for success as a multiple prep teacher for the following school year.

Welcome to the Secondary Teacher Podcast, the podcast for middle and high school teachers juggling multiple preps to get the strategies to reduce overwhelm so that you don’t have to choose between being an effective teacher and prioritizing important relationships. I’m your host, Khristen Masek, a 10-year high school engineering teacher, former middle school assistant principal and teacher coach.

Every week, we will discuss strategies, systems, and time saving tips to help you not only survive but thrive as a multiple prep teacher. Okay, my teacher friend. Let’s be completely honest here. More likely than not, you are a multiple prep teacher because you either are teaching an elective course or courses, and you are going to be teaching a lot of different things, or possibly you are at a rural school, and you kind of have to teach a bunch of different things.

More likely than not, as a multiple prep teacher, you could minimize your. Preps somewhat and slightly, but depending on your situation and the size of your school, you will probably always be some sort of multiple prep teacher. Now, there are certain circumstances where you might get out of that, but really we need to be focusing on what you can do to sustain yourself as a multiple prep teacher, as if this will.

Always be your career. And it’s not bad to continuously be a multiple prep teacher, but you have to figure out how to sustain yourself and really be the best teacher ever with what you are given. Today you are going to be talking about that sustainability, that part of keeping you. In the profession if you choose to stay in the profession.

And then how does that look? With the four S system, we’re really setting you up to help sustain yourself because we set an order, we talked about what you really need to prioritize. We talked about your schedule for the second S and how you’re going to work things out. And then for the third s, we talked about systems and systemizing things.

To really. Make things easier for yourself. And now we’re really going to be talking about sustaining, so we’re kind of putting it all together and. What I really wanted to focus on for this episode was sustaining yourself through your self-care and your wellbeing. Now, self-care can look very different for everyone, and I know that there’s a lot of things in social media and a lot of people wondering , what does self-care look like?

Is it going to the spa? And while I enjoy the spa, I think it’s, it’s. Bigger than that, because a lot of times as a teacher, well first off, you do need support, but that comes from somewhere else, someone else, and it makes it hard for you to give yourself. Your own support. We’re going to be looking at things that you can do that will help you or could help you with your health and your self care through some memories or some things that I’ve gone through myself.

I’ve always been a multiple prep teacher my first few years of teaching. I was teaching not only multiple preps over different class periods and sections, but there were several times where I had two classes within one class period. I was juggling teaching two different groups of students within one class period.

And I was young and really didn’t think much about it. We didn’t have children at the time, and so we would work really late. We would bring tons of stuff home. I would be grading all the time. I would spend virtually my entire summer rewriting everything that I had done for the whole entire year. I didn’t save anything.

I don’t know why I didn’t save anything, but I think it was that I was trying it to be perfect in everything that I was doing, which is interesting because I still remember my mentors at the school telling me to only change one unit. But. Most of the time I didn’t have any curriculum. I wasn’t given curriculum.

There was no curriculum out there for what I was teaching, and I had to come up with something. I spent a lot of the summer coming up with things and whether or not I used those, which on a lot of occasions I didn’t use any of that. I was spending a lot of time not really relaxing because I was always doing things and I was working so much and it was a lot of it was at home, I wasn’t staying.

Really late at school, but then I was getting there early in the morning. We realized when we were trying to conceive that we were having fertility issues, and we had tried to conceive for about five years. And then in my journey after I realized that the amount of stress that I was putting on myself and not being able to.

Really clear my brain and not being able to relax was actually increasing my cortisol levels, which was making it more difficult for me to get pregnant. I had not realized, and like I said, I realized this after the fact, after I learned a little bit more about my body was that I was making it so that we could not conceive because the amount of work that I was doing every single day and how I was.

Doing things nonstop. Really my, my first thing that I found out about myself is that I needed to focus on, Rest. You need to prioritize your rest, how much you are sleeping every single night, what time you’re going to bed, what time you’re waking up. Really trying to get seven to nine hours of sleep, even if you have something that you need to finish, which hopefully you don’t.

But a lot of times that’s when I would stay up is that I would stay up really late because I felt like I needed to perfect some sort of worksheet and or. Exam or test or quiz or something, I need to do something for that night, for class the next day. That was part of my problem is that I had not planned out far enough that I couldn’t just go to sleep and be fine the next day at school.

, I did go through this journey of, once again those with the four S’s and really figuring out how to schedule and plan and be ahead of the game. But then it also came down to I needed to get enough rest. Also needed to eat lunch. There are many of you who I know. Are probably not eating lunch. And if you are, it might be 10 minutes, and I know we only really have 30, but 10 minutes instead of the 30 minutes, and then you’re working for the rest of those time.

It is very important, even if you enjoy sitting in your room by yourself, is that you are enjoying your. Meal and letting that be a break. I really do like scrolling on my phone during lunch. That’s just the way that I’m kind of checking out of what’s going on is eating and looking at my phone. But then I also like going to the faculty room or eating in a colleague’s room so that I get that interaction with another teacher.

Those are some things to try out if you are not. Currently eating. Since we’re still on the same eating path, are you eating breakfast? And if you’re not eating breakfast, there are ways to eat something. I’ve also learned that it’s best to eat within an hour of waking up to once again, keep those cortisol levels at stress hormone lower.

And so even if it’s some sort of a nut butter or protein shake or protein bar or something, if you don’t have time to make the full breakfast, which I never have time to do that, there are still ways to get your body nourished and prepared for the next day. We went over your sleeping and then your eating, and then this next one is boundaries.

It may not seem like it totally fits in with self-care, but part of self-care is setting up those boundaries so that you can say no to things. You can say no to people. Whatever is going to extend you beyond what you had set as a boundary is really good for your self-care. Whether it’s that you do want to leave at your contracted time or that you don’t wanna work at all when you get home, or you.

At this point have decided that being a club advisor is not in the cards right now because you are focusing on so many preps. It’s okay to say no to things, but you need to have those boundaries in place so that you can say no to those things as well. Your assignment for today’s episode is to think about.

One of those three things. What do you want to do this summer so that you can start setting up some good habits for the fall? If you’re not getting a sleep right, enough sleep right now during the school year, then tackle that one. Or if you’re not eating regularly, tackle that one. And then finally, if you’re, if you don’t have boundaries or you’re having a hard time setting them, Choose that one.

There are three different things that you could really set yourself up for success, because having those habits for three months or two months, I guess a lot of times, sometimes it’s one month, but you know, the summer, we’ll call it the summer break no matter how long it is or short, but setting that up.

For helping you set that up right now, we’ll help you set up for success in the fall. If you enjoyed this episode and if you felt like it was helpful to you, it could be for others, please tag me and share it on Instagram and also share it with your friends at Khristen Maik, K H R I S T E N M A S S I C.

Until next time.

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