Survivor: The Distance Learning Edition (Self-Care)

10:36 AM

All across America, teachers have moved from their brick and mortar classrooms to learning at a distance. Educators everywhere are trying to make this transition as seamless as possible, and I have to admit that many are doing a great job at it! Likewise, I have seen many people who have felt like they were less than or not doing enough because they are comparing themselves to other teachers that they see on social media. So, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to sharing a few tips on how you can survive this “distance learning” thing. These are tips that are working for me and I hope that will help you too!

Survivor Tip #1: Start Small

Trying to do everything at once can be extremely overwhelming. Remember if it’s overwhelming for you, it will also be overwhelming for your kids and your families. Try to focus on putting up one really good lesson that will teach a concept or try to figure out one thing that you can become really good at. Once you master that, you can move on to something else. For me, that one thing has been using Canvas to get resources to my teachers. I worked to first make my Canvas space inviting. I then moved on to make sure that I provided my teachers with top quality resources. I’ve been truly amazed at the feedback that I’ve gotten, but it all started by just taking things one day at a time.

Survivor Tip #2: Set Your Hours to Work and Stick to Them

Just like when we are in school, it is important to set work hours and stick to them. This can keep you from overdoing it and burning out. For me, I set 3 hours each day that I am available for teacher support. Although I am always available by email or text, I am available in Microsoft Teams for 3 hours a day. During this time I can make videos that will help teachers with a particular concept, I can meet with a teacher in MS Teams and walk them through something they are struggling with, or I can join a live class and coteach a lesson. I try to stick as close to those 3 hours as possible because I don’t want to overextend myself.

Try doing the same. Schedule a few hours that you are online for student interaction whether it be a question & answer session or going live to teach a lesson. Outside of those hours, you can remain available through email and/or whatever other digital platforms to answer any questions. It is important that you set boundaries. We are all experiencing a learning curve at this time, and we have to grant ourselves some GRACE. Answering questions by e-mail or another digital platform is a lot less intense than being available for direct contact. Set your hours and step away!

Survivor Tip #3: Unplug

Find something to take your mind off of teaching. This could be a daily routine or it could be something that you do over the weekend. For me, I’ve invested in an Xbox 1. Yes, I do consider it an investment. After a long day of being on the computer, The Xbox is my way of unwinding and clearing my mind. I haven’t had a video game in about 2-3 years, but it’s been my sanity the past few weeks. For my wife, she plans. She is a self-proclaimed planner queen. She relaxes by creating weekly spreads with all kinds of themes. Find your thing and make it count. Schedule the time if you have to, but find a way to unplug and relax.

Survivor Tip #4: Log Out or Unfollow

Seeing what some people are posting on social media can often make you feel less than or that you just aren’t doing enough. Yes, that teacher just had a really good lesson on Zoom. Yes, that teacher just posted the most amazing resource. Social media and online platforms can be great for inspiration, but they can also be places that breed anxiety and a feeling of being overwhelmed. They can make you feel like you aren’t good enough. So, when all else fails, log out. Social media sites have found great ways to help you manage what you do and don’t see on your timeline. If you need to mute users, do it. If you need to unfollow someone, do that too. And if all else fails, log out. Your sanity is not worth it.  Sometimes I have to logout in order to clear my mind. When I’m ready to, I log back in and I reconnect.

Above all else, remember that this is new territory for all of us. It’s new for you, it’s new for me, it’s new for our colleagues, and it’s new for our families. No one is expecting us to be perfect and no one is expecting us to get it right the first time. Just like we did as first-year teachers try it out, reflect, and make the adjustment. You are an amazing teacher, you are an amazing person, and your kids are lucky to have you!

by The Playbook

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