So you’ve cooked, cleaned, lounged, spent time with family and friends, maybe worked your second job, spent a whole day in your pjs, read some good books, watched some good movies, painted, enjoyed drinking your coffee while sitting in silence, cuddled your sweet niece… okay these are some things I’ve done, but hopefully you have been able to do some of these as well, among so many more!
As you prepare to go back to school, or maybe you are already back at it, you might find yourself needing a little motivation. You might be dreading it, trying to drag yourself to the grocery store to once again figure out what in the world you are going to have for lunch every day for the rest of the yea… oh and then there’s dinner. You might have a stack of papers that you couldn’t for the life of you find the motivation to grade even though grades are due when you return. You might be looking as far in the forecast as possible to check for that wishful *snowflake*.
Well guess what, unless Jesus returns (Come, Lord Jesus) or he calls you home, going back to school will come. You will have to do these hard things, and you will be AWESOME.
So, let’s get down to the basic things that we need to remember as we head back to school. There are so many things that get piled up on our plates as teachers. It’s important that we don’t forget the most important things.
1. Love those babies.
Love those babies. When you love the babies, they learn how to receive love, they learn what love looks like, they learn how they might could love others, and they learn that you love them. Learn the kids in a whole person, not just as a student. Learn what they need, not just academically, but emotionally and physically. This changes the way you will see them and teach them.
Of course, loving them requires discipline. Sometimes you will show your students you love them by giving them consequences to their actions. Something that I try to do is whenever (after or before) students are serving their consequence, I have a private conversation with them. I ask them what they did, whose choice it was, if they believe it was a good choice, what they could do better next time, etc. This invites them to reflect on their choices and their control of their choices. Remember that we love because he first loved us.
2. Teach the kids.
This may sound like a no brainer, nevertheless it is a basic. Remember that the kids are kids. They are not adults. They have emotions. They have things that are important to them. They have things that they like and dislike. They are not adults, but they dream about what they will be when they grow up to be adults. Teach them everything that they will need to know as adults, and let them know that you are trying to teach them how to be just that! Some of these are obvious; like reading and math. But teach them how to talk to and work with their peers, how to handle their emotions, how to ask questions, how to be wrong, how to succeed. Seek out these teachable moments throughout the day.
3. Take care of you and your family.
Teacher friends, we are the worst at this. I have heard over and over how your health, your family, and your marriages struggle because of how much time we spend working after hours. It truly is heartbreaking to me. Our jobs are extremely important, no doubt; but dear friend, you have to draw the line somewhere. You have to set boundaries. Maybe you need to set times every day of when you are going home, everything stays at school, no work at home. Maybe you leave right after school a few days a week. Maybe you need to seal the weekends for your family. This is important! Stop right now and set goals for this! Let your spouse or friend or coworker or all of these know your goals so they can help keep you accountable.
Some of you are probably thinking, “Well, how am I going to get everything done?” Your job is important, but your marriage, your personal growth, your kids, your health, your relationship with God… you are in charge of caring for these. No one else on this earth can do anything about these things if you don’t help yourself. If you neglect these things, there will be consequences that you will look back on and think “Man, I really should have _________.” Your family deserves better. You deserve better. Remember that when you say “yes” to something, you are always saying “no” to many other things. If you are not sure if your balance is a healthy one, ask God, your spouse, your kids, your coworkers. Talk about these things not in defeat, but in hope and in love. ASK FOR HELP. Some of you have mastered this! Rock on! And teach others how to do this, and teach them what has been helpful for you!
These are reminders for me, too. I am still a beginner at this, and so I invite your wisdom and encouragement! What reminders do you have to share with us?
Teacher friends, let’s prance back to school!
Prance: to dance or move in a lively or spirited manner
Yes, I said that. And you thought you were done thinking of reindeer. 🙂
I love you guys! Prance away!