New Teacher Tip: Handling Teacher Fatigue
The weeks before the December holiday season are fun-filled times for everyone. It seems that each and every person is having a blast shopping, buying gifts, wrapping them and putting them in nice packages—everyone that is, except teachers. You may feel that you are stuck between grades, report cards, gifts and organizing the holiday party too. Don’t fret! Remind yourself of how much you have accomplished over the last several months, and that the holidays are just around the corner.
Typical stress points for teachers around this time of the year and strategies for handling them are discussed below.
1. Empty planning book for the New Year—Many teachers start planning the details of the academic year in the fall, but never find the time to get beyond December. A great idea is to look at the year-end goals you have set for the class and work backwards to create a schedule for the New Year.
2. Holiday party—If you are worried because state tests are just around the corner, and you believe that you cannot afford to throw a holiday party for the kids, then think again. You don’t have to organize a traditional type of party. You can always organize something that may help you cover an area of the curriculum instead. Opt for a reading theme party or an afternoon in the park or at a museum.
3. Report cards—They are the bane of the teaching profession, and you may feel that talking directly to the parents is far easier than writing the narrative in a report card. However, grading has to be done and the reports have to be written. Try completing 4–5 report cards every night. This will help keep fatigue at bay.
4. Loss of contact with friends—Some of the most peeved friends are those who have teachers as friends because the best laid vacation plans are postponed or reduced to a lunch on one December afternoon. Keep in touch with friends and make up for a cancelled vacation by doing something personal. Bake cookies for friends if you enjoy baking or help them with decorations.
5. Holiday crafts—As much as you would like to do it, there just does not seem to be enough time for the holiday crafts you wanted to create. You may also feel like you are at your wits end thinking about what you can do while other teachers seem to be creating beautiful and aromatic wax candles with their students. Try doing something different! Have your students write a poem and recite it. Record the recitation of each student’s poem and place it on a CD. Students will have a holiday gift for their parents that they will never forget.
While you use these strategies to fight fatigue, remember that it is important that you remind yourself of the things you have accomplished. This is something that can keep you motivated and your spirits high.