Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

I was revising my syllabuses/syllabi for my classes – remember those from college? We also do them in high school. They contain the teacher information, expectations for the class, how the students will be evaluated, etc. I got to thinking that I needed a syllabus for myself.

I love, love, love being a teacher. When I am in the zone teaching something and the students make connections, it is surreal. But, the teacher life can be a very lopsided and unbalanced life. The school year is super intense and then we get summers off.

So, as I embark upon a new school year, I have some expectations for myself. I encourage you to do this, as well, whether you are a teacher, a parent, or just use the school calendar as a re-set.

-Know myself and don’t try to change myself. I am not as productive later in the day. I like to arrive at school early and work until I start teaching at 8:31. First period is my planning so I have about 1.5 hours to work.

-Make time for my morning coffee and quiet time at home before leaving. I like to get up leisurely and enjoy this time.

-Meal prep is something that makes me feel ready to start each week. Take the time on Sunday to do this.

-Pack my lunches the night before. Lay out my clothes the night before. Basically anything I can do the night before helps my morning self. I remember once Jack and Mason got the idea to just sleep in their school uniforms to save time in the morning. Ha!

-People before paper. This is something I repeat to myself quite often. I came up with it a few years ago. I love being productive but people are more important. If a student comes in my room, they take precedence over the papers I’m working on.

-Our principal sends a weekly memo every Sunday morning around 9 a.m. I am going to try to wait until Monday morning to read it. Why should I give up my Sunday – even if it is just mentally? I wish he wouldn’t send it on Sundays, to be honest. I can’t control that, but I can control when I check work email.

-Continue to keep work email off of my phone. I don’t get any work email notifications on my phone. I turned off Google Classroom notifications on my phone. I need to remember that I control my technology.

-Being outside is so important to me. The best thing about virtual school was the increased outside time I got last year. Walk after school and spend some time each afternoon or evening reading for pleasure outside.

-Try to do one fun thing each week and one fun thing each weekend.

-It’s o.k. to be routine oriented, but it’s also o.k. to veer from it sometimes.

-Take my showers at night. My mantra is “no wet hair in the mornings” because wet hair takes too long to fix.

-Keep margin in my schedule. Do not overschedule myself. For me, just going to work will be all I can do some days and that’s o.k.

-Use online grocery pickup and plan to pick groceries up right after school once a week.

-Say “NO”. I have learned that it’s ok to simply say, “I appreciate you thinking of me for that job but I am not able to at this time”. You do not need to have diarrhea of the mouth. You also do not have to feel bad for keeping margin in your life.

-Give myself grace. I have not had a normal school year for awhile. I will be exhausted from the schedule and the mask wearing. We only taught in person for 8 weeks with Wednesdays at home last year. This year I will teach from 8:31-2:20 with a 20 minute lunch break. I have 6 classes in that time period.

-Make time for what matters. This is different for everyone. You do not have to justify what that is to anyone and I don’t either.

-Take my personal days. I only took one day off of any kind last year. You can’t pour from an empty cup, yada yada ya.

-Don’t take myself too seriously.

-Sometimes I should go talk to someone rather than sending an email.

-Avoid negativity. Don’t cause it. Don’t get involved in it. There is one teacher I avoid because everything is negative.

What would be on your syllabus?


16 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip – Syllabus for Self-Care

  1. These are such great tips! Last year, I finally convinced myself to not check school emails when I’m not at school, and it’s made a big difference in my stress, I love “people over paper,” and I do abide by that rule too, but I love how you’ve phrased it! I also love the idea of going talk to someone rather than send an email. We get in these habits, and sometimes it is better to just go chat with that person. I love your self care syllabus…clever and so helpful!


  2. Oh, I love it, you are such a smart woman! I especially wrote down “People before paper”, that is so good! It reminds me of something I read: When a student hands in a paper, a homework or whatever; always acknowledge it by reading a few sentences, humming, nodding, give a thumbs up or whatever (even if you only pretend ;-)).
    And thanks again for your wonderful blog, I must confess that i feel a bit down about starting work on Monday…


    1. Thank you! That is a good idea!
      You are sooooo kind!
      I did, too. Enjoy the weekend and schedule your down feelings for Monday morning! Ha!
      It will be o.k. and you will see the positives I think!


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