Does anyone else feel this way? It doesn’t matter how long I have been teaching, or if I am doing the same role, or even having the same students, Term 1 has always been a struggle for me.
I think at times I bite off a little more than I can chew at the beginning of the year. I often set myself a goal to focus on for the year, improving my teaching practise in a particular area, or implementing teaching strategies I haven’t used before. Term 1 is also about establishing routines, expectations and building relationships with students and parents.
Schools are constantly busy and I personally don’t like to complain about how ‘busy’ a term is, I just feel that this is reality – there is a lot to fit in and many interruptions throughout the year. For me, Term 1 is just tiring and I think the main reason is through building those relationships.
Now that Term 2 has begun, I am already feeling more relaxed and in a good routine with my students. They know my expectations now, and although I continue to introduce new concepts, my routines and procedures in the classroom remain the same.
As far as my life outside of the classroom goes, it is the same old boring stuff that I have learned over the years! Eat well, exercise regularly, create some rules for myself around how many hours I will work. I could work 100 hours a week and still find more to do as I am sure most teachers would agree. So setting some boundaries around work ensures that I am at least giving myself a little oxygen throughout the busy and tiring days.
For example, I go in to work really early 2 or 3 days during the week, and I make sure I have a couple of mornings where I stay home a bit longer. I also have 2 or 3 days each week that I work back late if I need to. Prioritising job lists also helps – pick the 3 most important ‘have to’ jobs and get those done. Everything else can wait. Also being selected about the jobs that teachers need to do. I often ask myself – ‘Do I really need to change that display or do I really need to mark their books?’
But still, after 15 years in this profession, Term 1 got me good!
What are your tips for surviving?