Surviving 2nd Semester

I’ve taught for many years and know that certain seasons can come, and go, and sometimes come and stay.  Do you know what season I am talking about?  You trudge out of bed, into the car, and into the classroom wondering how you will survival all the way until the end of the year.  Let’s face it – sometimes teaching can be really hard…and tiring…and it keeps us busy. The second-semester blues can set in.

There have been a few years where I have fallen into to a rut and I have felt teacher burn-out. Most years I have been full of joy and energy – ready to tackle on just about anything! This year, I am happy to say, I am SO excited for this second semester. I truly love what I do. As a teacher, this is important. You really need to love teaching. Most of us know that our demeanor transcends out to our students.

What are some things that you can do if you find yourself in the blue zone – or burn-out land – or whatever you want to call it?

  1. Start a thankful log. (Also known as … count your blessings!) It’s hard to focus on the negative when you are full of the positive. Think about everything you are thankful for – even small things – and write them down. (I am thankful that I have my health. I am thankful that Julie is in my class. I am thankful that I have resources for technology. I am thankful for my garden.)  If you have students or subjects in which you are struggling, combat the negative thoughts with positive ones.  Find something you can be thankful for. (Even if it is your own personal growth!)
  2. Try something new.  Sometimes we can get into a rut; it is boring doing the same thing day in and day out. Why not change it up a bit? Branch out and try something new! Whether it is a new technology, new classroom arrangement, or new route to work…try doing something new. Need a simple technology idea? Create a poll for your next class using Poll Everywhere and allow students to respond via text. Or, try a jigsaw activity.
  3. Bless someone.  This goes along with number one – count your blessings.  It’s easy to concentrate on our own difficulties. When you go out of your way to make someone else happy, you will find that it will make YOU happy, too! Really! Organize an activity that brings joy to others.  What about bringing treats for your classroom? Bless a colleague – or a total stranger.
  4. Create an engaging lesson. Go out of your way to spice up your class. Create something fun and unique to do that supports your curriculum.
  5. Create a personal learning network (PLN).  Find a new topic that you would like to learn about and keep growing! It might be a professional topic, or it might be a new hobby. Find others that want to join in with you and start learning.  Follow leaders in the field through Twitter, sign up for a class, or research on your own.
  6. Enjoy your off time. Do something fun! Balance your work and play. As a cyclist, I usually spend my weekends outside riding. I recently decided to take up mountain biking – just for fun! I’m terrible at it…but I love it and it gives me something new and challenging to do! Yes, here is me being a goof-ball…5 hours on a Saturday riding in the middle of our empty Folsom Lake…and loving it.

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If you ever find that you are unable to “move” out of your burn-out stage, perhaps it is time to move on. (My suggestion – pray about it!) We want to make sure we always present our best to our students!

Here are some more articles regarding the topic:

Cynicism is Contagious – great read!

Second Half Survival

Staying Positive in Trying Times

Teacher Burnout

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