Updated: Oct 14, 2021
The school environment is like none other. It contains a mixed bag of personalities (both staff and students) that all need to work together to achieve the best possible outcome. At times, this can be tricky to navigate, especially during the busy parts of the school calendar.
If you are anything like me, a positive outlook helps you to be the best teacher you can be. You probably like to enter school with a smile and a good attitude. Not everyone feels the same way (we could all name a Negative Nancy or two) and a negative vibe can bring you down.
Here are some of my habits that may help you to become the best version of yourself at school so you don’t fall down that teacher rabbit hole of negativity and despair:
Start your day in a way you enjoy. Before I had kids, I went for a walk along the beach to breathe in the fresh air and get some exercise under my belt (now with kids, my daily morning coffee is the highlight of my routine). That way, before you even enter the school gate you are feeling positive and happy.
Organisation and Prep
Be prepared for your day. This is something I know I can take ownership of myself. The less I have to run around in the morning choosing outfits, prepping lunches and organising lessons, the better the state of mind I am in to begin the day with my students.
Podcasts and Music
Make your commute to work a time you really enjoy. It might be listening to your favourite radio station, podcast or music you love. There are lots of teacher podcasts out there if you want to be inspired on your way to work too!
Keep a positive mind
A positive mindset helps on those days that are a little harder than others. If the resident Debbie Downer hits you up in the hall or walkway, try redirecting your mind to something you are excited about or grateful for.
They say that we all need to drink at least 2 litres of water a day to keep our bodies functioning at their best. Water not only helps with our hydration but also regulated our mood! Disclaimer: I am not amazing at this myself (I’m that grade partner that is constantly needing to duck out to the toilet during class if I drink too much water) but I am working on it.
Continue to learn
Education is an area that is always evolving. If you have been in the game for a while, you will have noticed that trends come, go and circle around. However, the best teachers are the ones who are committed to being life-long learners themselves. Putting up a wall every time a new idea is introduced isn’t going to get you far. Give new things a go and then make an educated decision of how you want to progress from there.
Eat healthy snacks
If you are anything like me, being a teacher is hungry work. I am usually starving when it comes to break times and I need nutritious food to keep me going for the day (check out our Thermomix ideas for teachers for some healthy snack ideas). Also enjoying ‘Crunch and Sip’ with my students helps keep the ‘hangry’ version of me away.
Spend time with those that lift you
Choose wisely who you spend time with at work. Sit next to someone different each day in the staffroom or simply stay away from those that bring you down. One reason I love the teacher Instagram community is that there are so many dedicated teachers there that are willing to help each other. If you can’t find the positive support you need at your school, look for Facebook groups or join Instagram to find your people (and maybe look for another job next year!)
Learn to say no
Protect your time and yourself by learning to say no at school. It is very easy to commit to all the extra things and then become overwhelmed. This is a recipe for a negative mindset. Choose what you are good at and enjoy, and dedicate your time to those extra things at school (you don’t have to and shouldn’t do it all!) By saying no in a friendly and confident way you're actually then saying YES to the things that are really important to you (both school and non-school related).
End the day in positivity
Ending your day in a way that reminds you why you became a teacher will nurture that positive mindset. Finish your lesson 10 minutes early and ask the students what they enjoyed most about their day. Tell them what you are grateful for in return. Even better, find your inner child. When I taught Kindergarten if it looked like it was going to rain outside, I got them to put on their raincoats, we would turn up the music and do a ‘rain dance’. The kids loved it and the majority of the time they couldn’t wait to tell me the following day that the dance worked (even though I had cheated!)
Your students deserve a positive and uplifting teacher. But you deserve to give that gift to yourself as well. It is not always easy, however, time goes by too fast to be tangled up in a chain of negativity.
We’d love to hear from you if you tried any of these ideas! Are there any essential tips or strategies you would add to our suggestions?