Sunday, October 14, 2018

A FEW TRICKS, SO YOU CAN TEACH

Hello Gourd-geous! You and I both know that October is crazy and busy and random and fun and full of sugar. Personally, October is one of my favorite months of the year. Fall candles, layered outfits, changing foliage -- I love it all! Professionally, October is one of the most stressful months of the year. I've read many articles talking about how October is "the month of teacher burn-out." I don't care how long you've been teaching, October seems to leave every teacher I know feeling a little frantic and frazzled. The Halloween season is upon us, conferences are looming overhead, the "honeymoon" period is over, meetings and extra events are piling up... BUT you can do it. I'm sharing a few tricks with you today so that you can focus on teaching and enjoying this month with your students!



Trick #1 - Take a breath.
Take time this month to do something that gives you oxygen in your personal life. Pausing on all of the crazy will help you to find your center and re-energize for all of those things vying for your attention. 



Trick #2 - Be mindful of what you put in your body.
I'm not your doctor, so I'm not going to tell you what you can/can't eat... but I am going to share a little bit of what I've learned about my own body lately. I WANT ALL OF THE SUGAR. Especially when I'm stressed. Everywhere I turn in October I can find some sort of sweet treat that I could justify deserving because I work so darn hard. Sometimes I do give in to the temptation and at least take a bite. But I've noticed just how much sugar and carbs really cloud my thinking and make me tired/lethargic. I don't know if your body works anything like mine does, but I know that I need to be fueling it with healthy foods this time of year so that I don't get sick and I can be on top of my game mentally. 


Trick #3 - Mix in some seasonal activities.
You don't have to spend money or do too much work to increase engagement in your classroom. There are lots of neat seasonal lesson plans and activities on the internet that you could utilize, or you could take a lesson you have already planned and put a little seasonal spin on it. For example, we're teaching long division right now in 5th Grade. To increase engagement, our team is having students create their own Halloween/Harvest themed division word problems embedding our recently learned vocabulary. This has made a pretty dull topic come to life as students are crafting sentences utilizing words like "partition" and "iterate" and then sprinkling it with footballs, and candy corn, and pumpkin pie!  Using the change in seasons to your advantage can be a great (and easy) way to engage the learners in your room.


Trick #4 - Give your students (and yourself) a break.
Set an achievable management goal with your students. (Examples- Quiet on the way to/from the lunch room all week, Received compliments from all Specials teachers for good behavior, Cleaned up the room each day in less than 4 minutes, etc.) When students reach that goal to your standard for a certain amount of days, reward them! In my room I have a marble jar. Students work together as a whole class to earn marbles for positive behaviors they display as a unit. When they fill the jar up, they earn a reward of their choosing. We start this on the first day of school and my students typically earn their first "marble party" in October each year. I let them decide what they want their reward to be... a popular choice is a movie party. This gives them a break to be social and relax and it gives me a break to work on grades or my other to-do's. The most important thing about this break is that it is EARNED. My students are watching a movie for part of the day, but they can articulate exactly why and what they can do to earn it again. 


Trick #5 - Go with the dance. 
Sometimes you just can't fight the crazy that is October. Roll with the punches as much as you can. When unexpected things pop up or go wrong, your reaction matters. Sometimes our reaction to stressful things is they only time our students get to see an adult respond positively to the negative situations life throws their way. (Thanks Rushton Hurley!) Go with the dance of life and try to take the time to make those things teachable moments. 


Trick #6 - Remember you're not alone.
I have seen even the most masterful educators frazzled in the midst of peak "burn-out season." Reach out to someone when you're feeling stressed. Maybe you need to talk with a friend you trust in your school, a teacher you've connected with over social media, or perhaps someone who is completely outside of the education realm.  Find someone who can understand how real the struggle is, allow you to vent, and then help you get over it. 



Outfit Details:
"Mushroom" Textured Sweater - Old Navy (same)
Trick or Teach Tee - Jane.com 
Distressed Jeans - Old Navy (same)
Cognac Ankle Booties - Target (same)
Earrings - Target 
Rings - H&M and Target 


Okay, Teacher friend I hope that trying out some of these Tricks helps you to enjoy the time you have to Teach the ghouls and boys in your class. 😉 You've got this! 

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