Teachers: Take Care of Yourself Too

A good teacher is like a candle, it consumes itself to light the way for others.

We’re almost beyond that time of year.

Sniffles, coughing, sneezing, noses being blown and multiple absences per day.

No longer are students crowded in stuffy classrooms coughing on one another and getting up endlessly to grab a tissue or two… or three.

I’m now in need of tissue boxes. Serious boxes. Like the kind you find at Costco that comes in a box filled with endless tissue boxes inside.

The door that leads outside, I so wish could stay open all day. Like the door that leads to a screened in porch with a little bit of breeze blowing in.

Yes, that sounds about right. Getting rid of the stale air sounds quite good about now.

Allergies, flu, ringworm, laryngitis, broken bones. I’ve seen teachers endure all of these and more. I’ve been told by a previous principal that there are no substitutes, so I’ll just have to teach without a voice. That was a surprise during my first year.

And here’s another one.

Question: Name the professional who schedules surgery on vacation?

Answer: Teachers

If you’re not a teacher, you just don’t understand that time away is compounded when you return. Not knowing whether the substitute was able to accomplish what you left is one thing, but you’ve also got to make sense of the note that was left.

I’ve had to be the detective the day after in attempts to make sense of what happened between two (or more) students that didn’t get along for a reason I can’t begin to get to the bottom of the next day. It’s the kind of work that sets you three steps back for every one step you had hoped to make. That time away, even if you were sick, suddenly doesn’t sound like a chance to rest up and feel better. It quickly feels worse.

Stop it. You can’t take care of your students if you don’t take care of yourself too.

Moms do it. Teachers do it too.

You care about each of those in your charge. Heck, you cared about them before you ever met them and they were just a name on your roster.

You think about them on the way to work and then again on the way home. You’ve got their parents’ number in your cell and call to give updates. You prepare for Monday by planning on Saturday… and then on Sunday. Sounds like what teachers are supposed to do, right?

You’ve got to make time for yourself too.

Like grabbing the oxygen mask as it falls from the overhead compartment during a mid-flight crisis, you’re told to take care of yourself first to be able to take care of those around you.

Great advice.

So start taking some time for yourself before you decide that there’s no time for yourself anymore. It’s not being selfish, it’s called reserving some time for yourself so that Monday isn’t exhausting because you spent all week doing more schoolwork.

Your worth it and so are your students.

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