I have caught myself saying “I feel like I’m not a good teacher” far too many times this year then I care to admit. It is usually met by the typical comments of support, or friends looking at me like I’m crazy, or that mix of both pity and understanding from other teachers who know how that feels.
Today I left work and said “I feel like a good teacher again!” What does this even mean? Why do I feel good some days and bad others? What are the standards that I’m putting on myself? Over the past few years I have improved so much in work-life balance, job satisfaction, and I’ve become much more self-confident. So why do I still feel ‘not good’ some days?
I think that it usually means I don’t feel like myself or that I’m not feeling confident. Sometimes it has been due to a comment from an external party. Sometimes it’s because I’m absolutely exhausted. This year, more often than not, it has been from this feeling of being totally unprepared for any given day. I have jumped into two contracts with no more than a weekend to prepare (only 12 hours in one case). Both jobs have involved report cards for students I barely know, and both have started during insanely busy times of the year.
I really took the past two weeks (Spring Break here) to hit that reset button and start feeling like myself again. And on our first day back today I definitely felt the benefits!
(Yes, I realize I shouldn’t be classifying myself as a “good teacher” or a “not good teacher” but since I’ve been doing it already and it’s just how I feel here goes…)
- Connect with your students (this morning I gave them a silly “what I did on Spring Break” sheet so I could make sure I walked around and touch base with every student)
- Collaborative planning! (I worked with a couple different friends doing some planning and I feel so much more inspired to teach the units I have planned now)
- Take time for yourself (I had big plans for planning, marking, etc. over Spring Break to get all caught up but all I did was do a bit of planning with some friends and a little organization in my room and the rest of my break was all about ME)
- Make mornings easier (I am NOT a morning person – So I made a bunch of lunch and breakfast items to help me start the day better)
- Laugh. A lot. (This will always be the best part of the job for me – kids are so funny! Let loose and laugh with them)
- Get ahead on the workload. (Yes, it doesn’t last but doesn’t it feel great to not have any marking AND to know what you are doing for the next two weeks? It was totally worth the extra hours over Spring Break and a very long day today to get to this point)
- Brain breaks (Can anyone say sunshine? We took a little outside break this afternoon before French and it was the best! Kids were happy, I was happy… It was great!)
- Connect with colleagues. (My classroom right now feels a little isolated but I’m really trying to make sure I venture out to have a chat with colleagues before and/or after school as it makes the day so much better)
What do you do that makes you feel like a “good teacher”?