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What I learnt from Google about teachers on ‘Smunday’.

So this morning I was looking for a ‘Sunday’ picture to post. I trawled memes and quotes, scrolled through images, but nothing was right. It seems when you google ‘Teacher on Sunday’ you get a very limited option of material. Images are either linked to Sunday School (which isn’t what I was after), how much teachers dislike Sundays, or how we certainly don’t have Sunday as a day of rest.

After scrolling past a few images I quickly learnt teachers are not a fan of Sundays, especially Sunday night. In fact, there is a even a word created especially for us – ‘Smunday’. Apparently, it is when Sunday starts to turn into Monday, and teachers get anxiety about all the things they haven’t done and what they should be doing instead of watching Netflix.

Really, a whole word dedicated to our anxiety? Well I don’t know about you, but this is something I don’t experience. Sure, I might spend some time thinking about tomorrow or getting ready for work, but it does not cause me anxiety.

So what about resting on Sunday’s? Well apparently, we don’t get that either – we just get the rest of the housework, the rest of the cooking and the rest of the marking.

So no matter how you look at it, Sunday’s just aren’t great for use teachers.

Now neither of these themes worked for me, and it certainly isn’t how I want teachers to be viewing Sunday, so I just settled for a cute picture of a dog chilling a bath (it was the best I could find and everyone loves cute dogs).

But what is the real problem here?

Well it is that teachers (we) are being led to believe we actually don’t like Sundays. Now if this is true for you, or if you have seen a few of these images and agree with them, you are missing out om one of the best days of the week.

Sundays are a great day!

It’s when you can sleep in, have a late breakfast (if at all), and finish the day with some kind of reality TV program – The Voice, The Block, My Kitchen Rules… they are all prime time Sunday viewing.

Sunday is also great because you can plan for the week, get organized, set some goals and do something which will make the rest of the week easier (for me this always involves meal prep so my breakfasts and lunches are done, redoing my to-do list and looking at my goals, and sometimes choosing my outfits for the week).

So don’t make Sundays a day where you wait for the stress to arrive, or a day where you are doing ‘the rest’ of stuff, make Sundays the day where you say yes to what you want to do and how you feel and use it to make sure you continue feeling that way all week.

Now this may mean a little bit more organization on a Sunday night, writing down some goals and tidying your ‘to-do’ list, spending a few hours in the kitchen or only one reality TV show on Sunday night so you can turn the lights off a little earlier and get a good night sleep.

Whatever it is, it will make Sundays a great day and Monday even better!

There is always something to complain about…

There will always be something…. something to complain about, winge about, blame for our circumstances.

In fact, it’s how most teachers bond. The most common topic teachers talk about (freely that is) is usually something they are complaining about.

Enter a staff room and it’s all you hear – this student.. that class… I can’t believe they expect us to…

You see, even though we love teaching, unfortunately it’s the story we hold onto. And it’s rarely a positive one.

So why is this? Well it’s easier to sit in the negative, the pain. It unites us, and by talking about we can share, fit in and belong.

Our brain actually works this way (if we let it), focusing on the negative can be a default, the natural option, the ‘easy path’, and we do this without even knowing.

But if we stay in that space, as victim, we will never move on, never learn, never grow. We will never be able to help ourselves or our students.

Step away from being victim, acknowledge, but instead focus on what has been learnt and what you can be grateful. How will you move forward for you? How will you move forward for your students?

Leave, accept or change it. Decide what to do. In that is the power of who you are and who you can be.

Teachers on holiday – out of the School, thinking still like you’re in the classroom.

Too most people, teachers ‘are always on holidays’, but to teachers, sometimes holidays never even happen.

Well it’s that time again… Where teachers are on holidays and they have to listen to the rest of the employed population comment on how they never work… If only they knew.

Whilst this is the perception by many, it is certainly not the case for teachers. It’s no secret that without holidays we may not survive the year – not a joke.

So why is it though, that we go from holidays to school in the blink of an eye, and feel like we never left?

Now for those non-teachers reading this, no we aren’t complaining, it’s just that whole holidays ‘all the time’ sound great, truth is, it’s actually really hard to get into holiday mode, in fact, when we do, it’s not uncommon to be riddled with guilt, still browsing on Pinterest or doing the odd bit of laminating because ‘it’s not really work’.

You see, we might have left the building, but we haven’t left the job. Holidays are that in between time where we reflect on last term/year and set, yet again, big goals and promises to ourselves, about how we are going to do something new this year, try a new approach this term, or go in with a different mindset.

So with these new goals in mind, from reading group restructuring to a new classroom theme, Pinterest is our first go-to app when we are bored, we visit Kmart unnecessarily and we become familiar with all the different fonts on available as we busily make pretty activities for our students.

So how it THIS holidays???

It’s not.

It’s a refresh, a time to remind yourself what really excites you in the classroom and a time to get back on track. (I know week 10 was about of caffeine and sugar highs).

But here’s the catch, if this is all we do, than we are bound to be burnt out before we get back to school. This is why the first day back comment of ‘I feel like I didn’t even have a holiday’, fills the staff room as teachers return.
So tis is what we need to try to avoid. How do we do this? Well we actually need to take a holiday (yes just like everyone else thinks you already do).

Now I know we have to do some work, but taking care of ourselves is just as important, if not more important.

So how do you get around it? How do you actually have a holiday?
Just like the most successful will tell you, you have to schedule your time, and here’s how to do it.

1. Make a list of everything you have to do.
2. Put a rough time next to each item and figure out how much time you need.
3. Decide if you want to get it done first, leave it until the end, or do little bits here and there (personally I like to get everything done early on and them have the rest of time enjoying my holiday without distraction)
4. Schedule it in. Look at your calendar, use a diary, make a work date with colleagues.
5. Actually stick to the schedule and get things done.
6. Enjoy your holidays.

Now before you do this there are some things you need to know.
– teachers over commit to things they want to achieve. You will most likely find yourself returning to school with a few things on your list.
– there is always something else to do; let some things go
– google is BIG, the options are endless, just pick something

With this in mind, it’s now up to you. You have to do the list, the schedule and the tasks – sorry I can’t be more help. If you do get stuck though, let me know and I’ll help you out by getting you back on track.
Most importantly, have a great holiday – you deserve it.

 

End of term 2 – when your hand is in the lolly jar while your breakfast is in the microwave.

Term 2 is coming to an end, which means more than a few crazy things happening in and out of the classroom.

Finalising assessment, writing reports and setting grades, parent/teacher intervies, late nights catching up on marking, and somehow starting to plan for next term, when this one seems so far from wrapping up.

You see term 2 is craaaazy! And being the committed, hard working and over caring teachers that we are means we just don’t know when to stop, or even when to pause for a minute.

So instead we look for other vices, other ways to pull through and other ways to keep us going.

Coffee, sugar and uniting in winge fests become more regular than usual. Staff rooms are all of a sudden filled with extra morning teas than, the emergency chocolate stash has 2 settings: overflowing or missing and the usual coffee orders are doubled.

It’s that time of year where your hand is in the lolly jar while your breakfast is is the microwave.

We are all trying to survive. You and me and every other teacher. Trying to make it to holidays with our list ticked off, with our heads above water and with our sanity in tact.

So how do we do this.

First, take your hand out of the lolly jar. The things which are getting you through now are only going to become bad habits and make it harder in the long run.

Instead, limit coffee, drink more water, add in some herbal tea, get fresh air, walk outside and exercise, sleep and go to bed early. It’s all one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, one task at a time.

It’s about talking about what really needs to be done and helping each other.

It’s about remembering you are human first, than a teacher. So breathe human. You are an amazing teacher. But teachers need a break too.

Image from weareteachers.com

I took a mental health day, and I talked about it.

A few weeks ago I wasn’t coping. I was tired. I was drowning in my ‘to-do’ list. I was at breaking point.

So I took a day off… A mental health day. A well-being day. A day for me.

And I talked about it. (see my last blog)

When I returned back to school the next day, and took my morning position on playground duty, I was greeted with; ‘Are you feeling better?’, ‘Are you OK’, ‘Have you got the flu already?’.

You see, just because I had a day off, everyone assumed I was sick, like need to go to the Dr. sick, I wasn’t. I just needed to stop.

So my reply ‘Oh no, I wasn’t sick, I just needed a day’…

Now here comes the mixed reactions, confused faces, uneasy comments, awkward silence. Why? Because we just don’t talk about this enough, and unfortunately there is some sort of negative vibe that is still attached with this. Really? Still?

So if well-being is a priority, if we are putting teacher health first, then saying ‘I just needed a day’, needs to be met with a ‘Cool. Are you OK now? Anything else you need?’. This is the response that says it’s OK to put you first, to put teachers first, to be OK with not being OK. This is one step closer to actually putting teachers first.

This is why I talk about it.

Teacher Well-being