Nervous about a lesson you teach? Juggling all things? Or just having a hard week?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then we have only one thing: sage advice and words of encouragement from three resilient teachers to get you through the day.
1. Feeling you’re not doing enough?
Let 3rd grade teacher Fletcher Nelson remind you exactly how much Is Doing, you rock star.
A full transcript of this Pep discussion will appear below.
Hey friends, my name is Fletcher Nelson. I’ve been teaching for eight years and now I’m in 3rd grade in Minnesota, and today, I’m here to tell you that you’re doing an amazing job and you’re great.
Teaching is a difficult task. Our work is never done. There is always more we can do. Lessons we may be planning. The data we are looking for. Intervention we may be trying. Assignments we may be grading. And knowing that we can always do something that can confuse our perceptions of ourselves and our teaching ability because we think we are not doing enough.
And I’m here to tell you that you are wrong when you think so. That’s not true. What you are doing is wonderful. Your students are very lucky to have you. Your ideas deserve to be shared. You’re doing enough. The growth that your students have had – academically, and socio-emotionally – is remarkable this year. And they are very lucky to have you.
So make time for yourself. Our work is never done. There is always more we can do to make time for ourselves. Plan a fun trip. Go out with friends. Buy those items in your cart. Because you deserve it
You deserve it. You are a rockstar. Go get it.
2. Does the passion for teaching seem to be gone?
During difficult times, it can be difficult to keep up with the reasons why you joined the profession first. Hear from Jane Beauper how to do more that makes you happy and full.
A full transcript of this Pep discussion will appear below.
Hi everyone, my name is Jane Beaupre, and I’m an Indigenous K-5 teacher in BC, Canada. I have only been teaching in the classroom for over 10 years, and my career in teaching has been very uplifting. I liked it sometimes, felt full and happy in my classroom, but I also had some pretty hard times.
Like many other educators, I was frustrated with all the red tape I had to handle, I felt unhealthy, I felt anxious about teaching through COVID, and had very little appreciation. So I took a long rollercoaster ride on the education train, just like many others.
But having experienced all of the emotions, I still have to do it again. I’ve learned a lot about myself in my career, and I’m a good person for that.
And I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is to teach in my own way. I’ve learned that we don’t have to do it all, or meet the expectations of all my colleagues and administrators. And it’s a very difficult thing to give up. You don’t need everyone to love you, especially on the terms of your productivity or the amount of work you do. And you will quickly burn yourself out if you overwork or try, consciously or unconsciously, people like you. I learned that hard way.
And when I feel my own discomfort in doing everything, for all the people except me, I have created a really negative attitude towards education. And to go through this negativity, I have discovered that we need to clear what we need and want to get a sustainable career. So for me, it was like putting some blinds on my own thoughts and feelings, so that I could do more that made me happy. And I’ve made a big change in realizing that I’m important too.
So, in my day-to-day life, it seemed like I was allowing myself to slow down, I was more aware of what was important to me, and I supported those values. And I tried to do what I liked in my classroom. For example, I am an artistic person, so I have included more art in my lessons so that I can enjoy teaching more.
No matter where you are on your journey, and no matter what season you are in at the moment, I hope you understand that your feelings and well-being are just as important as any other person’s. And allow yourself to maintain the values you need to support your happiness. So you can continue or find a sustainable career in education.
We care for others, but we also care for ourselves.
3. Upset after not going according to a lesson plan?
Don’t worry, you’re just human. And 8th grade teacher La Townya Robinson is here to tell you that it’s okay to make mistakes.
A full transcript of this Pep discussion will appear below. It has been edited for clarity.
Greetings everyone! My name is La Townya, some of you know me as “Teachergram” or Smartstyle on YouTube. I am an 8th grade teacher in Southern California. This is my 16th year of teaching and I am currently teaching social studies, history and language arts.
Now, as I share much of my educational life on social media, some of you may remember watching my videos and my posts: There is nothing wrong with the classroom. “
And I’m here to let you know that it can’t be further from the truth. No matter how hard we try or how much forethought we put into a lesson, it is inevitable that from time to time a lesson will not go the way of our plan. And I’m here to say: “It’s all right.”
Because, yes, as teachers, we are multi-taskers, we are planners, we are type A people, we are at the top of the subject because we can’t afford not to. But above all, we humans and humans make mistakes.
Recently, I was guiding my class to the final stages of the study of westward expansion in the United States. And things were going great! We had this fantastic discussion, the kids were working in a group, and they made these really fun and exciting videos to reflect on what they learned. And I have to admit that, as a teacher, I was feeling pretty good about myself and what I was seeing in my classroom. And with that high sense of confidence and feeling good as a teacher, I thought, “You know what? It would be a really great idea if I could create a Google Quiz for each student group that they could share with their classmates and they would share with each other. Can take quizzes and how I can evaluate their learning. So, I sat down, I created a Google form template, I posted it in the Google classroom, I told the kids you wanted to do it, and I said: “Go ahead, kids , Create! “
Then came the day when it was time to take the first quiz they made. I instructed them, pumped them in and said, “These quizzes should be really easy. You made them for each other.” It posted, sat down, and thought I was going to do something while they were taking their quiz. And in just a few seconds, I heard the following:
“Oh, Mrs. Robinson!”
“Microsoft. Robinson, it’s not working.”
“Mrs. Robinson is able to open the quiz but I can’t open mine.”
I jumped up quickly. I went to the kids who were having problems. I looked once, and I tried to figure out why some kids were able to access the Google Quiz, but other kids didn’t. After a few minutes of trying and trying and trying, I realized I was defeated. This did not work out. And in an excited voice, I just said, “Everyone, turn off your Chromebook.”
At that moment, I realized that I had failed as a teacher because, in my view, I had not done my best to make sure everything was in the right place and now I was disappointing my students. We’re sitting here, they can’t even take their quiz, and I don’t know how to solve the problem.
In retrospect, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. We all survived. The kids still learned. And everything was fine.
Fortunately, with that wisdom comes the realization and reminder that, again, we are human beings as teachers. And people are going to make mistakes. When students think about you and their experience with you, they won’t think about the flawless lessons they gave them or how perfect the Google form was when you were in 8th grade. What they will remember is how you felt about them as a person, as a person. And whether you allow them to see you as a person and as a person. The way a part of them sees you is letting them see that you are making a mistake and how you will recover from that mistake.
I know the last few years have been difficult to teach, and we know that there are now many teachers who are forced to leave the classroom. But, if you’re here and you’re watching it, you’re still in the classroom and still fighting well for your students, remember: your students love you for you. And that love for you will take the lessons that are the worst in your eyes and make them shine in the eyes of your students.
For more teacher mental health tips, check out these blog posts: