Many teachers have recently returned from a winter break that provided a much-appreciated reprieve from the daily stresses of teaching. As we begin the second half of the school year, it’s important to reassess and think about how we can set a course for a successful remainder of the year. In this podcast episode, Cherie Spencer—Social and Emotional Learning Coordinator from Galveston, Texas—returns to join us in the conversation and offer her insights and suggestions.
While we acknowledge that there is no “one size fits all” approach, we discuss several ways to set ourselves up for success and well-being in order to sustain ourselves through the end of the school year. Our conversation revolves around topics that include building a trusted team and support system, reconsidering how we verbalize our daily greetings, and looking at how we can establish a realistic self-care plan.
Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.
Christian D. Larson, author
The following resources are available on AVID Open Access to explore this topic in more depth:
- Plug Into a Professional Learning Network (article)
- Connect With Colleagues (article)
- Remembering Your Why (podcast episode)
- Are You Okay? Building Resilience and Making Time to Care for Yourself (podcast episode)
- Managing Transitions: Addressing Social and Emotional Learning for Teachers (podcast episode)
- Refuel, Recharge, and Recover: Teacher Self-Care (podcast episode)
- How to Prioritize Self-Care: Developing Your SEL Toolkit (podcast episode)
Pathways to SEL Success
Even after a break, the stresses of teaching can quickly return. So what strategies and actions can keep us strong and healthy throughout the remainder of the school year? In this podcast episode, we explore the following strategies and more:
- Communities and Villages: Everyone needs to feel that they are part of a trusted group. When others build us up and recognize our victories, we are more likely to have the strength to both push through our struggles and feel okay putting the weight of our work down from time to time.
- Trust: When teachers feel that they are in a safe setting, they can drop their superhero personas and be vulnerable. This type of environment often starts by sharing our own vulnerabilities and acknowledging that we are not perfect.
- Daily Greetings: Often, we pass colleagues in the hall and offer a robotic “How are you?” with no intention of actually listening to the response. We want to be polite, but in our hurried day, we may not truly be seeking to understand how others are feeling. We discuss how to rethink these daily greetings and provide real opportunities for dialogue and connection.
- Realistic Self-Care Plans: To create a realistic self-care plan, we must honestly evaluate where we are at, and then create a plan that is doable. This may begin by having an “accountabilibuddy”—someone you can be honest with in sharing how you are really feeling—or it may include naming a realistic action that can be started immediately.
- Identifying Whether We Are Exhausted or Burnt Out: By acknowledging the difference, we can take the appropriate next steps toward self-care. Again, the first step is self-assessment.
- Administrative Support: When leaders model self-care and acknowledge their own struggles, it opens the gate for others to feel comfortable doing the same.
Extend Your Learning
- Why Teacher Self-Care Matters and How to Practice Self-Care in Your School (Waterford.org)
- 9 Self-Care Tips for Teachers (The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds)
- 5 Strategies for Teacher Self-Care (ASCD)