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How many times have you spent your entire weekend working and then resented having to go into work on Monday morning? When you show up, you’re completely exhausted and would give just about anything to crawl back into bed and sleep for just a few more hours.
If it sounds like I know a little bit too much about this, it’s because I’ve been there. I’ve made the mistake of spending my weekends deep in school work, especially during my first few years of teaching. It sucked all of the energy, inspiration, and creativity from me, yet I continued to do it.
The truth is, I was lying to myself. I told myself that I needed to do all of this work I was doing all weekend…but that wasn’t true. If you’re doing this, I want you to get really honest with yourself. Do you really need to be spending that much of your weekend time preparing for the week?
If you really think about it, the reason you’re working as much as you are right now is because you believe that you’ll be a better teacher if you do - and if you’re a better teacher, then you’ll be happier, right? Well, what if the opposite is true? What if working less actually makes you a better teacher because it allows you to be happier? 🤯
When I started to give myself the incredible gift of taking at least a full day off work every weekend,it allowed me to enjoy my life outside of school more. Guess what else happened? Monday morning rolled around, and I felt refreshed, happy, and ready to take on the week. I literally felt excited to see my kids because I’d given myself that break.
Fast forward to today, and I still catch myself in the limiting belief that I need to work more, do more, create more, and achieve more. This shift of giving yourself time away from work will make all the difference, but it takes time to get there, and it’s something that you’ll need to practice on-going.
The key is to constantly check in with yourself and pay attention to how you feel. If you’re overcome with exhaustion, it’s time to step away from work. Not only do you need a break, but if you try and do work while you’re feeling this way, it likely won’t be great quality. Instead, give yourself permission to do something that fills you up instead. When you do this, you’ll find that when you’re ready to dive back into work, the inspiration will be there and you’ll even get more done.
Teachers, remember that giving yourself permission to stop when you need to isn't a luxury. It's a requirement to let yourself do more of the things you love, and to not remain quite as confined to the things you feel you should do on your list. You can give it your all when you’re at school. Be fully present for your students, but at the end of the day, go home. Don’t take work with you because it will always be there for you tomorrow.
Most of all, allow yourself to be more patient, loving, and kind towards yourself. Once you can do that, you will become a better teacher. If you need a bit of help boosting your confidence and believing in yourself, grab a copy of my free Confidence Boosters. They are affirmations for new teachers, and will be helpful reminders for you to help you stop putting so much pressure on yourself each day. Click the image below to download those boosters today!
I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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