Do you ever get the educator blues? It can be difficult sometimes to handle all of the day-to-day responsibilities that comes with a role of service to children and parents. The pay isn’t always rewarding; sometimes you’re blamed for things that you have no control over; and you often find yourself taking care of everyone in your class and school besides yourself. So, what is the remedy? Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter answer to that question. And just like the plans that you create for your children, they have to be individualized. It is definitely something to take time out to think about.
One thought is to make a list of things that make you smile in the work place. In fact, you should think about the things that you believe would make you most successful in your current role. List what will help you advance or what you could do to enhance your skills as an educator. Once you have your list, figure out what you can control. For example, could you take classes that could help enhance your skills? Could you volunteer and offer your skills to assist another teacher or staff member? Think about your school and if there are issues that affect you, figure out what you can do to help solve them. Complaining doesn’t help, but strategizing and planning could create possibilities and hope for a happy work environment.
It’s amazing how I talk to teachers on a regular basis that complain about their school, their administrators, but haven’t taken time to do things such as, journal possible solutions, ask questions, make phone calls, call meetings, network with other educators, or even vote in local elections to help make changes that they want to see. My point is, before you complain – think about the steps you’ve taken to fix a challenging situation. What have you done that would make you say, “Well this is what I tried to do…”
How is your health? Mentally and physically? It is important to always maintain or work towards being at your optimal best each day with the children, parents, co-workers and administrators. That can be hard if you’re not happy. And again, this is individualized instruction to think about. I talked to a teacher who said that she made an effort to drink as much water as she could daily but stopped because of her ongoing schedule in the classroom. We all know, as a teacher, it’s hard to break away to go to the restroom throughout the day. But she was determined to take care of herself, so she told her principal that drinking more water was a personal goal and also discussed the challenges so that she was aware of her issue. After she put her request to be relieved for multiple restroom breaks in writing, the principal made it a point to gather a group of teachers and brainstorm ways to create more break times throughout the day. She decided to set up a restroom buddy system for the teachers. Her principal appointed a “floater” to check in with teachers to make sure that their classroom was covered for 5-minute restroom breaks, several times each day. This worked for their school schedule. But the main point is that she talked to her principal and made a contribution towards finding a solution instead of contributing to negative talk with co-workers about how they could never participate in a challenge to drink more water daily.
It can be helpful to try to have a conversation with people in your school that can influence change. Initiating change could help you with personal goals (ex. drinking more water; walking during break times; having a quiet area to read and reflect; providing work periods so that work doesn’t leave the school; etc.). And if a simple conversation doesn’t work… document that you tried. Then you can’t say you didn’t.
One thing that really helped me as an educator was to post quotes around my classroom to remind me why I chose this profession – or why I chose to stay in a particular workplace – or help me strive towards being my best self, regardless of any drama or obstacles I faced each day. Because of my chosen faith, sometimes they were scriptures or uplifting texts from books or articles, and then other times they were sayings from philosophers or famous celebrities. I would change them out frequently throughout the month, and other teachers were invited to read or share quotes that they chose. I made it a point to not offend anyone around me, so they were appropriate for the work place. And I found out that many times my positive postings would ward off negativity that sometimes traveled throughout the hallways.
There are tons of inspirational quotes online and it’s important to look to inspiration each day – even if your work setting is picture-perfect. In this blog post, I’ve listed some of my favorite quotes. Hopefully they will inspire you find quotes that fit your individualized, educational needs. We’re all human and there will always be obstacles to overcome in life. So, remember the goal is to keep your head up, stay humble, advance your skills and knowledge in education and take care of yourself so that your children will benefit.
“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” ~Tony Robbins
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ~Albert Einstein
“Listen. Acknowledge. Solve. Thank.” ~ New York City cafe sign
“There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.” ~Unknown
“On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that’s pretty good.” ~Unknown
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~William Arthur Ward
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
“Be fearless in trying new things, whether they are physical, mental or emotional. Being afraid can challenge you to go to the next level.” ~Rita Wilson
“Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t.” ~Angela Duckworth
“What I do today is very important because I’m exchanging a day of my life for it.” ~Lynn Ramthun
Gratitude helps us to see what is there instead of what isn’t. ~Madison Avenue Baptist Church sign
“The only people who you should get even with are those who have helped you.” ~Buz Moxon
“Worry is a misuse of imagination.” ~Dan Zadra
“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” ~John Wooden
“Don’t count the days; make the days count.” ~Muhammad Ali
“He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.” ~Sunshine Magazine
An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming. ~Tecla Barber
“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.” ~Sydney Smith
“Wherever you are, be all there.” ~Jim Elliot
“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” ~Unknown