No matter where you find yourself, you probably know that completing a race is hard. It takes preparation, perseverance, and the willingness to press forward even when you feel like you can't anymore. For all the teachers out there, you likely feel this before every fall, spring, and winter break…but more than ever right before the summer break. And perhaps even more so this year, as you have continued to navigate the challenges that COVID-19 has brought with it. However, as you get closer and closer to the end, remember this: Finish well. Here's how to do just that.
1. Accept That It Will Be Hard
Being a teacher on a normal day is no joke…being a teacher as the end of the year approaches is a different deal entirely. Sometimes it can be easy to attempt to mask your anxieties by pushing through without thinking about it. Instead, try to take some time to accept that what you're doing is hard. Acknowledging it can help you mentally prepare for the challenges ahead and be more prepared for the emotions that may come with them. Let this acceptance encourage you to make the most of the next few weeks – whatever they may hold.
2. Write Out All of Your To-Dos
Your brain is a powerful organ, but it certainly has its limits! During high-pressure circumstances, it's easy to spend time mulling over your list of to-dos. The problem is that the list is taking up so much real estate in your brain that you may not be able to complete other tasks as successfully. So, what do you do? Brain dump all of your to-dos on a piece of paper or your phone. This can help you empty your brain a little bit so you can focus on what matters most. Pro-tip: Make the list in a notebook and keep that notebook with you at all times if possible. If a task pops into your head, write it down immediately. Now you don't have to remember to write it down later and you can continue with the task at hand.
3. Prioritize Your To-Dos
Once you have your to-do list completed, take a look and consider what should be prioritized. Setting the expectation that you will be able to finish everything on the list may leave you feeling unsuccessful, diminishing the weight of your other successes. Instead, decide what is really important and set those as your priorities for the day, week, or month. This can often help you feel more accomplished since you haven't created impossible expectations for yourself. Be kind to yourself and do the next thing!
4. Nurture Relationships with Your Students
Even in the midst of the challenges that come with the last stretch of the school year, it's important to remember to nurture the relationships you've built with your students while you can. Some students aren't so excited about summer break, and others may be experiencing burnout just like you may be feeling. Show grace, choose your battles, and be there for them the best way you know how.
5. Reward Yourself
As you get closer and closer to the end of the year, start planning how you're going to treat yourself. Whether it be a sweet treat, an evening with friends, a trip, or just something that makes you happy – have something in place that you can look forward to. You have worked hard, and you deserve to reward yourself for it!
Teachers, we are so thankful for the way you've led the students of the Cherokee County School District and we hope this helps you as you're pushing towards the finish line. Our #CCSDFam is the best!