As most schools in the country remain closed during the pandemic, the education system is continuing to struggle with alternative learning routes. Students have taken the most impact as they try to learn effectively in a not-so-effective virtual setup, which also often leads to mental health problems on top of general stress surrounding the pandemic. But teachers are also having a hard time with this virtual learning route, even after a year into this kind of set-up.
That said, supporting teachers in this extremely challenging time is now more important than ever. If you are a teacher, here are several ways you can offer yourself support:
Take regular breaks
Even before the pandemic, you may be used to taking breaks in the classroom and working while you eat your lunch. And now that you’re working from home, you may still have this unhealthy habit with you. Well, now is the best time to get rid of this habit once and for all and start taking breaks properly, away from your desk, with a proper meal, and your mind away from work.
Doing this may be challenging at first since there is always so much to do when you’re a teacher, but it’s vital for both your mental and physical health. Set an alarm for your breaks if you have to, and be sure that you actually step away from your work area to eat, rest, or simply do something else unrelated to work.
Working from home may allow you to continue working despite being sick or burnt out, but it’s important that you treat your health as a priority even if you can go in front of your computer to teach a class. You perform at your best when you’re healthy, and your students deserve a teacher that performs at their best–so, don’t feel guilty about missing a day or two when you need to.
On occasions that you have to miss work, look for someone that can substitute for you. Give them emergency sub plans when necessary, and as much as possible, go over a quick briefing before they teach your class (unless you absolutely cannot get out of bed).
Disconnect from work
As a teacher, you may find it difficult to disconnect from work even after you leave the school. And when you’re working from home, it can even be more difficult to do so when everything you need to do work is just right there.
However, keep in mind that disconnecting from work is necessary for a positive work-life balance which, in turn, is vital for your physical, mental, and emotional health. That said, make an active effort to disconnect after work hours are over, and leave your work area on the dot.
Here are several strategies that can help you effectively disconnect:
- Set an alarm to remind you to leave work, especially if you have a tendency to work beyond regular school hours
- Keep your work area separate from your main living space. This way, you don’t associate work with rest, and vice versa.
- Refrain from checking your work emails outside of work hours.
- Advice students, parents, and co-workers that you will not be answering messages outside of work hours unless it is an emergency.
- Turn off notifications if you have to.
- When you are tempted to go overtime, always remember that there is always more time tomorrow to get things done
- Work efficiently so that you don’t have to work beyond school hours in the first place; eliminate distractions, leverage tools, and remove unnecessary tasks from your to-do list
- Refrain from working on weekends unless you absolutely have to
How to support a teacher
If you want to support a loved one that is a teacher, here are some things that can help:
Offer to help with tasks. Grading papers, entering grades, and formatting presentations can be time-consuming. Offer to help them with these tedious tasks so that they can focus on more important ones or simply get more rest.
Remind them of their good work. Teachers could use positive affirmations now more than ever, especially because most of them feel that they are not doing enough for their students during this difficult time.
Keep in touch. Sometimes, the best way to show your support is by simply asking them how they are and talking about mundane things to get their mind off work.
Support yourself, a fellow teacher, or a loved one today with these helpful strategies. Teachers are working harder now more than ever to deliver quality education to their students, and it’s important to show them love and support as well.