Your batteries are energized. You have just spent the last part of December and first part of January on a well-deserved vacation from the classroom. But now it's time to finish the 2015-2016 school year stronger then when you started! We have come up with the top 5 tips to start 2016 off right.
1. Get Plenty of Sleep
This has to be at the top of every educator's list for 2016! It is so easy to stay up late and correct papers, catch up on a favorite show, or to snuggle with a loved one, but those of us who are getting less than 7 hours a sleep a night really need to put down the remotes and crawl into bed. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended hours of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours. Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and sluggishness at work. We all know that is a potent combination when working with children.
The most common excuse for educators not to exercise is time. When is there time? What do I need to get rid of? It can't be my favorite TV shows. It can't be the time I spend with my kids at home. And it sure can't take away from the sleep I need, right? Well, we will give you the last one, but the other two excuses are perfect times to incorporate exercise. There are many gyms that now have TVs attached to treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. Heck, you can even have your favorite show on DVR and work out in front of the TV while watching. You don't need a fancy gym membership to run in place, do lunges, sit-ups or push ups. When children come into play, I am sure if you try to keep up with them for just a half an hour a night by playing with them, you are sure to burn some extra calories too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great list of the benefits of exercise that you need to check out!
3. Add Humor
Humor is one of those human emotions that can instantaneously change your mood from sad to glad. Just adding a little bit of humor with your colleagues and even in your classroom can make a big difference on not only how you feel, but on the relationships it can build as well. We found this great website called Humor That Works, and it contains 30 benefits to adding humor in the workplace. We especially like #16!
4. Connect with Students
Coming back from an extended vacation can be difficult for students. Some of the children you teach may not have had the "cookie cutter" Christmas that most had. This means that they may come back a little unsettled and apprehensive because of the other students' sharing of what they did over vacation. Instead of the focus on gifts received, or what they did over vacation, make it a time to have students share what they want to accomplish for the rest of the school year. You could have a mini-celebration of the successes you have had from the first part of the school year and set class goals together for the rest of the school year. But make it a point to connect with all of your students when coming back from break. It will make a positive difference.
5. Leave Problems at School
It is so hard for teachers to disconnect from the issues and problems at school when they come home. But this is essential to long-term survival as a teacher. In order to do this, make sure to send any emails or do any phone calls before you leave for the day. The worst thing to do is to think about the problems all night at home and then having to deal with them the next day. Educators have to have a life outside of school. Your sanity and well-being depend on it!
We would love to hear your tips on starting the new year off right. Please add your comments to the post!