Teaching is hard. Our days are a whirlwind of explanations, reminders, meetings, to-do lists, and the solving of a thousand and one problems that deviate between the tragic and the absurd. It can be a lot. Like, A LOT a lot. If you tell me you've never felt overwhelmed, you're lying. It comes with the turf, we've learned to accept that constant need to DO, or FIX, or HELP. It's the mentality that got us here in the first place- the drive to make things better. We knew it'd be an uphill battle- but turns out it's a really really steep and muddy hill, with snakes, and someone shooting flaming arrows at you from the top. We've all heard the statistics on teacher burn-out. We've all had those days. You know, the one's where you catch a glimpse of the parking lot from your classroom window and think, "What if I just walk out there, get in the car , drive away and never look back...." But the moment passes and we stay. We stay because teaching is in our souls. We stay because we are masters of our craft, we stay because if we don't, who will?
So how do we do it? How do we keep ourselves from going Thelma and Louise every time things start to be too much? Well, by learning to be selfish. Yes, you read that correctly. By allowing ourselves to come first. By taking a small part of each day, or a couple hours a week, to give yourself and your needs the attention you deserve. Yes, it's allowed!
For me, it's going to hear Devil in a Woodpile, my longtime favorite local band- play their weekly Thursday set at The Hideout. I sit there, with an adult beverage in hand and watch as the guitarists' fingers pick away at his steel guitar, the soothing lull of the lead singer's voice envelopes me, and within moments I'm transported to world without emails, dojo points, 9 grade levels of lessons to plan, and thousands of pencils to sharapen- and I just am. For a couple hours a week, I'm not Ms. Hansen, I'm just me. I reset, I re-vive, I recover, and I'm ready to take on what's next.
For Fuentes First grade teacher Janessa Dohse, sanity is preserved by participating in group fitness classes through Chicago's Class Pass , a program that allows members to take unlimited group fitness classes for a monthly fee. Janessa, and several other Fuentes teachers have been using Class Pass for a few months, "Workout time is my time for myself." Janessa says, " In a class with an instructor, you are working with others, the music is fun--it's just me time." Sounds great.
So- now it's your turn. Take that much needed "me time", go to the movies, hit the gym, fly a kite, take a nap, and then share with the rest of us how you manage to #staysane.
Share your favorite "me time" rituals with our members by emailing them to email@example.com subject "Staying Sane"
Art Teacher, UNO Carlos Fuentes