Dear Lesson Plan Toolbox,
Fourth of July has come and gone and now I feel like I have to get back on the teacher wagon. I feel depressed knowing that summer is starting to come to an end and we will once again be dealing with school in a pandemic. There have even been days where I think that I don’t want to teach anymore. Is that bad?
See, I have been in education for nine years now as a third grade teacher. I feel like I work ALL THE TIME! Even as I’m trying to enjoy summer break, I find myself looking up standards, spending HOURS on Instagram searching for lessons, and just trying to get ahead. In years past I’ve never really thought about school until August, but now I feel like I can’t get away from it. Does this mean I’ve been teaching too long?
How do teachers cope with knowing that this job is NEVER done? There is always something to organize, an article to read, or a class to take. My brain starts moving in one direction and then all of a sudden three more thoughts on another topic pop in my head so nothing gets completely finished. Is this normal?
I look at some of these teachers that are working on projects or buying supplies already, and I feel like I’m behind the eight ball. I’ve never felt these feelings before, so I’m not sure where they’re coming from. If you could offer any suggestions with how I should be allocating my time this summer I would greatly appreciate it.
Dear Summer Denial,
Let’s just start with this: You are doing exactly what you’ve been called to do! You are an amazing teacher who is in a bit of a funk right now, but we’re going to help snap you out of it! Get ready because here we go…
Once you close up your classroom and pull out of that parking lot on the last day, you are on vacation! Turn your email notification off and watch all the Tiktoks you want. This is your time! We’ll say that again in case you didn’t hear it: THIS IS YOUR TIME!
Do what you love and love what you do. Now, does that mean you shouldn’t take a professional development class? No, at all! That means, you do what makes you happy. You make so many sacrifices with your time during the school year, so now is the time to focus on you. This is a MUST DO.
Take A Teachergram Break
It sounds like you might be doing a lot of comparing yourself to other teachers. This is so easy to do in the world we live in, but it’s so dangerous! You are you. You will serve your students to the best of your ability and they will thrive. You were made to teach and there’s not another teacher out there like you.
Honestly, spending hours on Instagram searching for the latest trends is not going to make you a better teacher. Coming in refreshed and ready to go is what you will need each and every day. Not only that, but think of how much time you’ll save not scrolling through IG Stories. In fact, you might even consider creating a personal account and a separate teachergram account.
Find Quiet Time Every Day
This is a BIG one. Whether you have to wake up early in the morning or head to bed a bit early, you need to find time to just be. Let your mind empty its thoughts no matter how many are in there, take some deep breaths, and just breathe. This doesn’t have to be for very long (5-10 minutes), but it is so powerful.
Your body and mind are both energies that you need to allow to just be. You’ll be amazed at how many questions get answered and problems solved just by letting yourself be present. Try building this into your day, three times a week and see if you notice a difference.
Prepping For Next Year
Being that you’ve been teaching for 9 years, this suggestion may sound harsh so brace yourself. Figure out what works for you. The truth is, and you already know this, it will all get done. Whether you start prepping now or wait until August, it will all get done.
We live in a world where it is hard to escape our jobs no matter how hard we try. If you’re anything like most teachers, then regardless of whether you start prepping now or in August you will continue to think of new tasks to complete. So why not enjoy summer and let the work take care of itself come August.
What Makes You Happy?
The bottom line with all of your questions and thoughts is that you have to choose what makes you happy. If you find that there are years that feel like they are dragging, then try to incorporate a new strategy or technique to spice things up. If that doesn’t work, then you might need to seriously reflect on what you do want to do in your career.
Our students know when we are sincere and truly want what is best for them, so don’t try to fake it until you make it. Be honest with yourself. There are different paths within education that might make you happier than being a home room teacher or there might be something outside of education that intrigues you. The sky's the limit. You just have to know what you want, go after it, and let go of the rest.
We hope this helps to answer your questions. Really focus on you, being you, and knowing what makes you happy. If you do this, then you’ll more than likely find a ripple effect in all areas of your life.
Know that you can always reach out to us on Instagram ( or email ([email protected]). Our mission is to make the lives of primary teachers as easy and stress free as possible. Enjoy your time this summer!
Be sure to grab you 7 Habits To Prevent Teacher Stress FREEBIE.
Lesson Plan Toolbox