While school years can be stressful even at the best of times, COVID-19 has served up more challenges than anyone could’ve predicted.
For teachers, it has been a time of serious uncertainty, requiring quick thinking and perseverance, particularly when the entire student body shifted to online learning. And while heading back to campus has come as a welcome relief to many, it’s still normal to feel a little unsettled.
Not all heroes wear capes
The pandemic has highlighted that our teachers deserve a serious pat on the back. So, take a moment to acknowledge your victories during these trying times.
Own the appreciation: Celebrate what you and your peers achieved when dealing with an unprecedented situation. If parents express their gratitude to you, accept their thanks graciously, and remind yourself (and your colleagues) of what a world-class effort you all put in.
Self-care: If the virus has taught us anything, it’s that taking care of ourselves is essential. Put aside five minutes at the start of each day to check-in with yourself, whether it’s chilling out with a pre-class coffee or taking a few deep breaths before the bell goes.
Same same, but different
While being back to school will feel familiar, students and teachers have had to adjust to a new environment. It's taken time for everyone to come to grips with learning and living with COVID, but as we've discovered, there are ways to ensure the experience is as smooth as possible.
Maintain your routines: Routines increase feelings of safety and security, which is something we’re all craving after so much destabilisation. Maintaining your routines – whether it’s daily exercise or listening to a podcast before work – will help you to regain a sense of control.
Discuss changes openly: There has been many changes to parts of the school experience since returning. Socially distanced classrooms, changes to playground rules, an increased focus on hygiene, and staggered break times have all had an impact.
If COVID-19 affects your school again in a big way, help students to embrace these changes by discussing what to expect, rather than simply telling them how things will change. Having open and honest conversations with students will provide a degree of predictability and transparency.
Live and learn: What comes next?
You might be really looking forward to the school holidays, and there has never been a better (or more deserved) time to reset and look to the future. There are plenty of ways to make the most of your break.
Road trip: With travel back on the cards, why not pack up the car for a road trip with friends and family? Even if it’s just a wintery weekend away, changing your environment will leave you feeling recharged.
School switch-off: Teachers tend to socialise together – great minds think alike! – but make it your mission to catch up with friends outside of your school social circle. By focusing on people and conversations not connected to your work, you’ll truly be able to switch off from the job.
Spend time on a hobby: Honing in on a hobby during your school holidays is a smart way to face the COVID-19 era and start something new. Perfect your downward dog, learn a language, or try something for the first time.