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World Teachers' Day: Reminding Teachers that Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

On October 5th we celebrate World Teachers Day. A day recognized since 1994 to commemorate teachers and teacher organizations to ensure the needs of future generations will be met by teachers. Everything that happens to a child at home and in the classroom or playground is shared with a teacher. They educate, but they also parent, grandparent and help fix boo-boos as well as broken hearts. They deal with your child’s study habits, personality temperaments, academic pressure and upset parents who are frustrated and disappointed with classroom policies. Teachers work during the day and at night for parents who work during the day but worry at night.

As society changes and becomes more complicated and stressful for families it becomes more demanding for educators. Safety drills have expanded to terrorist drills and social media has blurred the boundaries of when teachers leave work and when they are no longer responsible for the children they teach. As parents complain that their children are getting more and more homework, they forget that teachers are responsible for excessive paperwork, evening meetings and weekend school activities. Talking to parents about why their child needs free time is much easier for teachers than taking free time to care for themselves. Self-care is not selfish, it’s a necessity to prevent burn-out and enhance compassion.

Self-care is taking the time to do the things that help restore your passion and life-work balance.

  • Start a gratitude journal by writing down three things you’re grateful for at the end of each day. This relieves anxiety and minimizes depression.

  • Make a playlist of great upbeat, positive music that motivates you.

  • Save and post positive quotes and keep them in your care bag, computer satchel, purse, or briefcase. Read them every day until they’re memorized.

  • Tell one person in your work environment at least once a week what you appreciate most about them.

  • Do one random act of kindness no matter how small once a day.

  • Organize your week before it begins and make plans with someone who is a good friend and listener.

  • Have at least one activity or exercise class you can attend that leaves you feeling refreshed.

  • Take time to disconnect from work during dinner. Time in the evening for yourself is a must in balancing work and life.

  • Actively practicing your faith restores forgiveness and promotes healthy well-being.

No one person can take away the hurts and struggles of every child. Teachers are helpers who are often the first to see a particular reason for why a child is struggling, but teachers need time for themselves too. When parents work with teachers rather than against them, children excel and everyone’s well-being is enhanced.

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