Right before the holiday break and just after listening to this NPR series on teacher burnout, I got the chance to catch up with Roxanna Elden, author of the hilarious and honest See Me After Class. After talking all things teaching, kids, travel, and home, Roxanna was kind enough to share some thoughts on self-care in the New Year.
Roxanna’s book really resonated with me, especially as I recalled secretly fantasizing as a first-year teacher about having a minor car accident so I could get a few days off. Roxanna had some better advice on how to get 2016 off to a great start. Best of all, I have two copies of her book to give away to some lucky readers!
Q: Your tone of honesty coupled with hopefulness is so wonderful. How can teachers create a climate like this with their colleagues?
A: You don’t just need one mentor; you need a board of advisors. Here’s who to consider:
- One person whose teaching you really, really admire. You may not confide in that person, but you can observe and ask questions.
- Someone you consider a good teacher, who teaches the same age and demographic of kids that you do.
- Someone who teaches your subject. This could be someone who works at your school or not, or a combo of folks with whom to get nitty-gritty about content.
- Lastly, someone you can confide in. Be careful if he or she works at your school. It helps if this person is someone who knew you really well before you were a teacher and can remind of you of the characteristics that make you great.
Q: In my interviews with teachers, it seems things get a bit easier at the five-year mark – especially if they stay in the same school, content area, or grade level. What tips do you have to make things easier along the way?
A: After five years, you have your first day totally down. You are not learning your job on the first day. When I started teaching, I hadn’t hung around a 9-year-old since I was one myself! I had no idea what they acted like. Now, I know exactly what a 9-year-old acts like, how long a bathroom break should take, and so on. You kind of have your moves down, so you can do things like create a new plan for a book you have read five times or incorporate new ideas about reading strategies.
Thanks, Roxanna! If you like what you hear from Roxanna, you can also sign up for her awesome (and free!) Disillusionment Power Pack, with inspirational and practical emails delivered straight to your inbox!
To Enter: In the comments section below, please share one thing you are doing to get 2016 off to a great start. When you comment, please be sure to include your first name & last initial, and the email address where we can reach you if you win using our random number generator.
Contest fine print:
- Entries must be received by Friday, January 8th, at midnight EST to be considered.
- If a winner does not respond within 48 hours of receipt of a notification, a new winner will be chosen.
The contest has ended. Thanks to everyone for sharing!