The 2020-21 school year promises to be extra challenging, which means we need boundaries & routines more than ever.
Join us to discover key routines and boundaries that will help you & your students not just survive but perhaps even thrive in this crazy year.
Why boundaries and routines are necessary
Even with the unknown possibilities present for next school year, now is a great time to think about healthy boundaries and routines you want to have in place at both home and at school. Boundaries and routines help to prevent teacher burnout. Teachers often start the school year with a lot of energy, but don’t work at a sustainable pace to keep that energy all school year long. The 2020-2021 school year will be a very unique one and it’s important to create boundaries and routines that will help keep us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.
We spoke with Tyler Harms, a teacher and the author of the book Teaching for God's Glory: Daily Wisdom and Inspiration for New Teachers about boundaries and routines. This is a summary of our conversation.
healthy Boundaries to prevent burnout
1. Set Designated Hours
When teachers are working, particularly from home, it can be hard to stop working, even when you should. There’s always another email to answer or another parent to contact. Setting up specific office hours for yourself when students, parents, and colleagues can reach you helps you stick to a healthy work schedule and ensure you’re spending time with your family. Don’t be afraid to say, “After 5 PM is family time for me.”
2. The 24 Hour Rule
Give yourself 24 hours to respond to requests/emails. Otherwise, you can find yourself answering parent’s emails from home at 10 PM. This also gives you time to consider the request and not respond impulsively. You can contemplate and form a better reply. This policy can be something you just keep in mind for yourself, or you can directly communicate it to your students and their parents- “I respond within one business day.”
3. Consider Your Commitments
Teachers are often asked to take on a lot of extra duties. It can be difficult to say “no,” especially if you’re a new teacher. It’s easy to overcommit, which can lead to doing a lot of things in a “good enough” way. Instead, take on only the responsibilities you are passionate about and give everything you can to those tasks. It’s less likely to feel like an extra job if it’s something you care about. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your administrators that you’re unable to take on this role at this time due to family commitments. Every time you say, “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else.
4. Give Grace
This is a challenging time for everyone. Give your students and their parents grace whenever possible, when it will not violate your healthy boundaries. It's also especially important to give yourself grace during this time, particularly the first few weeks of school with the many new procedures and guidelines that are likely to be in place.
routines to start with success
5. Begin Your Morning with God
You can get up before everyone else in your home and form a quick 15 minute routine, broken into 3 parts. Spend the first 5 minutes practicing gratitude. Then, 5 (or more!) minutes of Bible reading to help focus your day. Finally, you can spend the last 5 minutes praying for your family, school, and students by name.
6. Greet Your Students at the Door
Greeting your students at the door gives you a great sense of how they are doing before they even walk into the room. It’s a quick time to check in and allow them to unload if needed so they are more mentally and emotionally prepared to learn.
7. Check In with Your Students' Families
In the beginning of the school year, pick one student each day to call home about and share something positive about them. That first month is a great time to make a positive connection with your students’ families. As we emerge from this time of isolation and social distancing, building relationships is more important than ever before.
Which of these boundaries and routines sound like they might work for you? How will you tweak them to fit your situation? Let us know in the comments!
And for more ideas on preventing teacher burnout, check out the article The Bible Answer to Avoid Teacher Burnout: How to Teach with Energy & Passion All Year Long.
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