Those of you that follow my blogs or my Twitter will know how much I adore teaching, and how I like to look on the bright side. You’ll probably also have noticed that I have been quieter lately – both with the blog writing side of things and with my little Edu-Twitter hiatus over the Christmas break. Those two sentences seem contradictory… because they are.
I love teaching and the Edu-Twitter community so much that I got a little lost in it. I forgot who I was outside of teaching, and I forgot to pay attention to the things in my life that weren’t school-related. That included both my physical and mental wellbeing (all while being a part of a teacher wellbeing steering group – irony!).
I saw a few posts about a technology ‘detox’ over Christmas, and I thought I’d do it too. Actually, I basically went on a ‘teaching detox’ this Christmas – no teacher twitter, no peeking into my PGCE group on facebook, no educational books or podcasts, no planning or prepping until I really needed to. I actually got SO into being ‘Not-Teacher Kathryn’ that I got a bit ratty with my mum when she started asking me about it on Boxing Day!
Since starting my PGCE I have struggled to let my hair down and really relax. I’ve gotten better at it since the summer as I started to realise that if I didn’t just stop and enjoy myself outside of teaching, then I wouldn’t be enjoying teaching either. With a history of anxiety and depression, I never want to make the thing that saved me from feeling that way be the reason I feel like it again. If I didn’t stop and change, I knew they would. So I took a big break, and I feel much more prepared for 2018 and all the challenges and excitement it holds for me as a result.
Back in September I talked about how lucky we are as teachers to get 2 New Years – one in September and the one everyone else gets. We get to ‘resolve’ things twice over. So in January 2018 I have made one resolution/promise to myself:
This is your year – do everything you can to make it great.
I am starting with self care. I have given a lot of myself up to teaching the past few years but I am starting to get to a point where it is almost second nature, and I need to make the most of that by looking after myself better. This is going to mean (to name only a few…):
- Leaving school earlier when I can, without the guilt!
- Keep reflecting on good things in my day using Twitter and #loveteaching
- Re-joining Slimming World as motivation to rid myself of the PGCE/NQT weight gain AND get back into cooking
- Reading more – for pleasure, not just teaching stuff
- Walking the dog more – he calms me down and makes me smile
- Eating at the dinner table and discussing our days so I spend quality time with J
- Booking little get-aways in half terms and switching off Edu-Twitter when I go
- Looking forward to the first Summer Holiday we have booked in 2 years!
There is no doubt that teaching is a hard and exhausting job, and it is worth all of that… but I can’t be a good teacher without looking after myself first. I need to remember that.
Will you join me in looking after number one in 2018?