It’s March, and my yard is still covered in snow. The night temperature still dips well into the twenties. Adding insult to injury, daylight saving time came along and turned my morning commute into one cloaked in total darkness, while morphing my first-period students into zombies.
This can be a tough time of year, waiting for shorts weather to arrive while straining to motivate students who are just waiting for spring break. Still, the increased hours of daylight, warmer temps, and budding flowers offer the perfect opportunity to reinvigorate a classroom emerging from winter. If you’re like me and not yet on spring break, here are some self-care teacher tricks to help you make it! Here are some additional inexpensive self-care ideas.
Open up the shades.
If your classroom is like mine, it has big industrial shades that block out the world. These are very helpful when you want a clear image from the projector, but at this time of year, light is gold. Pull those shades up and flood your students with light and maybe a little dose of vitamin D. If the temperature creeps back up to civilized levels, open the window a crack while you are at it and let in a little fresh air.
Bring some flowers into your classroom.
According to an article in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, cognitive performance is better in offices and classrooms where plants are present than in those where they are not. On top of that, caring for a plant can be the perfect project for a student who may seem detached or disaffected. Even though gardening season is around the corner, it might help students look forward to coming to school again.
Do a little spring cleaning.
Other than the most fastidious among us, we all have acquired piles of stuff around our classrooms: student projects, extra copies of handouts, random textbooks, a smattering of student sweatshirts and lunch boxes. It might not seem like a self-care item, but taking a morning to clear out things you no longer need can be refreshing. So clean out that center drawer of your teacher desk, follow through on the threat to throw out the projects kids have not taken home, and bask in the calming power of a clean and organized classroom.
Drive home with your windows down.
Early spring sometimes requires doing this with the heat on high to compensate for the bracing spring air, but it is worth it. After a day of trying to inspire your students to engage in their studies against the pull of Snapchat and dreams of spring break, teachers can feel a little spent. Drop the windows, pump some tunes, and sing out against the wind. This will be extra fun if you have a sunroof.
Change what you eat.
Faculty rooms can be a swirling vortex of unhealthiness when it comes to nutrition—donut holes, cookies, leftover Valentine’s Day candy. Those can be really comforting during the dark and cold days of winter. Now that spring is in the air, those foods can just make us suffer from a sugar crash and dread bathing suit season. So grab a bag of apples, a few bananas, and some tangerines and put them in a bowl. Go ahead. Brighten up your faculty room a bit.
Spring is coming, even if it feels like winter just won’t let go. Tap into the season of rebirth and give your classroom, faculty room, and self a little boost. Bask in the light. Breathe deeply. Allow Mother Nature to help you as you push to inspire your students all the way through June.
What are your self-care teacher tricks? Share your tips in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.