4 Practical Teacher Tips to Stay Fresher than Febreze!

As we approach the halfway mark for the school year stress levels start to increase for both teachers and students.  My union president challenged us to take a few days mentally to not think of anything school related over winter break in order to come back fresh for ourselves and our students.  I use the work “challenged” because for most educators it is very difficult to turn off our mind from school, we are plugged into our students needs, curriculum, department meetings, and a thousand other things.  I know when I was still in the classroom last year I took all of these things home with me mentally to try to figure out better ways to tackle challenging issues at school, it is truly a 24/7 type of job.  What are you doing to take care of yourself not only for your own well-being but for the benefit of your family and students as well?


Tips for staying fresh(er) to the end of the school year:  

1) Take care of your body:  There are many benefits to exercise and proper diet including

  • Improved sleep

  • Increased energy level

  • Improved cognitive function

  • Increased weight loss

  • Decrease chance of disease and cancer

  • Relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety

  • Improved mood

Diet Tips:  090707-N-0515W-019

  • Portion Control

  • Avoid processed foods

  • Eat tons of fresh fruits & vegetables

  • Cut back on Sugar, White flour, & high fat food

The cost of inactivity does the opposite of the above list and with only 30% of Americans reporting that they get regular physical exercise most of us could use a little more physical activity.  Experts tell us that 15-20 minutes a day of brisk walking is a good starting place to start to feel the benefits of exercise.  I remember when my mom, a retired teacher, took walks at lunch with other like minded educators.  It helps to have a support group of some kind to help you with whatever physical activity you choose.  If you are looking for something a bit more strenuous I use beachbody workouts like P90X (1, 2, & 3), Insanity (yes it is as crazy as it sounds), and T25.  There are a lot of support groups, coaches, and apps on www.beachbody.com to help as well.  Getting enough sleep is key to refresh your mind and body, allowing you to have enough energy and patience to get through the school day.  The amount of sleep individuals require varies but experts suggest 7-9 hours.

Some teachers that I work with use the High Schools weight room/fitness center before or after school to get a workout in which is a great way to get rid of the stress of the day.  Sign up for Yoga or buy a workout DVD of some type, whatever your exercise favorite is make it a priority, it really is the gift that keeps on giving to not only you but those around you as you have more energy and enthusiasm to give.

Free fitness/diet Apps:


Lose It!

Good Food Near You

Run Keeper

Nike +

Free Sleep Apps:


Sleep Pillow

Sleep Genius

(facts taken from Harvard School of Public Health “The Benefits of Physical Activity” & “How Much Sleep Do You Need” articles)

2) Take care of your mind and respect your time: Finding that perfect work/life balance can be difficult but it is important to have a life outside of school by

  • Spending time with your family

  • Schedule a game night

  • Create a date night

  • Read a great book (my January book is Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess), etc.

  • Don’t take work home, okay sometimes I do but not often!  My first year of teaching I took everything home to grade myself and it about burried me as a teacher.

  • Rethink what and how you are assessing student work, focusing on more frequent short formative types of assessment and using automated grading systems such as Socrative, Edmodo, Google Forms with the Flubaroo script, etc.

  • Take your duty free lunch as short as it is to take a breath and refresh for your next group of students.

  • Avoid negative people and run toward the positive ones!
  • Don’t forget to have some fun!  Laughter really is great medicine 🙂

Leave school at school, as soon as you walk out of your room at the end of the day it is over, leave it there.  Focus your time and energy on your other priorities such as faith, family, and friends.

3) Develop & lean on your Personal Learning Network (PLN):  twitterTwitter is a great place to connect to like minded educators all around the world.  Use this document to find a couple of chats that you can dive into where you can share and learn from others.  When you are feeling a bit rundown and jump into one of your favorite chats it can be a very powerful jumpstart of positive energy, innovative ideas, and a feeling that you are not in this alone in this!  Other places to connect with great educators are Google+ and Edmodo.

4) Change things up:   I knew a teacher who used the overhead projector (remember those?!?) with the roller film attached, he would simply roll the same film over that projector year after year and then rewind it for the next.  Do you keep using the same PowerPoints or lectures year after year?  That is not much different is it.  We can be creatures of habit and change can be challenging for some but it can rejuvenate your teaching career!

  • Move the furniture in your room

  • Perhaps change the grade level or subject you are teaching.

  • Tap into your PLN to find out what other teachers are doing in their classroom and incorporate some of those ideas into yours.

  • Learn a couple of new simple technology tools or apps you can use to increase efficiency and student motivation.

One of the main causes of stress among teachers are the challenges of classroom management.  Many teachers find class management tools like classdojo can help improve student behavior, giving you more time to do what you do best, teach!  I also like Letsgeddit to help you use student feedback for differentiation in your class which can increase engagement and reduce behavior problems.  Check out graphite.org to find apps, websites, and games (organized by grade level, learning standard, and price) that you can use in your classroom to spice things up as well.

So I challenge you to work on some of these things to help you stay fresh and to help keep your students engaged and motivated until the end of the year.  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about other apps, websites, or ideas that help you fight off burnout.  If you would like to know more about any of the apps, links, or ideas that I have talked about feel free to contact me for PD.


2 responses to “4 Practical Teacher Tips to Stay Fresher than Febreze!

  1. Great advice, Ryan! I’m a Beachbody DVD fan myself…although, I don’t look like any of them in the program! Thanks for mentioning Teach Like a PIRATE and I hope you’re enjoying the read.

  2. No doubt! I keep waiting for my “beachbody” to emerge 🙂 I am enjoying TLAP…I keep thinking about which motivation(s) I need to tap into each day!

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