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Teacher Self-Care

The October Slump: Create the Good

News / October 27, 2021

The October Slump is Here

It’s still happening… This month is still here. It’s October. Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, we have this long stretch of 5 day weeks, with no break on the horizon. Teachers have a lot on their plate: Grading, Parent Teacher Conferences, quarterly testing, plus it’s cold season, the pandemic is still in play, and we have no huge public holidays for weeks.

In the first October Slump blog post, I shared about Phase 1 of the October Slump: Getting out of the slump. I shared my own self-talk around remembering and caring for my basic human needs. While we hear it all the time, are we really ensuring I am eating well, sleeping enough, hydrating sufficiently, and noticing the good. In other words, are we taking care of ourselves and practicing gratitude? Now we are moving towards Phase 2 of the October Slump – Creating Good in your classroom. This is where can you intentionally create your “magic” or positive interactions in your classroom.

 

Creating Good Moments in October

  1. –> Make positive phone calls. When was the last time you called to brag on a kid? When was the last time you did that with the child standing right next to you? Make a goal of calling at least 2 parents ‘live’ in the moment throughout your day. Better yet, call the kiddo who has a little win and may struggle often.
  2. –> Keep a public list of gratitudes. I know, I know. It’s October, not November, but this season makes gratitude even more important. During a morning meeting, homeroom, or a Do Now, make a short-term practice to add a sentence for a specific thing you’re grateful for. Add some parameters: It must be new each day, it must be very specific, and it must be from that day. For students, this might be a quick turn and talk daily or a quick jot on their academic Bell Ringer. For you, record them on chart paper and share them aloud. Try to keep them focused on your students. For example: Today, I got to watch a student light up when they shared their story. 
  3. –> Find a place to process, not vent. Venting is sharing a problem and centering the entire conversation around how bad or annoying it is. On the other hand, processing is working through problems, concerns, or emotional reactions with a solution, action, or resolve. Do you have a mentor who helps you process? A wise teacher friend who will push you into action? A building leader who can empower you in a solution? A therapist who can support resolve? Reach out to them!
  4. –> Study October Holidays with a project based unit.  How could you expand your students’ understanding of others through celebrating different October holidays? You could ou have a Culture Day, celebrating and experiencing how different students celebrate October holidays (Halloween, Milad un Nabi (Oct. 19), Oktoberfest, Dia de Los Muertos (11/1), Diwali). Or you could do a project based unit on this. Have a set curriculum? You could incorporate these holidays into your regular curriculum lesson plans in Do Nows with a treat or a video. 

 

Whether you use one of these ideas to intentionally bring joy to your room or something else, October needs some extra action towards positivity.  What other ideas for “creating the good’ do you have for October? Comment below and tell us!