The holidays are nearly here and odds are teachers are really ready for a break! Months of being “on”—giving your very best to every art class and every student every day—may have taken a toll on your attitude and maybe even your self-esteem. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, undervalued, or just plain worn out heading into the holidays, try our attitude-adjusting do’s and don’ts, designed to put the pep back in your step by New Year’s!
1. Do TAKE Your Break. It’s supposed to be a break. So take it! Don’t spend your time creating lesson plans, cleaning your art room, inventorying supplies, or otherwise getting ahead. Make it a real break by focusing on YOU. Do whatever it is that relaxes you—spend time with friends, read a book, take a daily walk. Your psyche will thank you.
2. Don’t Wallow! We know it’s hard to let the negative go, but focusing on the positive is far more productive. Instead of spending time thinking about everything that’s wrong, make a list of what’s working well in your art room and the (many, many) things you’re doing right.
3. Do Keep Your Concerns to Yourself. It’s human nature to reflect and analyze, but try to keep the complaints to a minimum. Talking things through with a close friend or your spouse is one thing—constantly airing your grievances to your fellow teachers is another. And spending your time complaining technically qualifies as wallowing. See #2.
4. Do Hang With the Positive Crowd. Crushing complaints is easier when you’re spending time with a constructive crew. Surround yourself with your “glass is half full” friends this break and follow their lead.
5. Don’t Ignore Your Talent! Spending some time in the art studio and getting back in touch with your talent will remind you of the gift you have to share with your students and why you got into teaching in the first place!
6. Do Acknowledge All of Your Gifts. Aside from being an amazing artist, we’re sure you have lots of other special gifts that you share with your students on a daily basis. Are you relaxed and fun? Incredibly patient? Especially nurturing? Is your art room a showpiece unto itself? Don’t take these gifts for granted! These special qualities are what make you an unforgettable teacher. Take a moment to acknowledge them.
7. Don’t Forget Your Own Art Teachers. Think about all of the teachers you’ve had and all of the teachers you know. Is there one that stands out as the gold standard? Someone you’d like to emulate? Talk to them! Ask them what they do to stay fresh, focused, positive, and productive.
8. Do Revisit Your Students’ Art. Reviewing your students’ work is an easy way to refocus your energy on the big picture—the kids and their amazing creativity. Take a peek at your students’ latest projects and remind yourself of the incredible difference you’re making in their lives. Then let the rest go.
9. Do Start a New Hobby. Have you always wanted to try ceramics? Or take a yoga class? Now’s the time to start! Making a commitment to something new will give you something to look forward to when things are tough at work.
10. Don’t Forget to Smile! Smiling is scientifically proven to increase one’s feelings of joy. Plus, it’s the holidays and we’re betting you’ve got tons to smile about. So go ahead and flash those pearly whites.
Do you feel beaten down by the first half of the school year? How will you refresh and recover this holiday break? Let us know in the comments below.