Monday, March 9, 2020

Love Yourself

Every teacher gets run down and discouraged. It doesn’t matter if you are new or experienced or what grade level you teach. This is a normal feeling so don’t worry if it happens to you. The important thing is how you get out of this deep hole you feel you are in.

Teachers are harder on themselves than other people or even their students. Teachers expect themselves to be the best. I think it is in our nature. We expect perfectionism from ourselves more than anyone else. When we fail to live up to our own expectations, we are disappointed. Continued disappointment leads to burn out.

Recently I had a teacher come to me for advice about this. She was feeling upset about how she was teaching and how she felt about teaching. This was becoming a vicious cycle that was only getting worse and she didn’t know how to fight it.

Once I helped her verbalize how she was feeling and possibly why she was feeling that way, I asked her what she would tell a family member who was feeling this way. What would she tell a close friend who shared this with her?

It seems it is easier to give advice to family and friends than it is to ourselves. If we give ourselves the same advice, we feel selfish and self-centered, but we shouldn’t! We should love ourselves as much as we love others.

We deserve to get the same loving advice that we would give to someone else feeling the same way. Teachers have the hardest time with loving ourselves.

We give others the benefit of the doubt. We give others a second and third chance. We forgive others who make mistakes. We overlook simple honest mistakes many times. We teach our students to ask for help when they need it.

But teachers don’t treat themselves in the same way!

We expect ourselves to get it right the first time. We beat ourselves up for every mistake we make. We ask ourselves why we didn’t catch a mistake before it happened. We want to do everything ourselves and are afraid to ask for help because it might make us look stupid or weak.

As long as we keep this negative mindset, there is no way out of that hole. It will get deeper and deeper until it consumes us. This is what causes burn out.

Not only do we need to love ourselves, but we need to encourage other teachers to do the same thing. There is nothing wrong with showing ourselves that we are valuable, and we matter.

How do you help teachers who feel this way? Please share.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

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