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Easy Self Care Tips for Teachers

Let’s level here: October was difficult for me. I am not entirely sure what it was, but it just felt like a struggle every. Single. Day. That doesn’t mean that every day was bad, but it means I had to be super intentional about getting things done and having the right mindset. I had to be really intentional about my self care. And there were still some day where it just wasn’t happening.

Yup, Becca, who always advocates that morning routine slept in multiple times in October.

But you know what? I have faith that November will be better. Not just because we have Thanksgiving break soon, but because I learned a lot about my self care needs while going through the ridiculousness of October.

Side note, did anyone else think that it dragged on forever?

Here are some super simple ideas for self care that you can implement immediately. I’m not suggesting anything crazy. Seriously, super simple. Try them. Then let us know in the comments if they were helpful for you!

Also, if you are interested in getting access to exclusive free resources, sign up for my resource library! I send out two email a month– usually talking about some of the free resources available. Once you get access, you can download as many things as you– and more resources are added every few weeks. Sign up here!

Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



Leave School at School

First thing is first—leave school at school. Now, I’m not saying you have to leave as soon as the bell rings. I’m saying, don’t bring home a ton of work.

What that says is: you will never escape the work.

And what happens 90% of the time? You bring it home with the intention to work on grading papers while you watch TV. But then you realize at home you have 50 other things to do, so that doesn’t happen. You take the papers back to school tomorrow feeling guilty and ashamed.

A better alternative? Stay a few minutes extra and then leave it at school. I talk about grading hacks in this video if you need some ideas how when to get them done.

But seriously—when you go home, GO HOME.

Now, I will admit, I do often make resources at home. But that is mostly because I am putting them into my TPT shop, so I don’t want to work on them at school, even if they are for school as well.

 

TAKE YOUR LUNCH BREAK

This is one of the best pieces of advice about self care that I can give you. It’s also one of the things I am the WORST at.

Take your lunch break.

I’ll say it again and let it sink in: take your lunch break.

I know you have 50 thousand things to do. I do too. And every day at lunch I start thinking, I need to do this and this and this.

And then I stop myself and say: take your lunch break.

It really does help. When I take a break at lunch, I feel refreshed and ready to go rather then frustrated and annoyed.

Legistically, how do I accomplish this without shirking my responsibilities?

Normally, I will check my email (I don’t even respond during lunch—just look and see what is in there). If something is urgent I’ll respond, otherwise I leave them unread. Then I look at my to do list and make sure there is nothing that needs to be done prior to my next class (copies or setting out instruments). If I need to call a parent, I will. Otherwise, I leave everything for my planning or after school.

It feels weird. I used to work through lunch every single day. But I promise, it makes a difference. Even if you only take half of your lunch as a break, do it.

Also read: Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching

Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



Have an activity to get your mind off of school

So once you have left school at school, now what? Do you get home frustrated and annoyed? Still thinking about testing and study guides?

As soon as you get home—or on your way home—find a way to get your mind off of school. Sit down, because you have not sat down all day, and just chill out for a few minutes.

For me, this has been reading. When I get home, I make myself some tea and a snack, and I read. My goal is 30 minutes, but sometimes it’s only 10 or 15, and that’s ok. The point really isn’t the reading. The point is to calm down, sit down, and think about things that are not school.

Admitedly, sometimes the books are school related, but still.

 

Take a bath

This is probably my favorite one—take a bath. Or a hot shower. But seriously—try a bath. Get some Epson salts and bubble bath (you cannot go wrong with my personal favorites right here! They are made for relaxing!) and soak for a little bit. This really does help your body to feel better and help your mind.

Bonus points if you read a book in there.

Which leads me to my next point…



Read a book

You tell your students to read, but when is the last time you read a book that was not education related? When is the last time that you read for fun?

I have been really intentional about getting my reading in (see above for when that happens), and it has made a huge difference. I am learning more and I know even if my day is crappy, I have 15 minutes where I get to read before I have to clean or make dinner or any of that mess. It’s great.

Need a new book? Here are a ton of book recommendations!

A few that I just finished and would highly recommend include The Alchemist, The Odyssey, and I am currently reading Circe, and it is really great so far. I cannot put it down.

 

Play some music

Upon reflection, that looks like you should put on Pandora. Now, that is actually a good idea, but not what I am meaning.

Pick up an instrument.

If you are a music teacher, when is the last time that you played music? I know that seems like a crazy concept.

I had a thought halfway through last year that went along the lines of this: I used to sing for about 2 hours a day. Then I would play piano and cello. And I haven’t practiced anything for months.

That realization was truly eye opening.

Now I plan to practice at least 2-3 times a week. Technically, I have it written down for every day but that doesn’t always happen. After reading, I turn on my keyboard, warm myself up, and flip to the next book in my Gabriel Faure songbook (because who doesn’t love a good French art song?).

It has been really great for me to get back to learning music that wasn’t pentatonic. Not that there is anything wrong with that—I enjoy it, which is why I teach elementary music. But I also enjoy learning difficult arias and art songs. It may take me two months to learn a song I could have previously learned in two weeks, but at least I’m still doing it.

I read a quote on Instagram lately that was something along the lines of, “How can we inspire students to read when we don’t enjoy reading anymore?” I really think the same thing is true for music teachers—we can’t inspire students to love music if we are not actively trying to improve out musicality.

So there are a few easy ways to incorporate some self care into your routine! I’ve get ideas for school and outside of school.

 

Also read: Elementary Music Classroom Tour

You know what else is great self care? Signing up for access to my free resource library so that you can download things instead of making them! There are different resources available, including a music interest survey and a steady beat chart (in 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4). Once you get access to the exclusive content, you can keep coming back and downloading more! I add new resources every few weeks! Sign up here!

Now I’m curious, what do you do for self care? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!



Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



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Elementary Music, Organization

Tips for Keeping on Top of Lesson Planning

Lesson planning. AKA the bane of most teachers’ existence.

I cannot wait until I have taught for a while, so that I will have more lesson ideas. Sometimes I feel so stuck for fun lesson ideas, and it seems to take me forever to write a lesson.

Because I sometimes find it difficult, I have implemented a lesson planning schedule to help keep me on track. This is one of the biggest reasons I am able to get all of my planning done on time and keep my stress levels down! Lesson planning with this schedule keeps me organized.

And we all know that being organized is one of the most important aspects of being a good teacher.

You can check out my other organization posts here. Subscribe for more—I will be continuing this series for a while!

Tips for Keeping on Top of Lesson Planning. Schedule and tips so that your lesson plans are turned in on time! Help stay organized no matter what you teach: elementary school, middle school, high school, art, music, or pe! Becca's Music Room



Schedule to make lesson planning easy

Tuesday- Think about lesson planning.

Yes, I have a day dedicated to thinking about lesson planning. This helps because it gives me plenty of time to think things through. Sometimes, I will not have any ideas in the morning, and as the day goes on, I come up with something great. I usually just write down the ideas on Tuesday.

For example, this week my list says “Carol of the Bells Orff, Pentatonix listen, Christmas sing along. Listen to winter, talk about winter, sock skating to beat, hot potato with jingle bells.”

Not exactly what you would want to put in your lesson plans for your principal to see…. But it works for me.

Wednesday- Write lesson plans

Our template is long and clunky and ridiculous, so this takes a while. Always make your lesson plans detailed enough to prove to your principal that you know what you are talking about.

They especially like to see “content specific” words. Even if they don’t know what they mean, seeing them in your lesson plans makes them think you know what they mean. Things like dynamics, tempo, quarter notes, etc.

Thursday- Gather materials

This means printing materials, making materials, finding them, etc. I love doing this on Thursday, because our lesson plans are due on Thursday at 5. This means most teachers are just starting to think about their lesson plans, and I have free range of the copier. Friday and Monday, it is packed.

Also, since our lesson plans are due on Thursday, planning to do them on Wednesday ensures that I have them done on time. If I cannot get it done on Wednesday, I have a whole entire other day to work on it.

If I planned to do it on Thursday and couldn’t, then I would be in a bind.

Friday- get everything ready

Pull out the materials, get them all set to go.

 

You will notice I didn’t put anything on Monday. This is because with new lessons, I like to have some time to tweak it and not worry about anything else.

Free Music Lesson: Bizet Scarf Routine



Some general lesson planning tips:

Make a series

If you don’t know what to do, pick an instrument and go with it. Or pick a theme. This does wonders because it limits the amount of lessons available.

For example, you could spend a month on Kidsticks Stations. Or recorder. Or whatever.

You could do a musical month, a keyboard unit, a ballet unit, opera unit, etc.

(Click on these pictures to go to the Amazon page)

Embrace the holidays

Teachers love holidays because they make things different!

You can extend Christmas for a whole month. Same with Thanksgiving and Halloween. Also, Hispanic Heritage month and Black History month are great for lesson planning as well.

If you pencil all of those in, there won’t be many days left!

Here is a Halloween lesson: Free K-2 Music Lesson: Rhythm

Combine grades

This is one of my favorite tricks. I honestly only plan two lessons a week—one for K-2 and one for 3-5. This works well with our schedule and really reduces stress. It is worth it if just for the materials—you only have to get out one set of instraments, or two. Not six.

I think ideally K-1, 2-3, 4-5 would be the best groupings, standards-wise. This does not go well with our schedule at all, but I may try it anyway and see how it goes.

I promise you are not an awful teacher for doing this. I believe it really helps you to do your best because you have time to work out all of the kinks, and you are not constantly trying to think of what your lessons are.

Now, if you have been teaching for 20 years, you probably know your lessons well enough that having 6 different ones isn’t an issue. But for us newbies, it is very helpful.

Have some carryover

When I am really put together, I do this very well. What I mean is that you use a piece of your next lesson in this week’s. Or you use a piece of last week’s lesson in this week’s.

For example, I taught my kids Al Citron a few months ago. We learned the song at the end of one lesson and then we played the passing game the next time. They sang so much better because they knew it better! It was fantastic.

Another time, we learned a circle dance to a Ringshout song as a Musical Explorers lesson. We used it as a warm up the next week.

Sometimes it is tricky or not possible, but if you can do this, it really helps! It allows time for the song or lesson to really sink into their heads.

Lesson Ideas: Creative Movement with Scarves

Find a Curriculum

I cannot sing the praises of the Game Plan Curriculum enough. K-8 is also a really great one. Both are fun, having singing and instrument playing, and get the kids to read music well.

Free K-2 Music Lesson: Animal Form

What is your lesson planning technique? How does it keep you organized? Any tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Becca

Tips for Keeping on Top of Lesson Planning. Schedule and tips so that your lesson plans are turned in on time! Help stay organized no matter what you teach: elementary school, middle school, high school, art, music, or pe! Becca's Music Room



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