Turn off that teacher brain so you can enjoy your family, your friends, and have a little more YOU time.
Do you need to find a way to shut off all those buzzing ideas rolling around in your head about school? It’s time to tuck that teacher bag away in a corner, lock the door, and forget about it.
Sometimes we think way too much about school when we’re not even there. When I’m at home, there are times when I find myself thinking about my students and anything coaching related. And then I have to tell myself, “STOP THAT!” But telling myself to stop doesn’t always work. On a recent blog post, I shared how sometimes I have to “change the tracks of my brain.” 🧠🧠🧠 This really helps me turn off all those thoughts about school so I can be ready to hang with my family.
Here’s some things you can do to help yourself stop thinking about work. I want you to spend your weekends relaxing and not worrying so much about what you CAN or CAN’T control. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to do some work, like lesson planning or grading on the weekends, but it would be nice to not be thinking about work every waking second.
Along with changing the tracks of my teacher brain, here’s 7 other things I do to make sure I can flip the off switch and be a little more present and in tune with the rest of my life outside of teaching:
1. Shift your mindset from teaching is my “LIFE” to teaching is my “JOB”. God and family are my life. This thing I do...teaching...is the job I can do. But I can’t let it control my life. I can give 100% to my job, be the best teacher I can be, show up for my students every day, and fulfill my job expectations, but when all is said and done, my principal can decide to put me on a plan of improvement and not renew my contract if they want. And then...I have no job at all.
So why in the world would I work like a dog for something that could be taken away tomorrow? But my family….oh my goodness...they are my CONSTANT. They will never leave me or forsake me. No matter how many mistakes I make, they will always, always have my back. I just can’t jeopardize my relationships with my family for a JOB. And when I think about it this way, it motivates me to shut off my teacher brain and be fully present at home.
2. Give yourself a day off on the weekends. Scheduling a “work/thought free” day each week is a necessity. For example, one of my favorite craft stores is Hobby Lobby, and they are always closed on Sundays. I could make Saturdays my day off on the weekend, so I can have some ME TIME shopping for crafts, wall art, and decor pieces at Hobby Lobby.
3. Have your spouse, significant other, children, or friend (pretty much whoever you live with) ask you different questions other than “How was your day?” I don’t know about you, but when I have a bad day at work, the last thing I want is my husband to ask me is… “How was your day?” Because I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to relive what happened in my brain. I just want to forget it, move on, and focus on something that makes me smile. Try questions like these instead:
a. What was the best part of your day?
b. What energized you today?
c. What was a success you had today?
Now those questions I would love to answer when I walk through that front door.
4. Don’t bring work home. I know, I know. Easier said than done. But we have to try and do this one as much as possible. Because when I bring that work, I feel like it staring me in the face. Even if I hid it in a cabinet, under my desk, or in a bedroom and closed the door, I still know it’s there. It distracts me from my family. My mind can’t stop thinking about what I need to finish. Sound familiar???
5. Lock the door. If you are teaching in-person, this is a lot easier to do and something you are used to doing every night. When you are done for the day, you get out those school keys and lock that door behind you. And you don’t look back...well maybe sometimes you do because you forgot something. But what about if you are teaching from home? I encourage you to do the same thing. If your office is in your bedroom, lock the door when you are done. If your office is downstairs in the basement, then lock the door before you go back upstairs. That is exactly what we did. I actually had my husband go buy a different door knob for my office in the basement and replace it with one that actually locks. I leave my laptop, journal, anchor charts, and post-its downstairs and when I’m done, I lock the door and don’t come back down. It has been so freeing!
6. Don’t let emails control your life. Try not to check your school email when you’re not at school. When I was a classroom teacher, I didn't have an automatic transfer from my school email to my personal email. I would NOT recommend it. I receive all teaching-related newsletters on my school email. A lot of teachers have their school email on their phones…please don’t do that either if at all possible.
7. Make a list of To-Do’s that include family or personal things before leaving work. When you make your checklist, start with what everything your family needs to get done tomorrow FIRST. Add when you plan to get it done and approximately how long it will take to finish. Here’s an example:
Then move on to what you need to get done for school. Try really hard to put these items either before school, during the school day, or after you kids go to sleep at night; so that you are not missing out on any precious family time.
I encourage you to choose one or two of these and make them a priority this month. Let me know how it’s going on Facebook or Instagram because I really want to help!