Taking Care of Teachers and Students:
You Can’t Give what You don’t Have:
A wise man once told me, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” Anyone who says teachers don’t give anything have never actually been in a classroom. Whether you are a teacher or a learner, whether you teach history, or are learning a new language, it doesn’t matter: These things aren’t easy. No matter how much you love it, you’re going to need some down time, and learn how to take care of yourself. Taking care of teachers is just as important as taking care of students.
In the last few weeks, I’ve neglected this blog. I tried to do too much too quickly, and wound up burning myself out. I’m not a new teacher, I’ve been teaching for years. I’m not new to blogging, I’ve been a ghost writer forever. But I forgot the key to being successful: Taking care of yourself. No one else is going to look out for you unless you ask them to, and even then, they can’t do everything. It’s a sad fact of life that the world is only interested in what you produce, not how you’re doing.
If you’re going to make it as a language learner, a teacher, or wherever your passion is, you need to take care of yourself. This means you can’t forget things like…
Taking Care of Teachers : Diets
Eat Right, and don’t drink that!
Teaching takes a lot of physical energy. It could be as simple as walking to and from your car 18 times a day. If you’re teaching younger children, your life is dancing and singing and bringing high energy learning. It’s not enough to be happy, you need to approach life with the same zeal as your tiny students.
it’s amazing, it’s fantastic, it’s exhausting…
That 2,000 calorie a day count? That is the minimum your body needs to keep yourself healthy. When you’re active and moving around, you’ll find your muscles hurting, and you didn’t even know you had those muscles. Eating more is a start, but eating right is what’s important. I didn’t realize how much highly processed foods slowed me down until I started teaching. Yeah, it’s good for a snack, but if you’re going to make it in the long run, you need to eat right. Taking care of teachers means taking the time to figure out what your body needs to be its best.
Everyone can eat right, it just needs a bit of effort. Don’t be afraid to pack a lunch, that way you can be sure of what is in your sandwich. Don’t forget to grab some fruit or veggies. They’re easy to digest and won’t slow you down.
What about drinks? Drinks are an interesting question.
Water: The standard is water, and you really can’t do much better. Even minor dehydration can keep you from thinking clearly, and if you find yourself in a warm climate, you can never be drinking too much.
Coffee or Soda: The standard drink for teachers is either coffee or soda. Coffee is the drink of choice for thousands of teachers around the world, liquid gold that keeps us moving. Soda is the drink of choice for new teachers who haven’t had their tongues corrupted by the Dark Roast of Destiny. When it comes to caffeine, no one disputes the value of a few more hours of alertness. However, take this with moderation: It’s very easy to over-do it.
The Shit List: Don’t Drink These
Energy Drinks: Level with me guys, how many of you can’t live without your caffeine hit in the morning? I grew up in a coffee house, then discovered the mixed blessing that is high sugar, high caffeine drinks. There’s definitely an allure to these: They’re sweet, they’re sour, they’re awesome. As of this writing, I’ve got a cabinet with a bunch in them. But they’re not the miracle they claim to be. That’s only the commercial. Eventually the effect wears off and you crash in the middle of your lesson. Don’t be that guy: Grab a coffee or a soda, and stick to water. No crash, no fuss. My advice? Drink them at your own risk, and if you do, don’t forget food, and good food.
Beer, Wine, Alcohol: Don’t get me wrong, a beer or two with your friends is a great way to start the weekend (If you’re allowed: Legally guys, be good.) But never on the weekdays. Your students are much more observant than they may appear. Children know something isn’t right, and older students recognize a hangover. It’s than that though, alcohol will sap your energy for the next day. It’s hard to teach when your head is pounding, or your dying inside. I’m not going to lecture, you know your limits. But teaching is hard enough, and it’s harder to run around and be active when your body is still processing what happened last night.
Local Water: If you’re fortunate enough to go overseas, the rumors are true: Don’t drink the water! Every ecosystem has its own bacteria, no matter how clean it looks. I was in china for two years, and the water was clear until it evaporated. Afterwards, my cups and classes were covered in dissolved plastics and plaster that were in the water. If you’re there, buy a filter, or get prefiltered water. Your internals will thank you. Taking care of teachers means taking care not to drink anything questionable.
Too Long, Didn’t read:
Keeping yourself healthy as a teacher is key to being a great teacher. A little bit of preparation goes a long way.
Last week: What does my last name mean?