Full Speed Ahead…In Reverse: Re-energizing Yourself and Your Students

I was driving my kids to school on Tuesday following a very chaotic but normal morning routine. We had found common ground, peace and harmony in a Rihanna song.   While we were work work work work workin’ it toward a green light, I began hearing the sound of sirens…quickly approaching sirens. Suddenly, I realized that Rihanna had taken me too far into an intersection. So I guess in driving terms I was going north and the sirens were coming west?? All I know was that I had to back up. So, to the irritation of the car in back of me, I put my car in reverse and waited safely for the sirens to pass. While I was waiting, I glanced to my right into the eyes of a man staring directly in my face. Either he was disgusted with my driving skills or flirting with me. I went with the latter…right? Then he spoke, “Hey baby girl, don’t forget to put your car back in drive.”

I gasped not only because of my obvious misjudgment, but because he had saved me from what could have been a catastrophic morning. Thanks to his keen observation skills, I put my car back in drive and headed to work. That day I couldn’t stop thinking of how sometimes I get so busy and move so fast that I don’t “switch gears” when I need to.

Classroom Connection

This is the time of year in schools where everything is moving… and moving fast. It’s important to take a breath, step back, and assess your environment. After all of the hard work you put into moving your students forward, the last thing you want to do is move backwards. Here are two things to remember today:

Be observant: Watch for signs of student burnout. When students are overwhelmed and stressed they can become very cynical or negative toward school. Don’t ignore what is often referred to as “out of whack” behaviors because you are speeding through the day. Find creative ways to reenergize your students. I bet if you peek in a few classrooms around your school, you’ll get some fabulous ideas!

Ask yourself: Have I stopped interacting with my colleagues? This is one of the warning signs of teacher burnout. Isolation in a profession where human interaction is at the heart and core of what we do is dangerous. Find positive ways to stay connected to your peers and choose to be proactive in implementing strategies to avoid burnout.

Set a pace that will help bring out the best in you and your students!

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Joy

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