“The best part about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest part about being a teacher is that it matters every day.” – Todd Whitaker
This quote really sums up what being a teachers is to me, and it reminds me why I wanted to start Whole Teacher Teaching in the first place. Teaching matters and that’s why teachers put in the long hours, say yes to helping everyone, and work for far less than they deserve. But it is also why the whole teacher matters; why your mental and physical health matters.
Your students look to you to learn and grow. That’s a huge responsibility and darn right stressful at times. Teaching is such a rewarding job, but it takes a toll of you if you don’t take care of yourself.. Think about it. A sick, exhausted captain isn’t who you want flying your plane, and guess what? Your students don’t want a sick, exhausted teacher guiding them through learning either. They need you to be healthy and happy, so you’re at your best when you’re with them.
Sometimes it can seem selfish to put yourself first, but you need to do it for your students as well as yourself. You will be a better teacher when you take breaks from work at night and come back refreshed. You’ll be more patient with your students when you get a good night sleep and take care of your physical and mental health. You will be happier to see your students every day instead of counting down to the next break when you make time for your hobbies throughout the year and not just on break. These things aren’t selfish, but necessary.
Whole Teacher Teaching is about making you a better teacher by putting yourself first, so you can show up to school every day feeling good about teaching. As teachers, you must be the change in your school to encourage teacher health. Make it a priority daily. Ask for help if you need it. Make the change this school year. Remember, a healthy teacher is a happy teacher, and a happy teacher is an effective teacher.