November can sometimes feel like a long month with the nights drawing in, commuting becomes darker and colder, alongside the thermal mugs scattered everywhere and endless layers of clothing. Despite the weather, the Christmas holidays can feel like months away!
The half term before Christmas can feel never ending therefore avoiding exhaustion is so important. By balancing your work throughout the term, you not only will enjoy your well-deserved two-week break but also delivering excellent outcomes and be a positive, productive role model.
Treat each term like a marathon – not a sprint. Going in with high expectations of behaviour is never a bad thing, however having high expectations of yourself and outcomes can lead to huge amounts of pressure, which may ultimately lead to an overall sense of negativity to the term. Staying a few hours extra to get work done from week 1 soon build up and your working hours will creep up to an unhealthy amount!
Plan and prioritise
Jot down your priorities for the week, both personal and professionally. This will help you plan your week to achieve those tasks. It will ensure that you achieve what is most important and will leave you feeling satisfied and accomplished at the end of the week. Making sure you keep your own hobbies and interests at the top of the list is just as important – whether that is watching Strictly Come Dancing every week, meeting friends for dinner or a regular gym class!
Whether it is saying no to helping with the school Christmas decorations, taking on an extra day’s work or meeting friends after a long week at work. It is never selfish to take time for yourself and you should never feel guilty for saying no. Putting yourself first will ultimately better yourself, leading to you being more positive and productive within your personal and professional life which will benefit everyone around you.
Delete emails off your phone!
No one is expected to work 12-hour days every day of the week,(this includes working all day in a school/office then go home and do more work)! Emailing late into the evening can create an unfortunate precedent by which people think that they can contact you at that time out of working hours and expect a reply. This pressure is only deepened with the instant messaging and texting becoming the everyday ‘norm’, leading people to expect replies instantaneously. Set your expectations clear from the beginning with contactable times and average response times. By managing everyone’s expectations appropriately you will reduce pressure and relieve any guilt you may have about not replying instantly!
Don’t suffer in silence!
Communicating with others daily about how you’re feeling and how they’re feeling can help enormously. Voicing what you’re struggling with can be beneficial in resolving the problem, whether it is balancing your work/home life or a difficult parent. With every problem there is a solution and sometimes all it takes is a quick 5-minute conversation with a colleague or family member to resolve it and save hours of worry or stress.
Make sure Christmas is a time of happiness, relaxation and festive-cheer! Don’t allow a long term of dark nights and cold sniffles consume your life and take away from the reasons you love teaching and your job. Teaching in this half term is full of positives: the children are well settled; assembly lines less wonky; names are fully embedded into pupils and staff; with wet playtimes comes board games; the build up to Christmas begins with nativity’s practices and Christmas card writing; the ‘newness’ of the school year is well and truly gone and children begin to flourish.
Avoiding burning out at this time of year will allow you to see how magical this time of year can be working in a school and highlight why you enjoy your job so much.
If your current role isn’t quite right for you or you’re trying to avoid a burnout before Christmas, please get in touch with us and we can advise how we can work together to find a solution, how supply can help you or find a more suited placement.