Let’s be honest, nobody loves teaching every single day. In the best of times you probably enjoy teaching most days. At some point though, we all have to fake it. Needless to say, these are not the best of times. The pandemic has educators everywhere adjusting to new lesson plans, managing virtual tools and classrooms, and all while experiencing untold levels of stress.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been faking it quite a lot lately. Despite being exhausted and worried, I want to be there for the students and teachers in my community. I imagine you all are feeling the same way. Even when everything appears to be going well, we’re constantly on alert. The next day could bring a change in policy or a student could get sick.
This means we sometimes must conjure up a sickening level of enthusiasm because we feel it’s the only way to ensure the emotional stability of our students.
Take a Breath
Here’s the thing, good teachers are almost always good actors. For all the reasons above we have to be. However, acting a part every day will leave you feeling drained. It’s no wonder so many teachers are feeling burned out and overwhelmed by the current predicament. Here’s the alternative: strive for authenticity over enthusiasm.
You can only summon up so much eagerness to discuss “measurement” or “an insect’s life cycle” over Zoom. I can very naturally share about the time I mis-measured my swim trunks and ended up attending a pool party looking like I was wearing clown pants. I could also talk about how I lit up social media with an innocent post about pill bugs and doodle bugs. Authenticity is its own kind of stress release. You don’t have to pretend for your students, just let your thoughts and feelings flow.
Just Be You
Of course, embedding some of your authentic self into a lesson benefits your students too. Passion and curiosity are infectious. Young learners will be more likely to engage when they know you’re honestly invested in the material. It may be that’s all you need to make this unconventional year of school feel normal. It’s important to remember that school is not a classroom. Rather, it’s the process by which you help your students learn.
Stop trying to plan the most engaging lesson. Instead, bring your most engaging stories into the lesson. The pressure and stress will diminish while your energy and interest will increase. Acting is still a requirement, but authenticity brings a necessary balance to the teacher’s perpetual stage.
We hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this difficult time. For more free educational resources, or ideas on how to promote passion and curiosity, simply follow this link!
*Today’s image is brought to you from Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard Jr. Get your copy today!