The job of a teacher is difficult. They wear so many hats but are only compensated with one salary. The daily tasks of teachers can take its toll. Learning to find a balance between work and life is vital. Yet, many teachers are so engulfed in work they often miss that mark. Educators often teach and practice Social-Emotional Learning skills with their students. However, teachers need to develop and apply these skills for themselves.
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is developing self-control, self-awareness, and various interpersonal skills that are key for success in life. This concept has five components of focus: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Practicing self-awareness and self-management are components of SEL that teachers must apply to their lives.
Self-awareness with Social-Emotional Learning has concepts of its own. Identifying emotions is the first. This concept focuses on recognizing the emotions you are feeling at the moment you feel them. This is vital for teachers. Recognizing and acknowledging your feelings helps with controlling your actions. It also enables you to express yourself appropriately. Being self-aware can also focus on meeting emotional needs, which creates a stronger sense of self-worth and confidence. This, in turn, provides an internal safe space necessary for emotional stability.
Self-management is another concept of Social-Emotional Learning that teachers must master. Managing emotions, behavior, and thoughts is the key to maintaining balance. Self-management for teachers should focus on discipline. This will help manage the stress that comes with teaching. Often, teachers skip lunch or breaks to meet with students. An impromptu meeting interrupts lesson-planning time. Grading papers, calling home, and keeping track of so many things can be overwhelming.
Teachers must learn to meet their needs in order to fulfill the needs of others. Both concepts are essential for teachers to apply to their lives, inside and outside of work. There are things teachers can do to help.
- Listen to yourself. If your body is telling you to slow down, do so.
- Take your allotted breaks.
- Pay attention to your actions. If you find yourself being anxious or moody, take a step back and figure out why.
- Set reasonable goals for work. You do not have to do everything in one day. Learn to manage your time at work to complete work tasks. It will change your life.
- Set healthy work-life boundaries. Leave work at work and keep your home as your safe space.
- Know and understand your emotional triggers. This will help you communicate with coworkers and students better.
- Establish personal and professional values. Putting these in place will keep you focused on both while keeping them separate.
- Practice discipline. If you do not have discipline, you will unravel at the seams.
Being aware of your needs in any line of work is vital. You must be mindful of who you are and what you need. Without this knowledge, you cannot be the best version of yourself for yourself.
Liz Lampkin is a Lifestyle, Love, and Relationship writer. Follow her on social media @Liz_Lampkin.