Now that most of us have been teaching from home for a while, I have been hearing wonderful stories of creative teaching, unique ways educators are widening the scope of what they teach, and teachers integrating our art with other subjects maybe even more than under normal circumstances. But I have also noticed, and have heard from many teachers about a new problem: your well-being! I’m not talking about your physical health or the virus, specifically, I mean teachers not able to distance themselves from their own computer!
I hear of teachers answering emails at all hours of the day and night, video-conferencing when they should be sleeping, and forgetting to stop for dinner, let alone lunch! Every time they hear the “ding” of their email sound, they run to the computer or smartphone like Pavlovian dogs. After asking a few experts about working from home, some suggestions to counteract this problem were to: set specific working hours (and stick to them!), schedule short breaks and long breaks throughout the day, remember to stop for beverages and snacks when needed, walk around a bit throughout the day (even if that needs to be in your own home!), and take time for conversations with colleagues. But the most important suggestion was to “stop” when it’s time to stop. Since “work” is now with you all the time, it’s important to have clearly defined times (emergencies excluded) when you are finished work. Turn off the computer and do something else. Cooking, phone conservations with friends, reading a book for pleasure or whatever makes you happy needs to be part of your life’s schedule. Remember our students need us, but they need the best/healthiest/focused “us” we can be.
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
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