10 COPING Tips for Teachers at Home

by | Apr 20, 2020

Here we are. At home. Away from our students. Staring down the barrel of uncertainty.

With this uncertainty comes a host of emotions. None of this is on our terms and it’s difficult to be the teacher we want to be during these times. It’s easy to spiral out and the worries for our students, for our community, and for humanity can take over.

Well, Joy in Teaching has compiled a list of 10 simple coping tips to help teachers (and everyone else) be the best they can be during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Feel free to add more ideas, and tips that are working for you, in the comments section.

Teaching during a pandemic Caronavirus COVID-19

1. STAY CONNECTED

Teaching from home during a pandemic

Now that we are apart it’s more important than ever to remind ourselves that we are not alone. Reach out to friends and loved ones. Write letters, video conference, email, call. Give multiple ways for students to get a hold of you and for you to get a hold of students. 

2. FIND THE JOY

Pick something you enjoy day during a pandemic

Pick something each day that you enjoy. Keep it simple. It can be a snack, an activity, a tv show – it doesn’t have to be transformative or take any effort at all. Knowing that you have that little bright spot to look forward to each day can help you get through the dark areas.

3. LIMIT YOUR FEED

Change your notifications during the pandemic

I cannot stress the importance of this one enough. Turn off your notifications people! Not having your phone “ding” every time there is a news conference or more data about COVID-19 doesn’t mean you are less informed. What it does mean is that you will get caught up when you are mentally and emotionally prepared. This is a small act with a big impact. 

4. CHANGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Change expectations during Coronavirus

When it comes to school, our students, and our personal life we all need to check our expectations. We can’t expect things to be as they always were because they are not. This doesn’t mean we can’t have expectations, just that they need to be flexible and understanding – with others and ourselves.

5. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

Focus on what is your control and let go of what is not

There’s a whole lot happening that we can’t control and that’s stressful, but one way to combat that stress is to focus on what is within your immediate control. Repeat after me, “What can I do from where I am with what I have?”. Maybe that’s your next meal or a load of laundry, a nap, what you’ll say to students, or how you’ll support your community. Focusing on the tasks you CAN do help you feel a semblance of power and control in these uncertain times.

6. BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF

Be Gentle During Coronavirus - sitting on bed with coffee

Consider the grace and understanding that would give a student who was feeling scared, stressed, or alone. Now, give the same softness and forgiveness to yourself. It’s okay to let things go, to not do it all, be it all – give yourself some time and be gentle.

7. SET DAILY INTENTIONS

Write plans and intentions in a planner to keep forward thinking

Okay maybe your spring break plans didn’t happen and you’re looking at those summer plans with a doubtful raised eyebrow, but that doesn’t mean that planning is out of the window. Setting daily intentions and making plans may not involve destinations anymore, but that doesn’t mean that they still aren’t important and help up remain forward-thinking. Consider a weekly video happy hour with friends or coworkers or an old-school drive through the country to keep you looking ahead.

8. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS

 

Mother daughter meditating during pandemic

 

Your mindfulness practice doesn’t need to like anyone else’s. But it can help you to cope with our current situation with a little more grace and a bit more centeredness. Breathe, meditate, walk – find your calm in this storm.⁠

9. FEED YOUR SOUL

Mind body soul spirit post its during pandemic

Now more than ever it’s important to listen to yourself. What do you NEED? Is it rest? exercise? nourishment? entertainment? distraction? challenge? Listen to that inner-voice asking you to feed your soul and give in to what it says. As always, but even more so now, taking care of yourself helps you be able to take care of others – including your students who miss you.

10. KEEP THINGS FRESH

teacher thinking about new methods during pandemic

One positive of this time is that we can try out some new things. Take this into your online classroom – try zooming with your class from your phone while on a walk or new and innovative ways of demonstrating learning processes. Have students share and teach each other – now is the perfect time to experiment with methodologies and try new approaches. 

This list was inspired by a list started on the Joy in Teaching’s Instagram account and is not by any means exhaustive. Please leave your coping ideas and tips for teachers in the comments below so that we can all benefit from each other during this time.

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