Are You an Exhausted Educator?

DangerDid you know that a lot of research has been done on educator energy dips.  Between Halloween and Christmas is one of the lowest dips for educators. A study done for the Beginning Teacher program in California(BTSA) found that beginning teachers go through several stages during the year.  It has been my experience that many of these stages apply to all educators regardless of your role or experience.  Here is a graphic describing the phases:



It’s really time to take care of yourself.  You know what that means: eat right, exercise(even just a little will help), sleep,etc! When school starts we are all usually filled with excitement and energized by the challenge of the new year.  It takes so much energy to get everything up and running.  If you are an administrator, for example, you spend countless hours organizing everything, keeping things under control, building supportive and caring relationships and monitoring and adjusting everything.  If you are a teacher, you have spent the last three months creating a classroom climate that functions smoothly.  You started with nothing and made it happen.  This is exhausting.  You most likely have come a long way teaching and reinforcing  rules and procedures as well as creating a climate that is rich in productive and positive relationships.  You may also not be quite where you need your students to be. This can be discouraging. It seems like you are rolling a boulder up hill! November and December can be trying times in schools.

If you can, take a little time to reflect.  Work on your own growth mindset! Monitor your own self-talk just as you do for your students or staff.  Perhaps you could employ the power of YET!

Try Saying:

My students do understand multiplying fractions yet!

My classroom does not function as smoothly as possible yet!

My staff is not functioning as a productive Professional Learning Community  yet!

You might also try creating your own set of beliefs that can serve as guideposts for improving your practice.

I believe that through practice, perseverance and hard work my students will learn.

I believe that I can encourage my students to accept challenges.

I believe that I can create a climate where my students will take risks and learn from mistakes.

Every classroom, school, district and state has unique sets of problems, issues and challenges.  We have to remember that we can only create change though our circle of influence, but it may be bigger than we think.

Circle of Influence




How to Inspire a Growth Mindset: Part 2

Not only is how we praise a way to enhance or discourage a growth mindset, students also need to learn that their brains are designed to learn and grow. Brains like a challenge.   Help students identify instances where they have mastered something like a video game.  How did they do it? Most likely they practiced. They didn’t give up. They persevered.  The brain loves this!

Just like the body loves exercise the brain likes learning.  Students might also recognize that they have learned new things in sports and through other physical challenges by practicing and practicing and getting help, support and feedback to get better.  Riding a bike, learning to walk, learning to jump rope and playing tetherball are some examples. Have students create journal entries on how they learn new things.

Students can also learn to monitor their negative self talk and say things to themselves that encourage a challenge. For example:

Say:  What am I missing?  Not: I’m not good at this.

Say: I’ll try some different strategies.  Not: I’m not good at this.

Say:  I can always improve.  Not: I can’t make this any better.

Say: This is going to take some time and effort.   Not: This is too hard for me.

Say: Mistakes are always on the path to deep learning.  Not: I always make mistakes.

Students can make classroom charts.  They can catch each other making statements that don’t support learning.

Students might also like to know that many famous and successful people have faced challenges.  Here are a few examples: