If you’re an educator, you probably have way to many things on your plate and to-do list than anyone could imagine. If you’re anything like me, you are often overwhelmed and unsure of where to start; you feel like you’re drowning! There is so much pressure coming down from school districts, administration, parents and our peers. You may often thing, “WHERE DO I BEGIN?”
Educators often struggle with the pressure to do more. Nothing ever seems good enough. When one thing is completed, there is a hundred other things tugging as us. I want to offer a few practical tips on how to manage this pressure to do more. I am by no means an expert, but I really value investing in others.
When you feel the pressure to do more:
· Realize that YOU ARE ENOUGH- in this moment. You are enough. You have to believe that you are an incredible educator.
· Remember WHY you chose the profession. Take a few moments to reflect on why you wanted to be a teacher. What is your vision? (We know it wasn’t for the loads of money…lol). Keep this focus in mind.
· Understand that you are only ONE factor on a laundry list of influences on schools and the students. As an elementary school teacher, I have my students for about 6 hours. I can only do so much. There are so many outside factors that may be more influential to them than I am. And guess what- that’s ok. I’ve accepted this truth.
· Stay in your OWN lane. I truly believe that as long as you’re doing your very best and your students are making noticeable gains, you’re doing your job as an educator. Unfortunately, we can no longer dream that we’ll save the world. We are so limited in our abilities as educators and that’s the honest truth.
· Set up boundaries on your time! You MUST understand that you cannot do it all. This school year, I added so much on my plate. I wanted to be involved in everything. It exhausted and overwhelmed me. We often add things on our plates honestly aren’t urgent. It is OKAY to not participate in something. Don’t let anyone place pressure on you to do something you know you honestly cannot commit to. Choose YOURSELF.
There is so much more to be said about managing the pressure to do MORE. I don’t want to overwhelm you; however, I recommend that you start with the tips above. Remember your vision as an educator!
Challenge: Write a list of everything you have to get done. After dumping everything on a list, separate your list into two columns with the following headings:
MUST get done Not as urgent
This list will help you focus on the necessary tasks and get rid of what matters. Earlier this year, I had on my to-do list ‘organize my file cabinet’. For what? Lol. This is definitely NOT going to happen, especially because I want to focus on digital files anyway.