Sometimes teachers need to get frugal with their work and take care of themselves. As the winter cold sets in and sickness plagues, teachers need a reminder to put their health and wellness first in order to truly serve their students.

It’s been a wonderful year in teaching for me. I’ve had the amazing experience of working with the same group of students for a second year now, and I just love this group of kids. I also have wonderful supportive colleagues, administrators, and co-teachers. It’s hard not to want everything to flow perfectly and to work as hard as it takes for that to be true as much of the time as possible.

But it’s also December. I’ve had some kind of nasty, shape-shifting cold for nearly three weeks that had me sleeping 16 hours the night after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s getting colder and darker. And of course, grades are due soon. I love the work of teaching but I’m on the brink of exhaustion and I have to begin conserving time and energy so I don’t hit burn out anytime soon.

I’ve got an experiment in the works. For the next week (and probably longer), I will leave school no later than 5:00 and I will not bring any work home. Some other things might have to change in response: I might have to arrive earlier, I might talk less with colleagues on preps or after school, not take on any exciting new endeavors, and perhaps I’ll find other ways to be more efficient with planning and grading. But I’ll get the work done and have enough time in the evenings to relax and take care of myself—which I sorely need and which will help me come to school each day with the enthusiasm my students expect and need from me over the next month.

What do you need to get frugal with between now and the winter break?


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