The end of the year is a challenging time for all teachers, especially special education teachers. The end of the year blitz often starts in February or March, as we are inundated with annual IEPs, ESY addendums, and last-minute service changes in anticipation for the next school year. From there we have the battle of classroom management, as the students realize the end is near and begin to get anxious and energetic. As teachers, we often become stressed, short tempered, and generally tired―self-care is critical during these last few months of the school year.
To keep myself at my best, I use mindfulness and deep breathing exercises to help cope with the stress. Taking a few minutes during my lunch or planning time to breathe deeply, allowing myself time to acknowledge my stress and the emotional toll that comes with it and not dwelling on them helps me get through the rest of the day. Teachers often bring work home in order to meet deadlines and best support our students. Before I begin my second work day, I take a walk outside with the dog allowing myself to connect with nature, soak up the sunshine, and focus on things other than work, like how the grass needs to be cut or the beauty of the blossoming flowers. Giving myself these small breaks allows me the time to detach from work, take care of myself, and ensure I stay healthy and sane during this demanding time.
Remember to always take care of yourself so you can be there for your students. How do you keep yourself at your best? Share your tips and tricks with us by tweeting @CECmembership.
CEC member, Richard Williams, contributed this content.
Richard Williams is a special education teacher, who teaches students with emotional/behavioral disorders. Williams has worked in general education schools in self-contained EBD classrooms and two special education centers for students with severe EBD. He has a master’s in special education from Clark Atlanta University and is currently working towards a doctorate in special education from The George Washington University with a focus on students with EBD and transition plans and preparations for post-secondary life. In additions to his studies, he is working on two projects, one on the neurological and continuities ability for adolescents to effectively participate in their transition plans, and the quality of life outcomes for students with EBD in post-secondary school. An active CEC member, Williams has been a Reality 101 blogger as well as a member of the Yes I Can and Diversity Committees. Outside of the classroom, he is a plant-based lifestyle and animal rights advocate and runs a blog of book reviews and current events. In his spare time, he loves to read and go on hikes with his dog.