- On 21 November 2020
- Tags TEFL Florence
This year has been very full and has felt very long, but believe it or not, the holiday season is nearly upon us, which is a signal that the light at the end of this year’s tunnel is in sight. But being a good EFL teacher requires us to stay attentive, to stay present, and to not check out yet. Teachers, educators, and school personnel have really been on the most tumultuous of roller coasters this year, and to wrap up our wild ride, I think the best gift we can give ourselves is a little bit of self-care. If we aren’t doing well, then we can’t do well for our students either. We have more than a month left to participate in, and going out strong will be better than trying to just fast-forward to next year.
This year, I’ve tried to apply a few new self-care tips to my routine to make some of the bumps in the 2020 ride a bit less severe. With every seemingly possible significant global event happening this year, I’ve found it important to take media breaks and separate myself from the current events at times. The news is overwhelming, and it can be easy to get sucked into a black hole of doom and gloom. Instead, I am really trying to intentionally identify the positive things that are happening instead and resist complaining too much. Even though venting is necessary at times to release some stress, it is easy to get addicted to dwelling on the negative things and not celebrating the positive things that have persisted. This year, all of us at Via Lingua have been so fortunate to have dedicated students who have continued their studies through the pandemic. That decision in itself is an accomplishment, let alone everyone who has reached personal goals, passed examinations, and advanced their skills in the process. Maybe you too can find inspiration in the work you have accomplished and in your students who have committed to pursuing their goals in spite of the circumstances.
Professionally speaking, I’ve found it really important to designate time for planning lessons. This may sound obvious, but when the world is looking a little bit gray, it can be hard to focus and stay on task. One thing we can control is the effort we put into the work we do! Feeling prepared and confident that you are delivering the highest quality, personalized content to your students builds you up. On the same token, though, we need to set boundaries and make sure to not overwhelm ourselves with work. You may find with working from home and teaching online that your work becomes even more connected. In the blink of an eye, you can get lost for hours on lesson prep and gathering materials. Set limits for yourself, break away from the screen, and put away the technology! You don’t have to do everything all at once.
You will need to put your lesson planning away at some point in the day because you also need to designate some time for yourself. Eventually, everyone needs some down time to relax, unwind, and disconnect from our daily hustle. Hopefully you can find time to get some fresh air and movement each day. But if you’re staying home these days, take the opportunity to work on something else and try something new. Find a new hobby you’ve never tried before, or an old activity that stimulates you. Maybe this is the time to start on your own language learning journey!
Finally, with the holidays coming up, be sure to schedule opportunities for connections with your friends and family. We may not be able to meet in person, but video calls are a satisfying alternative to make the distance feel a bit smaller for the time being.
To all the teachers and students: you’ve done great this year, and keep doing great! We’ve nearly made it, so let’s not quit yet. Take care of yourself as we start to wrap up what’s left of 2020.