By the time I saw this quote on social media, it was too late. I needed this advice at the start of my 20-year teaching career, not when it was over. I never practiced self-care even when I experienced some major life events. Self-care was just not part of my vocabulary.
When I left teaching in 2015, I didn't realize at the time that I had actually burned out. Jokingly, I told my colleagues I was retiring. To be honest, I felt weak because I couldn't and didn't want to teach any longer but I also felt sad because teaching ESL was a career I had loved.
Sometime in 2017, I started to read about teacher stress and burn-out. I had no idea that there was actually a Maslach Teacher Inventory to measure burn-out! Nor did I know how frequently teachers were leaving the profession. I wasn't alone but I wondered if there was something I could have done differently to avoid burn-out.
When I googled teacher well-being, it lead me to teacher self-care. That's when I discovered Fran Warren - an incredible educator in Atlanta, Georgia who organizes teacher self-care conferences www.teacherselfcare.org.
Time to share my story
This year, I decided it was time to share my story of burn-out (it wasn't easy) and what I have learned so I can help other educators. My book The Teacher Self-care Manual: Simple Strategies for Stressed Teachers came out this week on Amazon! https://amzn.to/
When I returned to part-time teaching after an 18-month break, I never regained the passion I had so I think it is critical to avoid burning out in the first place and find ways to be and stay well and practice self-care!
In the next few months, I will be presenting at several conferences. Take a look here and see if I will be in your city http://bit.ly/32yNoVD I'm also planning a few webinars and available to present at conferences or organize PD workshops at your school.
Words of Gratitude
A very special thank you to the teachers who took time out of their busy lives to review my book. I'm grateful for your words of encouragement and support.
Her message that teachers need to make themselves a priority and practice self-care is one that needs to be heard. — Robert Dunlop, Educator, Speaker and Author, S.T.R.I.V.E. for Happiness in Education
A short, easily assimilated guide to teacher self-care. The book contains a host of practical tips, looking both at what schools can do and how teachers can look after themselves better physically, and make vital changes to their mindset. — Rachael Roberts, teacher, trainer, life coach and author of 30 Ways to Mindfulness
Practical, to the point, and easy to read, this book is full of ways anyone can reevaluate their life balance and manage their day-to-day well-being. — Ruth Pearce, Author, Speaker, Transformational Leader, Project Manager at VIA Institute on Character
Compelling and practical, Patrice provides teachers with actionable self-care strategies for right now, no matter how busy or overwhelmed you might be. — Annemarie, Founder of Speak Confident English
Do I still think leaving my career as a sign of weakness? No, I don't any longer. Sometimes we have to leave for the sake of our health. My teacher-friend Kim, who lost her voice and had to take time off said this:
"it takes a great deal of strength to say I need a break, I am stressed or I need to look after me"!
Thanks for reading. Be well!
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