Beat the Mid-Term Slump
We’re now in week seven of the new school year and comfortably back in to our old routines. We start the year full of new ideas and good intentions, but with the Summer sunshine a distant memory and the nights drawing in, our resolutions may be starting to slip. Take a look at our top tips to beat the mid-term slump and boost your mindset.
Reassess Your Summer Goals
The summer break gives us a great opportunity to evaluate our goals and reflect on our teaching in the previous year. It also breaks us away from our usual routine. Now that we’ve been back at school for over a month it’s a great time to reevaluate the goals and changes that we made at the start of term, to assess how well they are working and if they can be improved. Try asking yourself the following questions:
How am I progressing with my goals?
Am I on target to achieve my deadlines?
Have any of my goals fallen by the wayside? If so, why?
Are my goals achievable?
Are there any habits that I picked up over the summer break that could benefit me now that I’m back at school?
Can I manage my time more effectively?
Are my priorities correct?
Are there any tasks that I am completing that are non-essential or unimportant?
Set New Mid-Term Goals
Now that we are back in our work environment we may be able to recognize new areas of improvement that weren’t obvious to us over the summer break. Do you have a particular pupil who needs extra guidance to achieve their targets? Is there a new after-school group or team that you’d like to get involved in? Is there an area of the curriculum that you have discovered a new-found interest in? Take time to reflect on the past five weeks and any new knowledge that you have gained, set out your new achievable goals and put your learning into practice.
You may have picked up a new hobby or interest over the summer break. Did you discover a new language or type of food whilst on holiday? Did you discover a new passion for a particular area of history or the world? Why not continue to learn whilst integrating your new interest into your lessons? This is a great way to overcome the mid-term slump.
Keep a Diary of Your Success
Keep a track of all of your goals by keeping a journal of your successes. Whether it’s working with a pupil to help them to move up a reading level, successfully delivering a lesson on a new topic, or getting up before work and going to the gym, make a note of all of your achievements, however big or small. Why not use your journal to write down any ideas or creative thoughts? Then in the future, if you’re struggling for inspiration, you can use your journal as a resource bank of great ideas for your class.
It’s also a great way to track your own positive behaviours. How did you achieve your successes? What did you do differently to achieve your goal? How did you feel throughout the process? By recognising our behaviour patterns we can figure out how to tackle difficult problems and goals in the future. It’s important to be honest with yourself, no-one else is going to see the journal and it will help you to recognize your strengths (and potential weaknesses).
Set Up a Club with Your Colleagues
Set up a book club or network with your colleagues to keep each other up to date with new research, ideas and skills. Meeting up with your fellow teachers, whether at school or at the pub, is a great way to discover and develop new ideas for your school. You can share books (both fiction and non-fiction) that have inspired you or that you have learned from, after all Autumn is the perfect time to curl up with a good book.
Meeting up as a group, either in school or socially is also great for morale and to create a true feeling of being a team. It can be lonely as the only adult in a classroom, so think about getting involved with out-of-class activities. After all, it’s unlikely that you are the only teacher in school wanting to overcome the mid-term slump. Of course, we can all be guilty of taking too much on, so make sure to balance any extra-curricular activities with time for yourself.
Get Better at Going to Bed
As the nights and mornings get darker, it can be harder to achieve a regular sleeping pattern. You need a good night’s sleep to conquer the mid-term slump, so why not try the following:
Make your bedroom a sleep-inducing environment – unclutter your bedroom and don’t have anything work related in your room. At this time of year, a thick set of curtains is great for keeping out any streetlights and making your room a little warmer. Nothing prevents us from sleeping more than an uncomfortable bed so invest in a good mattress.
Be careful what you drink – Research shows that drinking caffeine up to six hours before we go to bed can impact our sleep, so try switching to caffeine-free drinks after 4pm. Alcohol can also lead to a disturbed nights sleep. It might be difficult to step away from the Prosecco after a hard day in the classroom, but just think of the benefits of a good night’s rest.
Create a sleep schedule – Set an alarm for one hour before you need to go to bed so that you have to put down your marking pen, and take time to wind down and relax before sleep.
Do some (gentle) exercise – Research tells us that doing gentle exercise, such as yoga, before bed helps to achieve a calmer state of mind, conducive to deeper sleep. An intense workout earlier in the evening, straight after work perhaps, can lead to improved sleep.
Get writing – Writing before bed though can help us to move on from the stresses of the day. Why not keep a notepad at the side of you bed and write down a list of priorities for the next day? If you’ve had a bad day, use your notepad to write down a list of all the things that you are grateful for, resetting your mind-frame before sleep.
Step away from the screen – using screen technology before bed has been proven to be detrimental to our ability to get to sleep. Switch off your TV and put your phone down at least 30 minutes before bedtime for the best chance of a successful night.
Create a bedtime ritual – Creating a relaxing ritual before going to bed can you into a positive frame of mind before sleep. Why not try a nice warm bath, using a meditation app or reading a good book to help you to switch off from a busy day in the classroom?
These tips first appeared in our Good Night’s Sleep blog post in 2017, you can read the full article here.
We’d love to hear how you beat the mid-term slump. Let us know in the comments section below. You can get organised with our teacher-favourite To-Do Pad.
Have you seen our new infographic which explains how the Good to be Green behaviour management scheme works in four simple steps? Check it out here.
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