These days, we’re all spending a lot of time indoors. It’s easy to get a little stir crazy. Seriously, I can only watch so many episodes of the Real Housewives and Property Brothers before I need to do something that makes me feel productive. If you’re wondering how to make the most of your time while social distancing, here are my top social distancing ideas for teachers! By checking each of these things off your list, you can go back to school in a few weeks feeling both accomplished and well-rested.
Learn at Home With Online Professional Development
One of my top social distancing ideas for teachers is to work on professional development. Between lesson planning, teaching, and after-school events, it can be hard to work in the additional workshops and courses we need for professional development points throughout the school year. I am one of those people who is guilty of waiting until the last minute to work in professional development courses due to a busy schedule. I’m enrolled in three online distance learning courses right now to make sure I have enough renewal points next year.
You may be wondering, “what can I study online?” If you’re uncertain, rest assured that there are endless possibilities. One of the distance learning courses I am taking has to do with using social media to network with other educators and another course has to do with preparing for the Google certification exam for teachers. If there is something you want to study that relates to education, you can find an online distance learning course for it!
Since I know many teachers are at home and looking for online professional development opportunities, I have recently opened enrollment for my course, The New Teacher Toolbox, for 20% off. This course was designed for new teachers (less than three years of classroom experience) and soon to be teachers. It contains all the things I wish I would have known when I was just starting as a teacher. We cover classroom organization, planning, and mindset, not to mention the five things every successful classroom management plan needs. The course also includes information to help teachers as they transition to online learning with video tutorials on how to use Google Classroom, how to use Google Apps, and how to create digital resources. We are excited to welcome new teachers into this program during this time!
How many times throughout the school year do you think about organizing files and papers, yet you don’t because other tasks are more important? Well, the isolation and free time created by social distancing is the perfect time to organize your teacher files. If you’ve made the shift to distance learning, you’ve probably collected a lot of new files and digital resources over the past two weeks. It is important to take the time to organize these new files so that you can easily find and reuse them once you are back at school.
Your teacher files are not the only thing to organize while social distancing. I’ve been talking about cleaning out my garage for almost a year. Now, I am finally taking the time to do it! Think about an area of your home that is messy and cluttered. Use this extended time at home to get that space organized. I believe our physical space is a reflection of our mental space. When the things around us are a mess, it can create additional stress. But, when things are tidy, it can allow for increased mental clarity.
Think About Your Classroom Management Plan
It never ceases to amaze me. Every year, after winter break, students return to school as if they completely forgot most of the rules and expectations from the first half of the school year. If that happens after only two weeks of planned time away from school, you can expect that it will likely be much worse after several weeks of unexpected time away from school.
Even if you do not plan to head back to school for several weeks, be sure to be thinking about what it will look like when you do go back to school. Will you be able to keep your classroom management plan the same or will some parts need to change? What will you do to regularly review the expectations upon returning to school? How often will you need to review the expectations during the first two weeks back? These are all things that will need to be considered and planned out before returning to the classroom.
Learn a New Skill
Not all social distancing ideas for teachers have to be about preparing distance learning lessons and going back to school in a few weeks. It is important to also take time at home for yourself. This is a particularly great time to learn a new skill that you haven’t had time for. Personally, I have many food allergies and am always wishing I had more time to try out new allergy-friendly recipes. I’ve been using social distancing as a time to explore blogs and YouTube videos with recipes that I can enjoy. You can also find blogs and YouTube videos that teach almost anything you want to learn such as hand lettering, painting, video editing, and so much more.
Focus on Self-Care
This time of uncertainty and social distancing is overwhelming for everyone. Self-care should be a priority in all households right now. Taking care of your physical and mental health is important so that you protect the people around you. It also ensures that when the time comes to return to school, you are fully prepared to support your students.
Here some positive self-care strategies you can implement while social distancing:
- Exercise: There are so many ways to exercise at home. Use yoga or workout videos found on YouTube or take a walk around your neighborhood.
- Drink Water: Teachers often don’t get enough water because of the lack of bathroom breaks throughout the day. Now, you can go to the bathroom whenever you want, so drink up!
- Rest: It is recommended that adults get six to eight hours of sleep per night, but we often don’t get that much during the school year. Use this time to catch up on rest.
- Enjoy Time with Family: Make the most of this time indoors with your family. Find activities to complete at home that create lasting memories.
- Do Things You Enjoy: There are always things we enjoy that we wish we had more time for, such as reading or watching movies. Now is the perfect time to work in those activities you typically don’t have time for.
It’s easy to feel isolated and cooped up while social distancing, but there are lots of great ways to make the most of your time at home and still feel productive. You can take online courses for professional development, get your digital lessons organized, and work on projects to make sure you are prepared for when it is time to head back to school. But, not all social distancing ideas for teachers have to be related to teaching. It is important to also take time for yourself. A few ways you can do this include organizing your home, learning a new skill through online tutorials, or adopting some new self-care strategies. The key to surviving social distancing without going crazy is looking at the extended time at home as an opportunity to get things accomplished, spend time with family, and take time to do the things you usually don’t have time for.
Do you have fun activities you are doing at home while social distancing? Be sure to share them in the comments!