You know how when you are flying in an airplane, just after they shut the doors they go over those in-flight passenger announcements? Well, here it is January and the doors have been shut for some time on your flight through this school year. I probably should have gone over these in-flight passenger announcements back in August, but I believe it may still be valuable for us to review at least the one that goes like this.

“Oxygen and the air pressure are always being monitored. In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person. Keep your mask on until a uniformed crew member advises you to remove it.”

Airplane Window

I especially want to draw your attention to the part about “if you are traveling with children.” As a teacher, you are definitely traveling with children. Note that the announcement says, “Secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”

Oftentimes, teachers like me who want to do everything with excellence run the risk of not taking care of themselves before trying to help others. Around this time of the year, it’s common to hear about teachers who want to quit, transfer to other schools, or even switch professions. When this happens, not only do we lose good teachers, we also lose the children who lives could have been positively impacted, or even saved by them.

There are two ways to respond to these burn out feelings: avoid them or treat them by properly caring for ourselves. Teachers, please do not feel you are being selfish when you take good care of yourself. Yes, sometimes that means leaving things undone at your desk or from your list. Sometimes that means getting out of school sooner.

Vibrant Life Magazine

Our health is connected to mind, body and spirit. These are so closely related that an improvement or setback in one area can drastically impact the other areas. That’s why you get the best results by addressing all three. One of my favorite magazines to help me with this is Vibrant LifeIn fact, it was reading their current January/February issue that prompted me to write this post. My dear fellow teachers, please secure the health of your mind, body and spirit first!

Boardwalk in Woods

For me, that means doing more of my favorite activities, like walking the boardwalk around the lake at camp. Excuse me now while I go do that!