The daily life of a music educator can be tiring on any given day, and you’re likely still adjusting to teaching remotely. How can you make sure to avoid burn-out? Below are some self-care ideas and techniques to help you through the long days and weeks ahead.
Starting your day
Before your teaching day begins, practice meditation, deep breathing, and dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretches involve active movements that allow your joints and muscles to go through a full range of motion. These can be used to help warm up your body before a workout. Dynamic stretching activates the beginning of a healthy lifestyle. Personally, I find the Claude Gordon Breathing Exercises to be very helpful as well.
Set and Review your goals for the day and for the week
Take time to consider your intentions for the day or week. Answer the following questions as a starting point:
- What are your teaching goals for the day?
- Does your goal reflect your greater teaching philosophy?
- What factors can you avoid and watch out for that will slow down your progress?
- What can you tell your students today that will bring them joy and high spirits?
Who is your mentor? This mentor does not have to be a music educator, just someone you feel comfortable confiding in; someone you trust. Ask questions, be open, and be willing to learn and grow. The reflection process is critical to effective positive and personal growth.
As an exercise, list both the positive and “not-so-great” moments of the day. What can you learn from each day and situation?
What about you?
You’ve spent an entire day helping and motivating others. Now it’s your turn. Leave your busy work where it is. If you’re working from home, leave it at your workstation and go for a walk. This is difficult to do, but try your best to set time aside for you and your family. When you retire, you shouldn’t be bragging about how much work you did, you should be bragging about how wonderful your family is!
Daily renewal means that you should be able to start fresh every day, not hungover with the stress from the day before. Make sure to prioritize healthy living, exercise, and family.
Effective and inspirational teachers have many tools at their disposal. What can we do to make sure we are better teachers tomorrow? Are you the kind of teacher you’d want your own kids to have? To be inspiring, we need inspiration ourselves. Explore music by underrepresented composers. Find ways to grow as a teacher and conductor.
Live a life of inspiration so that you can shine your light through your students!