When I ask teachers what they do for fun, they often quip “Fun. What’s that?” A busy teacher life makes little moments of fun hard to come by. And you know what they say about all work and no play. So what is the secret to taking back the FUN in your teacher life?
The most common
excuses I mean barriers for fun that I hear from teachers are
- No time to do something fun
- No money to do something fun
- I just don’t prioritize it
So we are going to tackle these with my
6 Tips for Taking Back the FUN in Your Teacher Life!
- Bring your version of FUN into the classroom: What is your version of fun? One of the ways I like to have fun is seeing live music – of any kind! I love concerts and even the symphony! One year, our local symphony put on a program for Title 1 schools to come to the symphony for a special (user-friendly) performance during the school day. The conductor and some of the symphony members explained how they make music and made it a truly educational experience for the kids – and I got to see the symphony!! Win win! Of course, that was a special event, but I also infused my version of fun into units throughout the year – a chocolate-themed unit, making a thanksgiving dinner with my students (great for informational text by the way), and even a rollercoasters unit where we built rollercoasters out of pipe insulation and diagramed the potential and kinetic energy. There are all kinds of ways you can infuse your version of fun into your classroom! Getting a little creative can go a long way in breaking up your week-to-week monotony and having more fun within the school day!
- Multitask FUN with something else on your to-do list: There are all kinds of ways to have fun – and sometimes we can do those things while we are doing something else as an effort to squeeze it in to our busy day! Some examples could be
- walking/exercising with a friend (this way you get your friend time in while you get your exercising in!!)
- soaking your feet while you lesson plan
- do your weekly planning at a local coffee shop while you sip your favorite drink
- Schedule time for FUN: A lot of us teachers are similar – we love our to-do list and generally live by it. If you are someone who has every minute of the day mapped out, or is driven by your to-do list, then you’ll need to follow this tip for sure. Schedule time into your calendar or on your to-do list for something FUN! Whether it’s crafting, going to a movie, getting coffee with a friend, or something else – you’ll need to schedule it if you are going to prioritize it.
- Find free FUN: Sure. Some hobbies and fun experiences can be expensive. I love to snow ski – but because it’s few hundred dollars each time we go as a family (between lift tickets, travel, and ski rentals etc.), we don’t get to do that very often. Instead, we try to do it every few years or whenever we happen to be in a snowy place! But not all FUN is expensive. In fact, I challenge you to think of as many free fun activities you can in 30 seconds. Time yourself and write as many down as you can! Go ahead – do it! Plus – a quick Google Search for free/cheap fun in your area of the country will yield PLENTY of ideas! Here are some online resources I found for free fun:
- Make a FUN Jar for Inspiration: My friend, Jenn, gave my husband and I a wonderfully thoughtful gift one year for our anniversary called a “Date Jar” which I’m going to modify for you as a “FUN Jar”. Take your list from above and write the ideas of a tongue-depressor stick with a permanent market. Add any other ideas you can think of. Put all the sticks into a jar and when you are feeling a little dull, drained, and depleted – pull out a few of the sticks and choose an activity to do right then or to schedule into your upcoming week. I love our date jar because it gives us ideas when we know we need a date but don’t want to do the same old things we always do.
- Change your thinking about FUN: One excuse my clients give for not having more fun in their lives is that they just don’t prioritize it. They put everyone else’s needs before their own and don’t leave anything for themselves at the end of the day or week. So the tip here is to change your thinking! First, You ARE a priority! Your energy is a precious resource that you have to rely on throughout the week, so time for self-care, hobbies, and FUN is more important than you think. Most of us run around playing a short game – just focusing on today or this week. But we have to think of the long game – what will our life look like long term? Will your students, children, and people who know you remember you as ‘busy’ or ‘stressed’ all the time? Or will they remember you as fun and full of life? If you need to – redirect your priorities. Reflect and journal on this or call me to see me for a session to discuss a mindset shift you can make to remember to prioritize your needs – including your need for FUN! We all need FUN! Or else we become very dull girls.
Now – Go Have FUN!
All my love,
~Alison, A Teacher’s Best Friend