I have never fully understood the hoopla that surrounds Wednesdays. Yes, halfway through the day the work week is halfway over. Yes, you sort of feel like the weekend is within sight. And yes, you begin to feel as if you have finally gained some momentum.
Okay, I get it now. Having said all that, I think there are 3 things you can do to make Hump … I mean Wednesday even better.
Make Time for a Quality Rest Period
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest, is the founder of a company called Rest that is devoted to helping others understand and take advantage of the rest. I mean with chapters titled Walk, Nap and Sleep, how could it not be?
Now I have always been one to enjoy rest. I imagine we all have. But, while each of us appreciate it and enjoy it, are we deliberate about our rest? We think we get enough, but do we really? A weekend nap or midweek Happy Hour does not mean we are well rested. In fact, the later can mean the opposite.
I am here to say that I think Wednesday is the perfect day to plan and get the some important rest at just the right time. The rest that can help us finish the week strong. I know, we usually don’t associate Wednesdays with rest. For some reason, we tell ourselves that we can’t rest until Friday after the last bell rings.
What if we started treating Wednesdays differently? What if we strategically planned a solid hour to an hour and half rest period on Wednesday after school? It doesn’t need to be an expensive spa treatment and you don’t even have to leave your home. But there is one thing that I think is crucial. You must plan this period and treat it just as seriously as you do your teaching.
Maybe you live near the mountains or the beach and you set aside an hour or two to go for a peaceful walk without any of your devices. You might go on this walk/hike alone or with a friend or loved one. We all recharge differently.
Or you might plan on kicking back and watching one your favorite John Hughes movies with a bucket of popcorn and a soda. It’s just an hour and a half. But for that hour and half you are not thinking about what you have to do the next day. Instead, you’re laughing at John Candy or Anthony Michael Hall and wondering why they don’t make movies that good anymore.
Whatever you plan to do to relax isn’t as important as simply planning to relax. Don’t worry. I am sure you have a lot to do. There is always going to be something on your to-do list. But by making a conscious effort to relax on Wednesday evening you will be so much more ready for end of the week than your colleagues. Give it a shot.
Take Care of the Little Things that Can Become Big Problems
For some reason it always ends up being the little things that have the power to wreck our day. You’ve planned for the week, you’re bonding well with the new student and your class grasped adding fractions with unlike denominators in just one day.
This morning while you were getting dressed for work you couldn’t find a pair of socks to match your outfit even though you own 50. The five minutes you spend finding a matching pair of socks was time that you usually spend drinking your coffee. And for some reason, probably because you trying to find socks that match, you left your coffee mug on your dresser. And it was full!
On the way to work you remembered that you needed gas. You didn’t even have enough gas to make it to work. The problem is that you had to help your daughter pick out an outfit that looked good with her new jeans and now you have 0 minutes to spare. Zero! You don’t have a choice. You must stop and get gas. This is going to make you late to work and you hate being late to work.
After a busy day at work you remember that both kids have practice this evening and you are not going to have time to make dinner. The only option is McDonalds but you have been trying to eat healthy and to be quite honest, you never liked their food anyway. So, you pick up food for your kids and spouse but you get nothing. By about 7:30 you feel your head begin to pound and you realize it’s because you have had anything to eat since the lunch. Plus you remember you never got your coffee this morning.
Wednesday is the perfect day to take care of the little things—ahead of time—so that they don’t become big issues. This way you finish the week strong.
Plan your outfits ahead of time. It doesn’t take that long. Yes, it may not be what you feel like doing at 9 o’clock at night. But I guarantee you, fifteen minutes one evening a week may just prevent you from morning hassles that have the potential to wreck your day.
Fill up your tank on Wednesday night. I know, you don’t really feel like driving across town—but make it a win-win. Find a podcast you enjoy. It may be for professional development or it may just be to make you laugh. By the time drive to the gas station, fill up your tank and return home, you will have listened to an entire episode.
Finally, we all know how difficult it can be to eat healthy or at the very least, eat happy. By eat happy I simply mean, enjoying what you eat and feeling full and nourished. It is so easy to lose track of the day. So, tonight write down seven tentative dinners. Half of them may be take out. Half may be microwave. Or half may simply be protein shakes. Either way, you have some sort of plan for what you are going to be having for dinner each night.
Notice Everything You Possibly Can About Several Students
I realize that at first this may sound like an odd request but trust me, there is solid reasoning behind this strategy.
Teaching is an incredibly difficult and complex profession. Being responsible for anywhere from 20 to 200 students can be overwhelming. Getting to know your students is important and yet it seems impossible with all that you are required to do in the course of a day, a week or a semester.
So, what if one day a week, you decide to make it a point to notice everything you can about a few of your students. I am not talking about favorite colors or favorite foods. I mean really make it a point to hone in on students and see things you might not normally see because you had to watch the whole class.
For example, what makes a student laugh or smile? During the course of a day, students will laugh and smile numerous times. What is it that causes this? Maybe there are just a handful of kids that make them laugh. Maybe they laugh at everything. Worse yet, maybe they don’t laugh or smile at all. Being able to reference these notes will be invaluable throughout the year—especially when they are having a rough day.
If you can, try and notice students’ body language. Do they sit close to other students? Or do they always have space in between them and their classmates? Are there certain students that make them tense up and certain students that help them relax? This kind of stuff matters and it is the kind of thing that you may miss when you are watching everyone.
Not only will you be able to better interact with your students because you know what make them tic—you will be more likely to notice when something isn’t quite right. That is huge and that could save the day. It’s not going to be easy. But I think taking the time each week to notice, I mean really notice, your students will take your teaching to a new level.
So, there you have it. Three suggestions for Wednesday that have nothing to do with a camel. Get it? Hump day. Sorry, I embarrass my 14-year-old all the time with my dad jokes. That’s okay, I never run out of material. Here’s hoping you thrive this Wednesday and finish the week with enough energy to catapult you into the weekend.
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Doing More By Doing Less: Yes It ‘Is’ Possible Teachers’ Aid interview with Alex Soojung-Kim Pang