We all have days when teaching life is good. The kids listen and work. You actually get some planning done, and your energy isn’t sapped. That’s the kind of day that makes you remember why you wanted to teach in the first place. And remember past times when you didn’t mind giving away your weekends to prepare for the next week.

Are those kind of days gone for you?

So, you can’t walk out the door. What do you do? If your day feels like all valley and no peaks, try these ideas to help you through the day.

Survive School

Reward Yourself

Plan rewards for yourself so you have something to look forward to during the school day. Did you make it through the most difficult block of your day? Go for a reward. This has to be quick. Who has a minute alone in a school day? Here are some suggestions:

  • chocolate
  • a cup of good coffee
  • chewing gum
  • a breath of fresh air
  • 2 minutes to read a blog post
  • sketch in a journal for a minute
  • soda
  • tea
  • a tall glass of water
  • a fruit smoothie you made at home that morning
  • look up a recipe and dream about supper
  • stash an appropriate magazine for a quick read
  • a cup of yogurt

What suggestions can you add to this list?

Call a Support Person

A quick phone call to a spouse, friend, relative. (Make sure this is entirely pleasant, the person knows you’re calling for a tension break, and the conversation is lighthearted. A good laugh breaks tension. What you don’t need is more stress put on your shoulders in the middle of the school day.)


Bring in Something You Love

Do flowers, plants, or scents bring you joy? Prop a bouquet of flowers right beside you. Find some beauty to focus on when the stress overwhelms you.


No matter what grade you teach, laughter is good medicine. Find a way to enjoy the day while you’re teaching. Use comics (appropriate ones only) to teach a vocabulary work, introduce a lesson, or as a reward between assignments.

Picture Books

Again, no matter what grade … elementary or high school, use children’s picture books or children’s non-fiction to teach. High school students can relate to the poetry of well-written picture books. Blend the day with easy material that leads to the objective you’re teaching. It’s like starting a hike on a flat path which gradually leads to the uphill climb.


Now … you’ve survived another day. Your feet walk swiftly out the building because you’re revved up and excited about the rest of the day.  Keep reading to discover more options to turn every day from surviving to thriving.

Thrive At Home

Find a Hobby

Instead of occupying your free time in your classroom, focus on something else you find interesting.

Talk With a Friend

Be careful who you share your grief with. You need an understanding and discerning friend. You may be stressing about things that will work themselves out and just need to air out your feelings. Often, by talking out loud (this is why people go to counselors), we can see the problem and sort out a solution while we talk.

Turn On Music

Did you ever sing in a choir, blow a trombone, or pound the keys on a piano? Get back in the game, and play your instrument again. Join a church choir, community chorale, or turn on the karaoke machine and sing your heart out at home.


Learn Your Limits

If there are people who steal energy, plant negativity, and swallow your time in gulps, then learn how to keep your distance. This is for your own sake. It’s critical for you to do your job. When you realize someone isn’t good for your spirit, change your route, routine, breaks, coffee refills, and anything you can control to manage a positive day.

Wait for the Weekend

Getting away from the school campus simply calms the spirit. You have time to consider circumstances and refresh your body.

Focus on God

Sit down and open the Bible to the book of Psalms. King David often had troubles and wrote frankly about them. He enjoyed God’s favor too. Take the verses to heart, and cling to the words to keep your feet moving forward toward the next door. Pray for God to open and shut doors for you. He will.


And remember … Time is on your side. Time teaches. Time heals.


  • What have you tried that would help you make it through a rough day?
  • Do you have a hobby to recommend?
  • If you resigned, what kind of job did you find to replace teaching?

Written by Terri Kelly

    1 Comment

  1. Michele February 21, 2017 at 6:05 am Reply

    Oh those Wednesdays!
    What helps me get throgh frustrations is 1. having a friend that listens. 2. Leaving that world behind and doing something for myself (a glass of wine, a walk outside, a good book, time alone).

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