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4 Self Care Tips for the BUSY Special Educators


Is it just me or is teaching the special education classroom EXHAUSTING? I spend the day making split second decisions, managing behaviors, oh and teaching when I have a chance! By the end of the day I'm often EXHAUSTED and find myself changing into pajamas and climbing into bed before the sun has even gone down.

Self care is so much more than pampering yourself. It's about reconnecting and finding joy so you can spread that back into your classroom and I'm going to tell you, the more I have reconnected with myself, the happier my classroom has become. Over the past year I have really started to value self care, but I'm not a big yoga-going, guided mediation-participating kind of teacher. I'm still a teacher and I'm BUSY, but I've found that doing small acts of self care for myself have really changed my day to day outlook. I find myself cheerier and more prepared for work than I did before my small acts of self care. So here are 4 tips for Self Care for the BUSY Special Education Teacher.


1. Meditation
Ok, I know I just said I'm not the meditation-participating teacher, but hear me out. Meditation doesn't have to be all ohms and meditation bells. My form of meditation occurs daily on my drive home. I'll often turn the radio off for a portion of the drive and be alone with my thoughts. I practice taking some deep breaths and reflect on the day in my classroom. I find this to be a positive self reflection time. I often problem solve things that aren't going well in my classroom and return the next day with a plan to tackle problems.


2. Find your Relaxation
Again, I'm not a yoga-goer, but I am an avid fan of massage. I also love a nice, long bubble bath. These are great ways to unwind after a long day or week. Massage and bubble baths aren't your thing? That's ok, find your thing! Treat yourself to a manicure, enjoy a cup of coffee while it is still hot, read a good book, binge a show on Netflix. It's all about finding a way to pamper yourself.


3. Make a "No Work" Day
Choose a day of the week and make it your "no work day". Plan on bringing NOTHING home from your classroom to work on that night. Make it a night to reconnect with friends or family. I tend to make mine on Thursday every week because it's easier for me to stick to it when I keep it the same day every week. If it's easier for you to move the day around from week to week based on what's going on at school, do that. But I really do suggest you take one day a week to leave your school work at school and spend the evening doing things you enjoy!


4. Get a Hobby
So many of us get wrapped up in the day to day work in our classrooms that we forget we have passions and things we enjoy that are not teaching related. Take time to reconnect to those hobbies. Take that hike, plan that trip, learn to make craft beer. Whatever your passion is, do it! You need to be "more than a teacher" in order to be the best teacher you can.

Self care is not selfish and I believe that all of us can engage in small acts of self care on a daily basis to be a better teacher. I have found that when I take the time to do the things I love and spend time with those who are important to me, I am more recharged and better able to serve the students in my classroom. I challenge you to choose one act of self care to engage in this week. I bet you're going to feel recharged and better able to reach the students in your classroom once you've taken care of yourself!

Transition Items 101


Schedules are super functional for our students. Even though we often start out with a visual schedule in our primary classrooms (I have a whole wall of them!), the goal is to move to something portable and more functional. How many of us carry around a calendar or planner? Who keeps a calendar on their phone? These are schedules for us and we want to move our students to that point as well.

We all know using a visual schedule is an evidence based practice for our students with Autism. It really structures their day and shows them what to expect throughout the day. I usually teach my students to utilize their schedule and check their schedule using a prompting and fading plan from most to least intrusive prompts.

The Hello Game


Social skills and greetings are super important in my Autism classroom. I'm constantly teaching my students how to interact with their peers, staff, and other people around campus. We practice greetings in our classroom from day 1. During our morning meetings, we have a "Good Morning" time where students choose what type of greeting they would like to give their teacher. I quickly build upon that skills so my students are generalizing greetings at school and interacting with more people than just me.

5 Mistakes you are Making in your Independent Work Stations


I'm back to talk more about independent work stations. I don't know if you've realized, but I'm basically obsessed with them. I think I've written about independent work stations at least a half dozen times on this blog if not more! I love them because not only do they provide an opportunity to teach students 1:1 while other students are engaged in meaningful activities, it also promotes independence in students and isn't that really one of the big goals we want to accomplish? I know any growth in independence is HUGE for my students!

If you're starting out a work station, it's easy to make mistakes and I want to help make sure you set up the BEST work station in your classroom that promotes independence for students throughout their school day. So check out these mistakes you may be making with your work stations and I'm going to help you fix them!

Prioritizing your Back To School To Do List


Let's be real. Getting back into your classroom in the fall and getting set up to go can be fun and it can also be OVERWHELMING! Especially if you're moving classrooms or you're starting you first year in the classroom. The long list of to dos can be beyond stressful. I have 4 tips to get you prioritizing your Back to School to do list in a flash.

Dear First Year Special Education Teachers



Dear first year special education teachers,

First and foremost, welcome to the field. This field is going to test you, but it is going to be amazingly rewarding. I am writing this so you have a realistic picture of teaching special education during your first year and you continue to serve our students for years to come.

It's no secret that teaching is HARD. Teaching our students with diverse needs is especially difficult. For every breakthrough and triumph you celebrate with a student, you're going to experience meltdowns and adversity along the way, but let me tell you, it is SO worth it!

Here are some tips and insight I wish I had during my first few years of teaching:

DIY Room Divider


Can't afford a room divider from an school supply store for your special education classroom? Me either! I found a way to make a great DIY room divider for my classroom and it cost me just under $30. Check out how I provide defined spaces with this DIY divider.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that I collect a commission, at no additional cost to you, should you choose to make a purchase.

If you're a special educator, you probably know how important it is to define spaces in your classroom and build spaces where students are able to work. You also know there are times when you have students who need some "alone time" and others want to see what's going on. I love using my rolling pocket chart to provide some privacy in the classroom, but I was seriously needing another room divider.
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