A couple of years ago I was walking around school when I bumped into a colleague who also happened to have been my old English teacher. He asked how I was, and I replied by telling him all about my concerns over one of my students and what I was doing to try and help him on the right path, and how hard it was for him. He nodded and smiled and then said, “But I asked how are you. How are you doing?”. I thought for a moment and then answered pretty honestly about my stress levels and tried to smile through my list of wider school commitments. He smiled and said the following, proving to be just as wise now as when he taught me at 15:
You can’t do it all. Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.
It hit me hard. Because here’s the thing: I don’t believe you can last as a teacher in the current system if you don’t care deeply about students, but I also don’t think you can last as a teacher if you care at the expense of your own sanity.
The same rules apply for our relationships with everyone. Continue reading “First Apply Oxygen to Yourself – why we need to look after ourselves first.”