Thursday, 27 March 2014

Health Tips for Preschool Teachers

Anyone who has spent time in a room with a bunch of young children will know what it’s like to regularly come down with colds, coughs, runny noses and the like. The thing is that young kids are prone to catching all kinds of infections because their immune systems are still to develop. As an adult you have a greater resistance, but when in a room with kids who may be coming down with something, it’s easy for you to fall sick too. Being a preschool teacher is a great job, but it requires a great deal of energy to keep up with the kids as well as patience in dealing with them. Neither of these is easy and when you are not feeling well, it can be almost impossible.

The experienced preschool teacher knows that taking a little extra trouble every day to keep illness away is something that is well worth the effort. Not only does it make the day more enjoyable and keep you feeling good, it makes you a better teacher. A teacher who is healthy and happy gives off a positive aura that fosters a stronger connection with the children in her care. Here are a few tips on what you can do to stay healthy.
  • Make sure you get your Flu shot every year. Without this you are liable to come down with it each time one of your students contracts it.
  • At the end of each day – or at the beginning if that is easier for you - use Lysol or some other disinfectant to wipe down the tables, chairs, door knobs and other surfaces that the children are constantly touching.
  • Use alcohol wipes to wipe off the telephone and computer keyboard and other places were dirt and grime collect but where liquids or dampness could damage the equipment.
  • Young kids think nothing of coughing all over the place. At best they may cough into their hands. Teach them to cough into their bent elbows instead of the hands. This will reduce the chances of germs being transmitted by touch.
  • Have your own tissue box and keep it in a place where the children can’t get hold of it. Make sure you never use the same box as the kids do.
  • Always carry your own pencils, crayons, scissors etc. with you. If need be, wear an apron or other garment that has enough pocket space. This will allow you to avoid touching these things that are used by the children and could be full of germs.
  • It sound next to impossible, but try to avoid touching your face while in school. Especially do not rub your eyes or nose. It will take time to get out of the face touching habit, but when you do you will have reduced your chances of getting sick significantly.
  • As soon as you get home, wash your hands up to the elbows using a lot of soap. Do it like the doctors do – this is how they get rid of germs.
  • Change your clothes when you enter your house. This will prevent the germs in your clothing from spreading through the home.
  • Drink plenty of water. Being well hydrated helps your body to fight off disease.
Some of the ideas suggested here may seem a little extreme to you but if you try them for a while you will see that the frequent bouts of illness that you suffered from before will have reduced considerably. Remember that you are staying healthy not just for your own sake but for the children too.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Time Management for Teachers

You wouldn't be an early childhood education professional if you didn't love the work and spending time with young children. But sooner or later, every teacher starts to feel overwhelmed by the demands that are placed on him or her. If it happens early in the career, the teacher may give up and quit the profession. If it happens later on, the teacher could lose interest and early childhood education becomes just another run of the mill boring job. Either way, it’s not the way to build a career and get the most out of this rewarding vocation. It’s easy to say you should cut back and not take on more than you can comfortably handle. But we know it doesn't work that way. Too much work and not enough time is part of a teacher’s life. 
So if you can’t really reduce your work load, the other option is to manage your time better. You’ll be surprised at how much more you can do with a little organization and focus. Here are some ideas on how to manage your time better:
  • Keep a log of how much time you spend on different activities each working day – home, school, commuting, shopping, chores at home, exercising etc. Do this for a week. This will tell you how balanced your life is.
  • Like most teachers you probably don’t have enough “me” time. Try to rearrange what you can to create time for yourself. What about commuting? That’s time to yourself that you should make the most of.
  • Start using Post-its, or a planner to note down all the things you need to do. Use different colors to denote priorities. Tick off the jobs as they get done. Seeing the size of the list shrinking will give you a feeling of achievement and energize you. Be ruthless in allocating priorities. It’s easy to label everything as Important or Most Important. But that defeats the whole purpose of prioritization.
  • Accept the fact that you are not perfect and that you can’t be a perfectionist in everything. Some things can be left at being ‘good enough.’
  • Set targets that are achievable, not ideal. The target must have defined parameters in terms of quality, time and volume of work.
  • Everyone has a time of day that they feel the most energetic and empowered. Find out yours and try to do as much of the important or hard work as possible during that time.
  • Do not be afraid to reward yourself when you feel you have earned it. You have.
  • Talk to other teachers or even those in other jobs and find out how they manage their time. You never know the kind of valuable tips you can pick up.
  • Keep an eye on your health at all times. It’s easy to put off going to a doctor for a minor ailment, but when it becomes more serious and you are stuck in bed for a few days or more, all your plans go down the drain. Make sure you get enough exercise. Remember that the best of plan and intentions mean nothing if your body is going to let you down.
  • And finally, keep in mind that you cannot do everything. There are times when you will have to say ‘No.’ It’s not an easy thing to do but unless you learn the art of doing it with politeness and tact, the load on you will only increase and every aspect of your life will suffer.
If time management is able to ease the pressure on you, do not make the mistake of letting yourself be burdened by even more responsibilities. You need your “me” time and your relaxation. It’s what gives you the energy and patience you need to teach young children.