You've probably heard the advice put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. This is true both in airplanes and in classrooms--you have to take care of yourself before you can help someone else. If teachers are stressed out and exhausted, how can they have the patience, positive energy, and enthusiasm to provide the best instruction for students? Author Mike Anderson asked that question as a teacher himself, and the answers he found form the basis of The Well-Balanced Teacher. He found that teachers need to take care of themselves in five key areas to keep themselves in shape to care for their students.
In addition to paying proper attention to their basic needs for nutrition, hydration, sleep, exercise, and emotional and spiritual refreshment, teachers also need
Belonging: Teachers need to feel positive connections with other people, both in school and outside school.
Significance: Teachers want to know that they make a positive difference through the work they do.
Positive engagement: When teachers enjoy their work, they have great energy and passion for their teaching.
Balance: Healthy teachers set boundaries and create routines so that they can have rich lives both in the classroom and at home.
Anderson devotes a chapter to each of these needs, describing in frank detail his own struggles and offering a multitude of practical tips to help readers find solutions that will work for them. When teachers find ways to take care of their own needs, they will be healthier and happier, and they will have the positive energy and stamina needed to help their students learn and grow into healthy adults themselves.