I had been trying for year, sometimes successfully and other times not so much, to become more of a morning person. I live in a beautiful part of the world, with lots of peace and quiet, and a short walk from the beach – I really have no excuse to not enjoy the morning! Mornings to me represent starting well. If I start the day well, eat a nutritious breakfast and have some time to myself, then the rest of the day tends to flow quite nicely.
I noticed the importance of my morning ritual, when I first started in my teaching career. For many years, I would go to bed late (due to marking), get up early and skip breakfast. By the time I arrived at school, I was rushed, unprepared, hungry and caffeine overloaded. I hadn’t even started the day and I’d be feeling stressed and desperate for a break.
It wasn’t until recently that I began to seriously look at and approach my morning routine strategically. One morning, when I was tired of being tired, I decide to write down everything that I did that morning.
My aim was to see where my time was being spent and what I could do better. This exercise was confronting and immediately highlighted areas that I could improve on.
Below are a few suggestions (in no particular order) of how I re-engineered my morning schedule:
Each morning I try to have time to myself, to think and reflect about the day ahead of me. It’s a great way to push pause and clear your mind of the clutter and stress buzzing around in there.
Each morning I try to exercise (either got to the gym or go for a walk). It helps me to focus and feel energised for the coming day.
Each morning I try to eat a wholesome and nutritious breakfast. Proper nutrition helps to keep you focused until recess. I tend not to eat breakfast at home because I leave quite early in the morning. Instead I keep a bag of oats at school.
Each morning I try to plan and prepare for the next day. Things in school change quickly; someone is sick, the photocopier breaks, or a myriad of other tings can happen. By planning ahead I can have contingency plans and remain flexible if I need to.
Starting the day feeling refreshed, well nourished and focused can have great positive effects on your teaching day. Remember if you don’t look after yourself you will not bring your best into the classroom.
Even if you’re a night owl, you can still benefit from doing mornings well. Your morning ritual can change your whole day, if you get a little deliberate about it.