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March's Teacher Success Tips

Plan Spring Break, Focus on Student Mental Health, and Try New Things

(Psst, teachers! This is ONE MONTH in my popular 12-month series! See the whole series here and have an awesome year!)

Break up that LONG winter!

Teachers, let’s be honest. Spring (and Spring Break) can’t come soon enough! Long, dark nights, cold temperatures, and Daylight Savings time have thrown many of us (and our students) for a loop! It’s time to break up that long cold winter with some ideas to invigorate our education practice. Try these simple teacher tips for March, just in time for Spring Break and much-awaited SUNSHINE!

Make Plans for Spring Break – Seriously

I mean it! Having something to look forward to can take the edge off of the wonky month of March, and put an extra pep in your step. Choose to truly unplug from the job during Spring Break; turn off those email alerts on your phone. Set aside specific days when you won’t touch your school work. Even if you have to do some grading or planning over Break, make plans that force you to take a mental break from the job.

It’s no surprise to us that we are more productive and supportive of students when we have our batteries recharged. Take time to make those Spring Break plans now: book those hotels, rent those cars, purchase those flights. That way you have to follow through when Break arrives. No one ever regrets planning a vacation on they day they’re actually taking a trip! There’s a joke out there, funny or not: “What are the three best things about being a teacher? June, July and August.” I’d add that Spring Break makes #4. Use it wisely! After Spring Break, you’ll see why this is one of my favorite teacher tips for March!

Reflect on Students’ Emotional Health

The winter months are hard on everyone–including our students and their families. Educators have the distinct gift of being the first line of defense for many students, getting them the help they need to live happy, whole lives.

This month, spend a few minutes reflecting on every one of your students. Go down your entire roster, pause on each student’s name, and think about them. Picture them in your mind. Reflect on your last interaction with them.

How do they seem? Are they at peace? Troubled? Tired? Anxious? What is going well in their life? What might they need?

Use these reflections to identify how you can be a supportive adult in their life. Just as we need to take care of ourselves during these long dark months, they need us, too! Now’s a great time to stop and think about them. If you need to make a parent phone call, be sure to check out my never-fail phone call template to support teachers with successful calls – every time.

And it pains me to bring this up, but do you have a good read on the vaping epidemic in our country and schools? Be sure to read about Vaping At School and be sure you know what to look for!

Get Positive About Kids!

As you identify students who may need an uplift, get into action! I know a teacher who makes five positive phone calls home every Friday before leaving for the weekend. It sets the tone for a great weekend – for both the teacher AND the student!

Write positive notes to students. Give extra feedback on their work, focusing on what went well–not just how they might improve. Every student has so many positive traits; it can be easy to focus on areas for them to improve. Spend time this month uplifting students and highlighting all the great things you love about them. Are they a good friend? Great listener? Polite and easy to talk to? Is the student artistically or musically gifted? Do they have a great sense of humor or natural leadership skills?

Focusing on students’ strengths this time of year is a great way to slide into Spring Break and position everyone for a successful end-of-the-year.

Be Brave — Try Something New!

March is the time of year when many of us dust off old lesson plans and inch our way into a much-needed Spring Break. Challenge yourself to try something new! The week before Spring Break can, for some, be less than a great use of time. We are tired; students are tired! Infuse your instruction with a fun, high-engagement activity that you perhaps would otherwise omit.

Instead of phoning it in, consider low-prep, high-engagement ways to keep learning fresh this month. Is there an instructional strategy that you have always wanted to try? Is there a teacher’s classroom you’ve been meaning to visit on your prep? Do you know a student who has been itching to lead the group through an activity? Be brave and try something new! It is a great way to launch into Spring Break, on a high note of innovation and energy.

Get Silly!

One of my favorite teacher tips for March – students LOVE seeing their teacher and administrators get silly! This is a great time of year to do it. Dress up for Pi Day (March 14th) or Dr. Seuss’s Birthday (March 2nd). Choose a theme for your classroom this week and see if students can guess it. Teach your classes a dance, or better yet–let them teach YOU a dance! Have some fun this month, and shake off the doldrums of Old Man Winter. It’s a great way to launch into Spring and Spring Break!

What are some great teacher tips for March? Share them in the Comments below!

Take Care!

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