The pandemic we are living through is truly tragic.
My heart goes out to all who have lost someone dear to them - and to those fighting illness themselves.
Teachers are in uncharted territory too ..
Some are working remotely, getting used to technology they have never used before. Others are working in school, on the front line in the fight to keep our economies going and support other essential workers.
Many educators with children are also juggling their own kids at home while creating distance learning for their school students.
I don't know what your own personal experience is ..
.. but I want to help you come out of the pandemic with more choice - and a clearer idea of what you might do next.
Because if you went into this crisis unhappy with your working life, then returning to your classroom under the same conditions means that you are likely to remain so.
It is freeing to realise that the cloud of the current crisis has a silver lining ...
We all have an opportunity to rethink what our post-pandemic lives will be like.
So how can teachers best use our remaining time in lockdown? .. and what creative opportunities can we take advantage of?
Let's begin with the unique perspective the current situation gives us ..
1. Reflect On What You Really Want
One advantage of having to stop doing what we're doing, is the opportunity to reflect on how you feel - and consciously decide what you want to do next.
Often teachers don't get the time to do this. Workload expectations and the daily pressure to 'perform' can stop us from making longer term life-plans.
It can be liberating to ask what really makes you happy? What difference do you want to make in your life? .. and what could you change?
For some teachers this might mean renewed energy to find alternative employment, others might reconnect with education in a different way - while some might realise a dormant entrepreneurial opportunity.
Recognise that the situation we are in gives you an opportunity to ask these questions of yourself - and a unique perspective to realise more meaningful answers.
For teachers who might have previously thought "I can't change careers", or fear making the changes necessary to achieve different life goals ..
.. take the opportunity now (when you're afraid of something else) to ask these questions again.
You may find that you come up with different answers that offer new opportunity.
2. Start to Prepare Yourself For What Comes Next
Whatever you decide you want your post-pandemic life to be like ..
.. take advantage of the space you now have, and start making it happen.
- If you know you want a career change, take the time to conduct some research into the possibilities.
- If you have entrepreneurial aspirations - do some groundwork and start to dream big dreams.
Moving out of teaching is a process - one which you have the time and space to kickstart while the world is on pause.
Consider the abilities and qualities you have - and how else you might use them. The classroom is a great teacher - and you have valuable skills to take you into the next phase of your life.
If you are a teacher looking for alternative employment, start by reading 373 Fresh Alternatives for Teachers Tired of Their Classroom Job.
If you are enjoying working from home, and considering ways to create a home based income - check out point 5 below.
3. Strengthen Your own Coping Mechanisms
In an ideal world we would come out of this crisis with more than we came into it with .. and there is one area of our lives where this is definitely achievable.
If you are a teacher heading back into a high-pressure classroom job, or if you have been damaged by working in one .. one of the best opportunities for a happier life is to develop your ability to manage the stress you feel.
Because for each of us, the pressure we live under is a product of two things .. the external pressure of living our lives and our internal reactions to it.
The space many teachers have in lockdown gives us the opportunity to learn new coping strategies - and change our typical reaction to stressful situations.
What changed my life was learning a simple 5 minute mental exercise.
It helped me eliminate negative thought patterns which had plagued my life for years - and has created the space for me to think clearly about my future.
I am a much more resilient and happier person as a result.
I have prepared a short workshop of 3 emails to show you how to learn this.
Sign up to receive these by clicking the button below:
4. Learn New Skills
Alongside a re-evaluation of what your future life will be like, comes an opportunity to learn new skills in your time at home.
Many organisations, websites and courses exist online which offer these kinds of opportunities - many of them for free.
Self development is by its very nature, positive and creative .. and learning something new can be a good way to distract yourself from negative feelings you might be experiencing at this time.
Knowing that you are preparing yourself for a better future can be emotionally healing - as well as a highly practical way to influence your own future.
Look at the direction you want to go in and the passions you have - for guidance on what to learn .. and set aside some time to do it.
You will be amazed at the ground you can cover in small steps over time.
5. Start a Passion Project
It's not an accident that DIY stores and garden centres are busier than ever right now.
In the middle of a crisis which forces us to stay at home..
.. many people are taking the opportunity to rethink what their house and garden will look like.
But why stop at your house or garden?
If you take the idea of starting a Passion Project to the next level ... you can build the foundations of a life after teaching.
Because a Teaching based Passion Project can be fun to create and make you money too. And your classroom experience gives you the perfect start ..
Across the world adults are learning new things online - and there are a new breed of educators teaching them .. many have zero teaching experience.
When I first made an online course I was surprised at how straightforward the process was - and how effective my teaching was in comparison to others lacking my classroom knowledge.
If you're interested in how I earned over $70,000 in the last couple of years with my teaching based Passion Projects ..
If all else fails - don't underestimate the power of simply surviving each day ahead of you.
While 'survival' doesn't appear particularly creative, it is reality for many - and one which deserves mentioning here.
Because while it is admirable to aspire to use lockdown to realise some of your biggest goals ..
.. for many people, survival is their overriding focus.
It can be useful to reflect on your own situation using Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs, and recognise that while our safety and physiological needs are threatened - it can be impossible to try and focus on Self-Actualization.
For many people, our fear of the future forces us to operate at a level much lower down the hierarchy.
If you feel like this, you are not alone.
You cannot force your body or mind to live your highest purpose at a time when you are feeling something completely different.
If you need to, take each day as it comes and find small moments to smile in between.
Surviving our current situation physically and mentally is an achievement in itself and there is much to be gained by reflecting on how you feel and the reasons why.
I run a private Facebook Community which will connect you to other teachers feeling similar things.
I have found it to be a invaluable place to share how I feel - about the pandemic and my job - you can request membership here.
Whatever your personal experience of our current situation - and whatever you are feeling - stay safe.
In our world all things change, and this will pass too.
Much love from here,