We all have been there: a teacher bad day. The lesson flopped. You couldn’t get your unruly class in control. You yelled more than you wanted to. It felt like students were tuned out. You couldn’t seem to get through to them.
You go home and wonder why you teach. Hang on—don’t let a bad day get you down.
3 things to do when you have a bad teacher day
It can be hard to move past a bad day. Here are some of the ways I deal when I have a teacher bad day.
Shake off a teacher bad day
In the immortal words of Frozen, one of the best, but hardest, ways to deal with a bad day is simply to let it go. We all have our own ways to do that:
- Write it out in your journal.
- Watch your favorite comedy and let laughter do its magic.
- Hit the gym and sweat it off.
Wake up the next morning and tell yourself that it is a new day and you get a fresh start. Remind yourself that we all have bad days—and they aren’t all like that.
Be kind to yourself. There’s no need to beat yourself up. Try reframing negative thoughts. Instead of saying, “I’m a terrible teacher,” tell yourself, “That wasn’t my best day.”
Look for the good parts of the day. While you may be focused on how poorly you handled an incident with one student, don’t forget the breakthrough you had with another. Maybe your science lesson flopped, but your class was so excited about writing.
Positive thinking may not come naturally, but practicing a positive mindset can become a habit that helps you overcome teacher bad days and setbacks.
Learn from it
Often a bad teacher day happens because we make a mistake. Most of us try to create an environment where kids know it’s OK to make mistakes, where they can try things and not get it right, but we don’t extend that same belief to ourselves.
We need to do what we teach our students to do:
- Look at what you did.
- Look at what happened.
- Think about what you could do differently next time.
If you handled a situation poorly, what went wrong? What could you do differently next time? Did a lesson flop? Where did you lose the kids? How could you modify it? Did you just lose your cool because you are stressed or overtired? Go back to tip one and let it go—then practice some good teacher self-care and move on.
There’s no avoiding teacher bad days. We all have them from time to time, but we don’t have to get stuck in them.
What’s your go-to way to deal with a teacher bad day?
Your Teacher Bad Day Just Got Easier
Sometimes what you need on a bad day is to share it with somebody who gets it. Wish you had more support on the bad days?
The Top Notch Teaching Members Club includes support from a veteran teacher (that’s me!) and community connection with other new teachers. You also get tons of resources to make your day-to-day teaching life easier.