Overworked and Undermotivated at the End of the Summer


No longer in the distance, the first day of school is approaching on the horizon and quick.


Two weeks ago it felt like there was an infinite amount of time to complete my summer "tasks" and still have time to relax and get ready for school.


But I feel the days creeping up on me and instead of feeling inspired and motivated, I'm treading water with my feet stuck in quicksand.


The feeling of being stuck is overwhelming.


However, instead of freaking out, I'm allowing myself to take a break because I know it will work out.


As teachers, we always have a lot going on. Being an educator demands a tremendous level of commitment and energy and if you want to do it well, it takes your soul; so we need to know ourselves and take the time to nurture our needs.


Here are some tips on how to get the most out of dwindling "off" time before school:

  • Take an inventory of the tasks that need to be done. 

  • Try to assess how long the tasks require - be generous with the estimation

  • Know the end goals or the big picture and plan backward

  • Make a schedule, but don't get upset if you can't adhere to it all of the time

  • Schedule time for fun and relaxation

  • From time to time say "yes" to something unexpected to break the monotony

  • Celebrate when goals are accomplished

  • Take breaks often so you don't get stale

  • Make time for family amid the work

  • Plan to get back into your classroom before the school year starts

  • Get lots of sleep

  • Eat right and drink lots of water

  • Slow down

  • Reassess the inventory as you go to check the progress

  • Cross items off your list when you complete them

Ultimately before the summer "break" ends, we need to make sure that other jobs and tasks are completed, but we are going to need to find my inspiration before then especially since these are unprecedented times we return to.


In my new position as a consultant and a publisher, my time isn't as structured as it was when I worked in the classroom. I do my best to create schedules and adhere to them, but my body still hasn't adapted to the shift. We've been working around the clock since the pandemic started to reimagine our roles and our company and although I don't have the evident anxiety of potentially returning to an unsafe environment in uncertain times, I'm supporting those who do.


What inspires you when you're in a rut? Please share. It's greatly appreciated.


This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog in August 2015. It has been modified.

©2018 BY STARR SACKSTEIN -  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED