I enjoy running. During the autumn season, there’s nothing I love more than going on a brisk jog down some park trail. So naturally, it was only a matter of time until I started running marathons. Ask anyone who’s run one, and they’ll tell you that marathons are brutal but rewarding. By the end of the race, you’re sore, sweaty, and your energy levels have been completely depleted. At the same time, they’ll also tell you the sense of accomplishment was worth every punishing moment.

As the new academic year settles in, I’ve found myself thinking of marathons more and more. The harsh truth is that it’s very hard to be a teacher right now. Many students are still dealing with the lingering physical and emotional consequences of the pandemic. There are instructional gaps which still needs to be bridged, and political theater is getting in the way of true education. That’s not even touching the usual education hurdles like lesson planning, acquiring supplies, and connecting with students!

Education has turned into something of a marathon for teachers. The work is getting tougher, and the hours are getting longer, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. While I don’t have the answers to every problem facing schools right now, I can offer some helpful advice. It turns out that marathon and teaching have a lot in common. You just need to keep a few things in mind.

Check Your Gear

Running may not seem like a sport that requires a lot of equipment but looks can be deceiving. The right pair of shoes can make a huge difference when running a marathon. Likewise, the right learning tools can mean a world of difference to an overwhelmed educator. Take advantage of these free Strategy Explorations and Timely Topic lessons to give yourself some breathing room. They’ll do the heavy lifting so you can focus on doing what you do best—teaching!

Take Time to Rest

This may sound counterproductive, but it’s a big part of marathon training. If runners don’t take time to rest, they risk injuring themselves or succumbing to burnout later. Teachers also should set aside time each week to stop and refresh themselves. Step outdoors and spend some time in nature. Fix yourself a nutritious meal and take some time to meditate. By staying healthy and taking care of themselves, teachers can give themselves energy for the days ahead.

Remember That You’re Not Alone

Running does not have to be an individual sport. Many people choose to run together. This allows them to encourage one another, set a pace, and make plans for any upcoming challenges. Teaching does not have to be a one-person responsibility either. Reach out to your fellow educators for encouragement and support. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help and take the opportunity to recognize when they’re being awesome. As the old saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Plenty of challenges clutter the road ahead, but I’m confident that educators can meet the demands of this new school year. If we work together, take care of ourselves, and use the tools at our disposal, there’s no telling what we can accomplish. If marathons have taught me anything, it’s that no matter how difficult the process is, the sense of accomplishment is always worth it at the end. I’m sure many teachers would agree.

*Image courtesy of Prolineserver via Wikimedia Commons.

For more free educational resources, check out out these teacher-tested strategies from Blue Apple!