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Local educator shares self-care tips for teachers

A local educator shares tips on ways teachers can balance their personal and professional lives this school year.

WASHINGTON -- As teachers prepare for a new school year, a local educator is reminding teachers about the importance of self-care.

Cortland Jones has worked for the Prince George’s County Public School System (PGCPS) for 26 years and loves it. He is a graphic design teacher at Greenbelt Middle School.

Even though classes do not start for Maryland students until after Labor Day, he admits this time of year can be overwhelming for teachers who want to make sure their classrooms are ready.

“It’s an exciting time, and I think there’s a little nervousness as well,” said Jones, when asked to describe what preparations are like for the new school year.

“I think for teachers, you’re looking forward to working with the kids and seeing new kids who are coming into your classroom, but at the same time there’s that little apprehension of just making sure everything goes well.”

To minimize the stress, Jones reminds teachers, parents and students to believe in themselves and be confident that they have what it takes to be successful during the school year.

Journaling helps Jones. He loves to write and is an advocate for reflection on experiences from the day. He believes lessons can be learned from them. Jones also spends a lot of time with his family when he is not working on his second book.

“I’ve gotten involved in activities that make me feel fulfilled outside of the classroom,” said Jones, who is happy with the balance he has created for his life. He wants others to feel the same.

When the school year picks up, it can be hard for educators to find time for themselves but Jones said there are two things that can help.

“Professionally, just maintaining that meditation throughout the day,” he said. “ Asking yourself, ‘how am I doing working with the kids and what do I need to do to make sure we’re on pace with what we’re trying to accomplish.”

“On a personal level, ‘what am I doing to take care of myself,’” said Jones, who suggested the following on proper self-care: reflect on your workday, get involved in physical activities, have a hobby outside of work and join support groups.