In the Trenches? What You Can Do to Pull Yourself Out!

Dana GoodierBlog, Manage Better, Self Care Better


  • Summer gave us opportunities to learn and prepare, but plans changed for some. At this time in the year, teachers are stressed out.
  • Dana Goodier has a new podcast, Out of the Trenches, where she speaks to guests about how they manage difficult situations with resiliency.
  • 30-day challenge: Take care of yourself by taking breaks, do things for yourself, or decompress from anything education-related.

My name is Dana Goodier and I am thrilled to be a guest blogger for the Teach Better Team. I have 20 years of experience, both as a high-school and middle-school teacher, and most recently, as a middle school administrator. My goal is to provide insightful blog posts that will inspire and lift you up. I will also give you tips, tools, and suggestions.

As I write this, most of us are in our 2nd or 3rd month of online or hybrid teaching. For many, plans were laid out with a little more preparation than during “pandemic remote emergency teaching” in March. Even still, many of us had little warning before school started. The actual learning model and for how long came with little notice.

Summer Learning

Many educators spent the summer months preparing for what classes would look like in the fall. Then they had to revise their plans when their districts decided on a different learning model than what was expected. I, for one, used much of the summer to participate in professional development opportunities like online conferences, book clubs, and webinars. I’m fortunate enough that my district also had many PD offerings on tech tools for remote teaching, catered towards teachers at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.

I hope we can take breaks from work, do things for ourselves, and decompress from anything education-related. Click To Tweet

However you spent your “time off,” you probably didn’t get much time to yourself, especially if your family didn’t travel anywhere, or did travel but locally. I imagine this year feels like your first year teaching, even if you have 26 years “under your belt.” I can also imagine you feel like you’re under the constant scrutiny of your students’ parents and district decision-makers, even though none of this is really your fault.

Teacher Stress

Now is a time ripe for burn-out. We see it everywhere. It’s the teachers who are working 7+ hours a day teaching online classes and then tutoring “pandemic pod” students for some extra cash. Also, it’s the ones who are teaching in-person, a mix of hybrid, or fully remote. Maybe it is people who lack childcare for their preschooler and are teaching from home while trying to keep their own child busy. We have never before seen so many demands put upon teachers. Many were stressed-out with the “normal” demands of a career in education WAY before the pandemic swept over our country.

In the Trenches

We call a situation in which some people feel they are unable to crawl out, “in the trenches.” This often has a negative connotation. There are others who regard this phrase as something positive. They feel like they are always in the trenches when working with students and learning how to best support them. No matter how you interpret “in the trenches,” especially if you’re aching to find a way out, listen to my new podcast, Out of the Trenches. I interviewed several educational thought leaders, several of whom are also guest bloggers and podcast hosts for Teach Better Team. My goal is to give listeners some insight into how they managed to get out of a difficult situation and how they taught and led with resiliency.

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Time for Self

As the months go on, my hope is that we become more “used to” our current teaching model. I hope we can take breaks from work, do things for ourselves, and decompress from anything education-related. For some, decompressing may be listening to podcasts while running or journaling about experiences we learned from. For example, I used a leadership journal. Perhaps you could use a gratitude journal to record 3 things to be grateful for every day.

30-Day Challenge

Will you take this challenge with me and commit to taking some time for yourself every day? Try it for 30 days. Re-evaluate your state of stress and, as needed, adjust the time spent on the activity or decompression.

About Dana Goodier

Dr. Dana Goodier has 20 years of experience in education. She has taught World Languages and English and worked as a middle school administrator. She completed her doctorate degree (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership early 2020. For her dissertation, she researched reasons parents were opting their students out of high-stakes testing at middle schools and how that affected the district accreditation rating. She often speaks at conferences, providing educators with techniques to minimize off-task behavior and to increase time on task. She is the host of the “Out of the Trenches” podcast, which features educators who share their stories of resiliency. Follow her on Twitter @danagoodier and visit her website at: