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How To Get Away With Teaching (with Caitlin Smith)

In this episode, I’m joined by special guest Caitlin Smith, the creator of How to Get Away With Teaching. As per usual, I met Caitlin via Instagram and we connected over teacher wellness and self-care. Caitlin and I are almost, kind of neighbors. She attended a university not too far from mine for undergrad and we both entered the teaching profession around the same time but it took social media to actually bring us together!

Now more than ever, teachers are wondering how they can thrive and create sustainability in a profession that demands more in the midst of shortages, unprecedented events, and toxic work cultures. Caitlin has some incredible insights into self-care for teachers and why it is critical for educators to prioritize themselves - whether that means setting boundaries, developing new systems, or evaluating if their current role is still the best fit. During our conversation, Caitlin and I discuss burnout, how teachers can become complicit in their own overwhelm, and the action you start taking today to “Get away with teaching”…and come out whole on the other side.

In this conversation Caitlin shares:

“Becoming a mom saved my life.”

Becoming a mom was a transformational experience for Caitlin. She shares how, when she became a mom, she had to unlearn many of the toxic teacher habits she had come to view as normal such as always putting her job and her students before he own needs. She explains how the reality of having someone in her life that truly depended on her made her realize that she had to unlearn and let go of the toxic narrative that “you cannot be present in the role you’re in” and that self-care and prioritizing your needs was selfish. Caitlin explains that “You’re going to burn yourself out if you don’t make yourself a priority like you do everyone else.” It takes finding your harmony in life and putting your priorities first and really getting clear on what your priorities are.

“We are chasing perfection even though it doesn’t exist.”

Many teachers go into the profession with toxic beliefs because of the way that society portrays what it looks like and means to be a good teacher. And this information that teachers are fed creates this mold of perfection, which ultimately doesn’t exist. Whether it be in movies, on social media, or in our own memories of teachers we’ve had, this constructed ideal of teaching put’s a lot of pressure on teachers to be something that just isn’t possible nor healthy and will eventually lead to burnout. For example, in the movie/documentary Waiting for Superman, the responsibility of fixing the broken public school system is put on the shoulders of its teachers rather than recognizing the variety of stakeholders that are also responsible for the success and culture of our schools. Teachers and society as a whole need to recognize that these constructed ideals are just that - constructed - and trying to live up to them is what’s creating this broken system that’s causing so many teachers to burn out and - for some - leave the profession entirely.

“Self-care is continuous…it’s taking the small, consistent shifts so you can see and become the best version of yourself.”

What is self-care? When most of us think about self-care practices, our minds wander to items of luxury, things we do just for us, or that make us feel good. Caitlin reminds us that we need to look beyond the commercialization of self-care to truly understand what self-care is and the purpose that it serves in supporting us in becoming the best and highest version of ourselves by asking ourselves, “What’s the intention behind this?” For example, maybe getting your nails done is more about having some time just to yourself, or taking that walk is about grounding yourself in the present. And once you establish the purpose and determine the why behind certain tasks, it makes it more imperative to make time for it consistently in your schedule. Self-care isn’t just a one-and-done sort of thing, it takes consistently making time to take care of yourself to see and become the best and highest version of yourself.

But there is so much that your body and mind need to become and stay whole, so where do you start? You start with determining the area you’re struggling with that will have the biggest impact on your entire life. Then, once you know that, you can determine your next best action steps. Looking for some help with this? Check out Caitlin’s subscription boxes. In them, you’ll not only get some goodies to treat yourself, but you’ll also get access to the Facebook community which features mental health masterclasses and wellness webinars. Click here to find out more and get order your subscription box!

“Educators can live more authentically by having the audacity to take care of themselves.” ~ Caitlin Smith

Resources Mention in This Episode

Connect with Caitlin!

About Caitlin:

Caitlin is an educator and entrepreneur with over a decade of teaching experience in public schools. In 2015, she created How To Get Away With Teaching, a blog where she discussed reflections on her experiences with teacher burnout. After having her daughter in 2019, she battled postpartum depression and knew something needed to change. Since then she has been dedicated to empowering educators to disrupt the toxicity of the education system by practicing radical self-care, prioritizing their own wellness, and raising mental health awareness in order to live authentically.


If you are enjoying the podcast, please do me a HUGE favor and rate, share, and subscribe to this podcast. My hope is that the experiences and gems shared on this show will inspire teachers to become better versions of themselves as they redefine what it means to teach well and prioritize themselves.

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