10 stress-busting tips for teachers

Sort out your priorities. Make a list of the things that are important to you and decide when you are going to give them some time. This is not just a work list: your family life, your interests are all part of your priorities.

Sort out your priorities. Make a list of the things that are important to you and decide when you are going to give them some time. This is not just a work list: your family life, your interests are all part of your priorities.

Tell people firmly and politely that you won’t have time or be able to do something at work. This could be your head of department, or it could even be your class. Both of them will respect you for telling the truth. Headteachers are not impressed by someone who just says “yes” all the time, they are just grateful that someone is willing to do extra work.

Put aside some time every week where you can just be yourself. You don’t have to do something active like go out for a run, (although that’s good to get the endorphins working which help to make you feel good.) You might like to meditate, read a book for an hour or simply just sit and stare.

Remember, you may enjoy it but school is work. It’s great to enjoy your job, which means that at first you won’t resent all the extra time you put into it. But if you keep on putting that extra effort in, you will start to resent it, and so will the people around you. Also if you put in lots of extra effort and don’t put anything back into you then that is when you are at risk of burning out. Your brain is like a bank; withdraw too much from it without making the odd deposit and you will feel a deficit.

 Swap your self-defeating internal script for a more positive one. You might say to yourself: “If I don’t get this marking done, I won’t be able to see my friends this weekend.” Instead you could say: “I’ll just finish this marking and then I’ll contact my friends.” Also if you have negative voices around you, take yourself away from them. People love to moan and sometimes we all need to let off steam but don’t surround yourself with the perpetual moaners in the staffroom; they will bring you down.

Live in the present moment, not the future. Anxiety about the future is one of the chief causes of stress. We can all spend hours worrying about what ifs; better to focus on the things you know are real and true not ones you cannot determine or influence.

Talk to people you trust about a particular situation or issue you are concerned with. There is almost always someone at work, it may be a teacher from another department, who will listen and give you some time, and will be on your side. Talking therapies are great if you can talk to the right sort of person. Often you don’t need advice, just someone to listen to you.

Step out of the victim mindset: it’s your responsibility to live your life and how you work as a teacher. Decide what your choices are; people who see themselves as victims think they have no choices. Everyone always has choices, however dire the situation may appear to be in your school at that time. The first thing you need to do to get out of the victim mindset is to change your thinking from: “It’s really unfair and I don’t have the time,” to, “What are my choices here?” It’s often as simple as that to make yourself feel better about things.

Don’t sweat about the small stuff. If the borders on your display are crooked – well so what? They won’t actually stop the children from learning. Time is precious in teaching so make use of all the resources and tools that you have available to you. Remember why you wanted to teach in the first place. Think back to your successes and the pupils you have had an impact on.

Steer clear of staffroom politics and gossip. It wastes time and is often negative and unproductive. Be your own judge of character.

Adopted from the Guardian

 

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