4 Calm tips for stressed teachers
67% of teachers are stressed at work. If you’re a teacher, this statistic may not surprise you; in fact, you may be wondering how 33% of teachers manage to remain so zen.
Stress in the teaching profession is so commonplace that it's easy to accept it as normal, but there are things you can do to reduce the pressure and make sure you’re providing high standards of education and support to your pupils without burning yourself out.
Manage your workload
Another statistic: the average teaching week, including lesson-planning, marking, assessments, and extra-curricular activities, is 54.5 hours. Ofsted recognises the need to reduce teachers’ workloads, as does the Department for Education, which has released a workload reduction toolkit and published advice on the subject.
One thing that can help is prioritisation—which sounds easy but can seem impossible when juggling unexpected changes and the often surprising and urgent needs of hundreds of kids. Important tasks and projects can slide down the to-do list ad infinitum. Keep a working document of urgent tasks and quick wins as well as tasks that may take longer, crossing off activities and re-prioritising as you go.
This is unlikely to work perfectly—and accepting that is another way to reduce stress. Researcher Brené Brown has found that many stressed people feel they’re never achieving enough. If you relate to this, remind yourself that you are just one human and that you are doing your best. When you struggle with perfectionism, it’s easy to catastrophise small mistakes, which is likely to lead to burnout.
Managing and teaching disruptive students can be incredibly stressful. If you’re feeling as if nothing is working, read up on the latest behavioural management techniques.
Using a calm but assertive voice, establishing routines and reinforcing positive behaviour can be effective for kids of all ages. Students can mirror the behaviour and standards you set. If you set a standard of respect and positivity in your classroom, you’re likely to find they respond positively, which in turn will lower your stress.
Teaching is more than a job, and it’s natural to want to do your best when children’s futures are in your hands. But that’s precisely why it’s such a bad idea to take too much of your work home.
To look after others effectively, you need to look after yourself first—this will not only make you happier, but also make you a better teacher. Consider your favourite teachers in childhood: when you have the energy to find genuine joy in your work, students can tell.
Practising mindfulness meditation after work can be a great stress-reliever, and making time for a hobby like yoga, sports or art can also help. Make sure to follow Vetro on social media, as we run FREE online mediation workshops and currently for the month of April are sharing Osk yoga & wellbeing's FREE on demand Yoga Nidra. Click here to listen whenever you need to.
Ask for help
Asking for help in solving a problem is just as important for teachers as it is for pupils. If you’re struggling with workload, the best option is to talk to a senior authority and discuss how much it’s reasonable for you to do. If that’s not possible, talk to your colleagues. They may be able to help with some of your responsibilities or suggest workload management strategies you haven’t thought of—and even if not, just having someone to talk to about your stress can work wonders in reducing it.
Find a job you love with Vetro. No matter how challenging teaching can be, it’s one of the most rewarding jobs on earth. Vetro offers a wide range of opportunities for teachers. If you’d appreciate some expert advice on your next career move, get in touch with us today.
Check out why Julie Morse a Supply Teacher joined Vetro Click here to watch.