Teaching goes hand in hand with being a tad stressed. The sheer workload is enough to drive even the most organised a teeny bit crazy.
Ok, so I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know. Hopefully, you won’t mind me pointing it out. Hey, maybe you’ll even be grateful for the reminder so you can re-focus on your prime goal of helping your class to learn and grow.
As a teacher, you can’t prevent stress, but you can manage it. These 20 simple tips and tricks will help you stay focused and keep the stress levels manageable.
Keep a little box hidden in your classroom of items that will give you a boost. Your favourite family photographs, a packet of sweets or notes from the kids to remind of why you got into the job. Great for delving into when the going gets tough.
Wear comfortable clothing. It’s hard to be your usual awesome self when you’re feeling restricted by tight fitting clothes or have blisters from ill-fitting shoes. Being comfy will relax you and put you at ease.
Take advantage of the staffroom, that’s what it’s there for. A small oasis of calm and sanctuary away from the classroom; even if it’s only for a few minutes. Leave things in there that will encourage you to switch off for a moment: magazines, books, some music perhaps?
Get up 10 minutes earlier than normal, it might be a struggle, but you’ll thank yourself when you’re not rushing.
Rest if you’re ill. Remember: your health is more important and don’t risk making matters worse. If taking time off from your class is difficult, consider having folder with emergency lesson plans, activities and class information to hand to a supply teacher.
Make full use of the resources available. Don’t think that everything has to be done from scratch. Got a lesson or resource that worked well another year? Then re-use it. Consider setting up a lesson-plan exchange with fellow teachers to share ideas and save on planning time.
Prepare for the next day the night before. It’s an easy habit to form and you’ll thank yourself when you wake up and have clothes ready and lunch prepared.
Manage Your Time effectively. Planning the hours in your day will help you effectively accomplish your goals. Find some great time management tips for teachers here.
Indulge in a little physical activity. Step outside, a change of scenery; even for a few minutes can work wonders for your attitude. Join in with the kids games at playtime, they’ll love you for it and you’ll feel a whole lot better for shaking off the classroom vibes.
Don’t worry about the small stuff. Focus on solving the issues that stop your class from learning rather than the things that are bothering you. If your display border is shabby or your cupboard needs a good sort out they can wait. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.
Learn to say no. Whether it’s to your SLT asking, or your mates dragging you out for a sneaky drink, if you can’t do it (physically or emotionally) then say no firmly and stick to your guns.
Be prepared. Organisation is a huge stress buster and a great timesaver. Find our favourite organisational hacks for teachers’ here.
Talk to someone. Even if you think it’s something minor, chatting about your worries can really help. Problems always seem much simpler once you’ve said them out loud and talked them through. Chances are, the person you talk to has been there and can help.
Whether your technique of choice is reading a book, going on a bike ride or watching a movie. Making time for ‘me time’ is essential! Don’t leave it on the bottom of your to-do list. Switch off your phone or laptop and take some time to recharge.
Prioritise. Accept that there will always be something to do. Work smarter, not harder, Keep lists of important tasks and goals. Your memory can struggle when you’re stressed so writing things down is hugely beneficial.
Make technology your friend. There are oodles of apps to help you out as a teacher. Whether it’s a stress-busting app like Headspace or an organisational app like Evernote putting technology to work for you can really help out.
Avoid the negative gossip. Most schools have dramas at some point. Staying out of the school politics and negative discussions can make a big difference to your mind-set. Remember that other people’s negativity isn’t worth worrying about.
Treat yourself! You work your backside off so if you feel like a spot of shopping, a massage or the cream and marshmallows with your hot chocolate, then do it. Don’t deny yourself or feel guilty when you’ve worked so hard.
Think positive. Set small achievable goals so you don’t get over-whelmed. Try to focus on the things you can control. If something goes wrong remember you’ve overcome challenges before and put it down as a learning experience.
Finally, just breathe. In a crisis or overwhelming moment, take a few deep breaths; the extra oxygen allows the brain cells to function more effectively. You’ll be able to re-focus and take control of the situation much easier.