Recent surveys show a growing number of educators are feeling underprepared and stressed about their jobs. Around 60% report struggling with work-life balance, and half of the early-career teachers say they want more time for planning and extra work. Even so, 96% of teachers report still finding work rewarding.
As an educator, how can you minimise your stress, so you have more of a chance to enjoy the reward?
Sometimes as a teacher, your ability to work effectively is impacted by funding and policy decisions beyond your control. Fortunately though, there are still some great approaches you can try that will benefit your mental health and working life.
Take back control of your stress levels with these 6 tips for teachers under pressure!
1. Get to the heart of what’s stressing you out
As with anything, you can’t solve what you don’t understand! Writing a list of everything you feel is unmanageable can be a great way to identify what’s causing your stress. Put everything in two categories – what you can control, and what you can’t. Then you can get to work managing the stuff you can have an impact on.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
It may be a cliché, but clichés are often true. Teaching is full of many minor and major frustrations that can build up into a serious mental health situation. Practicing mindfulness, meditation, or just the simple act of ‘letting things go’ is an essential part of teaching life. Ask yourself, what is the worst possible outcome of any given situation? Prepare yourself for the worst, and the little irritations won’t seem so huge anymore.
3. Time management and planning tricks
There are plenty of teachers out there who have developed effective strategies for managing their time – and they’re sharing their tricks online! Check out this extensive list of time management resources from the Guardian Teacher Network Blog. It covers everything from weekly planners to sleep aids.
Plus, there are a lot of time management and planning apps out there, to help you with your day-to-day working life. Check out Lifehack’s list of ‘Top 18 Time Management Apps’, or have a look at these 14 teachers recommended management apps on TeachThought.
4. Begin your day in a peaceful way
Starting your day with enough time to have a coffee and sit quietly for a few minutes may sound like a difficult aim, but it’s well worth it, according to Jayne Morris. As a professional stress management expert, she should know!
5. Talk about it
Having someone to talk to about your pressures in the classroom is not just good for your mental health; it also helps you to figure out what issues you can manage. Chat with your partner, friends or colleagues. If you feel they are already overburdened or you need more professional support, don’t rule out going to see a counselor. Teachers feel the need to be strong, but we all need help sometimes!
6. It’s ok to ask for help and up-skill
Many early career teachers report feeling underprepared for the demands of the classroom. This is particularly the case for teachers who are supporting kids in the classroom who have diverse or specialised needs. If you’re in a situation that you’re not equipped to deal with, it’s important to acknowledge this is happening and to consider how you can acquire the skills you need.
Online courses can help you fill in your education gaps, and elder teachers are also an important resource. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help and advice!
Torrens runs a suite of short online courses designed for working teachers who need help with specific areas.