The reality is that teaching is a demanding profession and managing stress is essential to keeping up with your work. Teachers are responsible for the academic and social-emotional well-being of their students, and they often have to deal with difficult behaviours, tight deadlines, and ever-changing expectations.
It’s therefore no wonder that teaching stress is such a popular phenomenon within the industry, with 75% of teachers having described themselves as being stressed.
Whilst this is a statistic that carries a great impact, teaching remains as one of the most rewarding and fulfilling job roles you will find. There are also a number of simple things that you can do to make your life easier and manage teaching stress when times get tough.
1. Talk to Your Colleagues to Manage Teaching Stress
When you’re feeling anxious because of teaching stress, it is nearly always helpful to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through. Firstly, speaking to colleagues will also undoubtedly make you feel less alone and sometimes all you need is for someone to provide a listening ear.
Secondly, your colleagues are a great resource for support and they may be able to offer advice from first-hand experience on how to better manage a situation. They may be able to provide practical help such as covering your class or helping you with workload. The chances are that someone at your school has dealt with the same problem you are facing.
Using your colleagues to support your work highlights the importance of building meaningful relationships from the beginning of your employment. You should always try to build a network of friends that you can trust and who will respect your confidentiality. Knowing that you both have someone to talk to during tough times can be a fantastic support and is integral to managing teaching stress for everyone.
2. Reduce Your Take-Home Work
It’s important to set boundaries between your work life and your personal life. Try not to bring work home with you every night and ensure you focus on relaxing and enjoying your free time instead. Whilst this is probably not possible all the time, attempt to keep at least two evenings completely work free. Plan ahead and set aside specific times during the week to work on lesson plans, grading, and other tasks. This prevents you from feeling completely overwhelmed and is an effective way to manage teaching stress.
One way to reduce your take-home work is to plan engaging, practical lessons where students can showcase their work. This cuts down on the marking you need to do – a task that very often gets done at home. Another option is to get students involved in how the lessons are taught. Give them 2-3 realistic options and let them choose how and what they want to learn – all within reason of course. This means less thinking and planning is done on your own and your students will get the most from the lessons.
3. Become Aware of Your Triggers
What are the things that tend to stress you out the most? Once you know your triggers, you can start to develop strategies for coping with them to help manage teaching stress. For example, if you find that you get stressed out when you have too much to do, you can start breaking down your tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. Remember, it’s also OK to say no to additional commitments.
This process will be a case of trial and error. When a trigger occurs, try out a technique and see if it’s effective – you can always try something different next time if it doesn’t work.
Another way to become aware of your triggers is to pay attention to your body. You may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, or stomach aches when you’re feeling stressed. Once you know what your triggers are, you can start to develop coping mechanisms for dealing with them to reduce any physical discomfort.
4. Plan Your Evenings
When you have a plan for your evenings, you’re more likely to be able to manage your teaching stress more effectively. Make sure to schedule in time for activities that you enjoy and always make the effort to spend time with friends and family. Taking some time for yourself each evening will help you relax and de-stress.
It’s also very important to get enough sleep. The simple truth is that you’re better able to manage stress when you’re well-rested. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and try to get into a routine – and stick to it!
Essential Teaching Support
If you’re looking for ways to manage stress, LTF Recruitment has a wide range of wider learning courses available, including those to help support mental health. These resources can be an essential support when you need it most and will help to make your teaching career more enjoyable.
Alternatively, sometimes the best option is to look for a different position altogether. LTF are always on hand to help when a career change is needed and you can find a huge range of teaching positions available on our vacancies page. Simply upload your CV today to get started.
Contact LTF Recruitment today to find out more about how we can support you in helping to manage stress in your teaching career.