This is my sixth year of teaching. And every year, it never fails, I always feel like my mind is spinning. It can be a very stressful job. Lots of changes for teachers. Lots of new acronyms to learn. And, lots of things to keep up with. Here are a few tips on handling teacher stress and to keep yourself happy! (Keep in mind, these are just my ideas, and I am merely a teacher trying to better herself. My tips may not work for you, but they’re working for me so far.)
First, you have to start by putting it in your mind that you will devote yourself to being stress-free. Yes, teaching never stops. Teaching always piles on work for us to do, but we have to make sure that we are humans living our lives, not simply teachers working 12 hours a day (plus weekends). Stress-free won’t happen unless you truly work for it!
Find a way that works for you. Here are some ways that help me.-Copies made before Friday afternoon for the following week.-Binders to keep all papers organized.-Lesson plans are written by Friday, so you have the weekend to attempt to live school-free.-Organize papers by day- buy an organizer at Walmart and sort papers by M, T, W, Th, and F!
Calendars and to-do lists are necessities as teachers. I’m sure you already have one, but try to be even more intentional about writing down what needs to get done (in order of importance).
Make it better: Make it colorful! Use Flair pens, which always make a teacher happy.
Make it even better: Add things to it that you know you’ll easily get done that day, so you feel a sense of accomplishment when you can check it off!
Remember you Deserve a Life
In my first year of teaching, my daily ‘leaving’ time was usually 7 p.m., and I’d pack up a bag and take it all home. This year, even at a new school, I’m allowing myself to stay late one night only. The other days (unless there is a meeting), I try to get out by 4:00. It reminds me I do have a life outside of school. I can work out, shower, and get dinner finished by 7:00! More time in the evening to myself.
Most of the time, your administration and the people you work with do want to help you! If not, find a community of teacher friends outside of your school and ask for help or guidance. And trust me, there are thousands of teacher bloggers who would LOVE to help you!
Take a Break from Technology
Give yourself at least one day a month where you unplug from all electronics. Spend the day without Facebook, Instagram, TV, etc. Get outside, enjoy your family and friends, or just enjoy yourself. Shop. Get a massage. Sit on a bench and enjoy the weather. Sit in a coffee shop and read a real book!
Handling Teacher Stress with a Personal Day
Don’t feel guilty. Take one (when you don’t have any meetings) and don’t do anything. Enjoy yourself. And truly, truly make it a mental health day. Heal yourself.
Meal-Prep for Healthy Eating
Teaching takes up a lot of time. This doesn’t mean you should be eating Jimmy Johns, McDonald’s, and Chipotle every night. Be good to your body. In 30 years, you’ll retire, and teaching will be over. Your health and body will be yours forever. Treat it right. Something that I do… cook your dinners and pack your lunches on Sunday for the entire week. This will prevent McDonald’s drive-thrus at the last minute because you’re too busy to cook.
We all know. Teachers don’t have ANY time to pee, so if you don’t have someone in the building who can easily help you out on a moment’s notice… then you have to wait. Your body needs water. It will prevent sickness, and it will make you feel better in the long run. But don’t load up until after 2:00 because if you can’t leave your classroom and you have to pee, you may end up with a bigger issue!
Sometimes, you just need a nothing day. This could double as your mental health day, or you could give yourself one day or night a week where you do absolutely nothing.
Get to a gym or get outside. Either way, get some exercise. It makes you happier. And it makes you feel more accomplished. And of course, it keeps you healthy. It’s a win-win!
Read a Book Just for Fun
The administration is always giving us educational books to read. We, ourselves, are always finding new articles and books to read about new ways of teaching. But, you have to let yourself spend time reading for pleasure. I suggest books that are on the best-sellers lists and also books that require no thinking at all!
Handling Teacher Stress with Plenty of Sleep
It’s clinically proven. Adding an extra hour to your sleep can greatly improve your health. Set an earlier bedtime and make sure you are true to it. Turn off the TV, close the laptop, put away the papers you’re grading. You need your sleep.
No matter what… we are teachers. This is our job. We chose this job because we wanted to make a difference in at least one child’s life. If you are tired, stressed, worn out, or overwhelmed, you likely won’t be giving your kids your best. You only get them for seven hours a day. Try to make those seven hours count. And I’ll leave you with this…..Work SMARTER, not harder. Find a way that you can do your very best in the classroom while still taking care of yourself.
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