|Advice for Overworked Teachers: How to Get Relief During the School Year|
|posted by: Alana | November 21, 2016, 09:39 PM|
Teachers are asked to do a lot, often with very little. You aren’t simply an educator. At any given time during a day in the classroom, you’ll be asked to play the role of parent, mentor, friend, disciplinarian, and more...and that’s all while working to ensure your overcrowded classroom of students meets their ever-changing testing requirements.
This clash of responsibilities and the fact that teachers must work long hours, adds up to a lot of stress. So, what can you do to get a little relief during the school year? Here are a few suggestions:
Meditate. Meditation helps strengthen your mind-body connection, helping to reduce stress while boosting creativity and problem-solving skills. Of course, you’re probably wondering how to schedule yet another activity into an already action-packed day. The good news is you don’t have to meditate for very long to see benefits. Five to 10 minutes will do the trick, at least while you’re getting used to making meditation a part of every day. So, consider finding a quiet place to meditate before heading to school each morning or make time for it during your planning period. It will be time well-spent.
Schedule some “you” time. Do something you love. Go for a hike. Get a massage. Go for a meal at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. And if you don’t like the idea of going solo, bring your four-legged friend along. Because we’re all obsessed with our pets, many restaurants today are dog-friendly.
Whether you work on a favorite hobby or get out for a good meal, the time you spend away from your classroom responsibilities will be healing. While it may be hard to pull yourself away from a packed to do list, the “you” time you spend will actually help you avoid burn out so that you tackle your tasks more efficiently.
Make time for outdoor exercise. Making time for an outdoor workout can be difficult, especially during the winter months, but it is well worth it. In addition to the general physical health benefits that come with exercise, getting outside will help you soak in some vitamin D, which helps reduce depression and improve mood. If outdoor exercise after school is out of the question, try to take your class outside once a week for an active lesson. Doing so will get you all moving and the time out of the classroom will likely be rejuvenating for everyone.
Say “no.” Learning when to say “no” is probably one of the most difficult lessons for teachers to learn. No one understands the needs of other teachers and their schools better than teachers themselves, so when a colleague needs a favor or the principal asks you to head up a new committee, it often feels easier to take on the extra burden than to say no and feel the guilt that comes with it. But chances are you probably have an ever-growing to do list of items you already need to get to and taking on an extra task will only make you feel more stressed and helpless. Instead learn how to politely say “no” to additional strains on your time and resources.
No matter how stressed you are or how overworked you are, teaching is your passion. After all, that’s why all those things that are stressing you out matter so much to you in the first place. But even our passions can overwhelm us from time to time. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself so that you can be the best teacher possible for your students.
What do YOU do to minimize stress in the classroom?
Tell us in the comments below!