Help yourself and get support.
Are you a stressed out teacher or just looking for information about how to prevent teacher stress?
I used to be a Secondary school teacher, I started teaching with great optimism and really enjoyed teaching young people, however, after some time I contracted Acne Rosacea on my face (it has gone now) leaving me with spots all round my nose and cheeks that did not go away-which as you can imagine didn’t make me feel great!
I realized that this physical symptom was due to teaching. Cutting down on caffeine really helped the symptoms at the time.
With so many responsibilities in and out of the classroom a teacher these days really needs to manage stress on a day-to-day basis.
The following list includes some general Teacher tasks:
Discipline and classroom management
Marking homework/coursework/student assessment
Main sources of teacher stress:
Disruptive student behaviour
Assessment and changing responsibilities of the job.
Conflict in work relationships
Loss of confidence
Online abuse (such as being secretly filmed by a student)
Lack of support with paperwork, filling in forms etc
Uncertainty about job security
Physical symptoms getting in the way of the job (e.g. migraines)
Physical Symptoms of teacher stress are numerous and include:
‘Fight or flight’-adrenaline rush, increased sweating etc.
Digestive issues such as IBS
Loss of self-esteem
Addiction issues; includes alcohol, drugs and food.
Effects of Stress
It is really important to tackle stress, the long term consequences of stress are considerable, challenged long term mental, emotional and physical health are the result of neglecting yourself.
What are your symptoms of stress? Everyone is different, and responds to stress in a unique way.
Previously I was asked to ‘coach’ a group of teachers over a period of 6 weeks, one session a week.
The purpose of the coaching was to assist the teachers in handling stress and also improve their classroom performance.
Surprisingly one of the top issues that emerged from coaching teachers was their unresolved personal issues, once these personal issues were discussed and tackled, then teaching became much less stressful for them. (In the therapy sessions we contracted to switch from Coaching to Counselling)
The other top issue when coaching teacher’s -was coping with the amount of work that needed to be done.
How to help yourself:
Resolve personal issues.
Go to a qualified accredited therapist, (Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist) it is a strength to access support not a weakness.
Reflecting on yourself by keeping a journal- where you ‘keep in touch with yourself’, reflecting also on health, emotions and behaviour.
Help yourself by:
· Asking for help from management and colleagues regarding classroom issues.
· Accessing support from management to help with disruptive behaviour on the part of students.
· Being organised helps stress levels, you are more in control when you are prepared in the classroom, so, keep up with your lesson planning and marking.
· Keep up with your’ to do’ list and tick of the actions when done, it’s a great stress buster. Remember, however, we never really get to the end of a to do list because things keep being added to it, so be practical and only do what is possible within your energy and time.
· Take your mind off the problems that you face at school by an engrossing activity such as art/sport after work.
· Use your experience, common sense and humour in and out of the classroom
· Let go of worry-it makes things worse.
· Learn and practice anger management.
· Remember you are not perfect, say no sometimes and don't say yes to everything.
· Teacher stress often comes from feeling isolated-so seek support at these times.
· Reduce caffeine, alcohol, junk food and sugar.
· Exercise daily e.g. 30 mins (at least) a day.
· Reduce/cut out addictions such as smoking.
· Practice relaxation, listen to relaxing music.
· Daily meditation really helps calm the mind.
See Managing stress in the workplace for information on eating to avoid teacher stress
20 minutes breathing meditation, just lie down and relax...
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