Are you tired of hearing things like “My dog ate my homework,” or “Can I turn this in tomorrow?” These and similar excuses/questions are just part of a teacher’s workday, no matter how much they’d wish it wouldn’t be. Teaching is a stressful gig, and while some people might think you have it easy (it’s 9 to 4 and you get summers off!), it’s a lot more than what it seems. Not only are there the students, but you’ve got parents, coworkers, endless mountains of paper, and stacks of lesson plans that won’t write themselves. How on earth are you supposed to stay stress-free in the classroom?
Here are five quick ways to manage the manic.
1. Make time for ‘me time’ and stick to it
That old kayak in the back of the garage is dying to get out on the water again. Never mind its hurt feelings from sequestering it in the dust and dark for years, it’s there now – you just need to commit. Make sure you cordon off two or three hours a week at the very least to do something just for yourself. It helps reset your brain and reminds you of those other passions you have in life.
2. Keep a gratitude journal
We’ve heard it before. Write down the things you’re thankful for each day and reflect on them, but there’s truth to this. Being able to find the positive no matter what the chaos is in the classroom or life has serious payout. Once you get in the habit, you’ll find yourself turning nearly anything into a positive and making that long day just a bit more bearable. Go ahead. What have you got to lose?
3. Remember what got you interested in teaching
That passion had to come from somewhere. If you can remember where it all began, it’ll lead you back to that passionate place. Voila! Instant teaching pick-me-up!
4. Get out (for a few minutes)
Physically leave your desk, classroom or even school at lunchtime or your planning period. The mental separation will leave you refreshed and ready to start again when you return.
5. Avoid being the ‘yes’ person
Of course you want to help, but by adding more to your plate, you’re depleting what’s left for your students. Just say ‘no’ once in a while and keep your work and project load in check.
While there’s no magic wand to wave and make all your worries and stresses melt away, there are some simple, no-cost strategies to help you practice self-preservation. Namaste and good luck!
How do you stay stress-free in the classroom, teachers? Tell us on Twitter over at @CareerCamel!
Claire Stewart is a freelance writer and blogger focused on writing about education, travel, and business among other topics. She graduated from Washington State University and currently lives in Seattle with her goldfish, Merlin.