It is no secret, teaching is one of the most stressful jobs out there. As a teacher, you are responsible for providing the best education possible to your students. There are many external factors that you need to take into account, while additionally meeting each student’s individual needs and adhering to the standards set forth by the state. You will encounter many different experiences, some good and some not-so-good, during this journey. Stress is not an uncommon feeling, as it is par for the course. Managing it is important and not necessarily easy.
How Stress Can Affect Your Teaching
When you are feeling stressed, your students can sense it. When you are feeling stressed, you are not the best version of you. It can affect you psychologically and physically. When you feel extreme amounts of stress, you feel more rundown. When you are feeling rundown, you are not teaching at your full potential. When you are emotionally or psychologically stressed, the same happens. It is inevitable that you will feel stress at many points during your career, so here are some tips on how to maintain your stress level and even how to destress.
How to Prep for a Stress-Free Morning
Preparing for a stress-free morning begins before you even leave work the day before! Before you leave work, be prepared for the next day. Change the dates on your boards, prep your do-now list, and have everything ready to go just in case emergencies arise in the morning. You will feel more relaxed knowing that you have everything ready to go. Every minute counts in the morning, so the more time you can save yourself, the more stress-free you can be!
Organization. Be organized and don’t leave too much to accomplish in the morning at home. Any unforeseen events can throw you off your morning schedule, and you do not want to begin the day stressed and rushed! Pack your lunch the night before, lay out your outfit the night before, and write a to-do list for the next day before you go to sleep. Try to get into a routine because this helps to keep you organized.
Planning. Be prepared for the day! Take a few minutes in the morning to read through your lesson plans to make sure you are ready for the day. You can start to game plan in your mind how you will accomplish all you need to as far as teaching goes for the day. As a teacher, we all know it is nearly impossible to complete exactly what you have in your plans, but having a framework of what you would like to accomplish and a little refresher of it in the morning can always help you stay on track.
Relaxation. Take care of yourself! Finding time to relax and to sleep is invaluable. There are many different ways that you can help yourself to relax. One way I enjoy relaxing is going to acupuncture. Acupuncture has really helped my stress levels to decrease. Yoga is also a great way to relieve stress. Taking a little bit of time when you are at home to drink a cup of coffee while reading a good book or watching a television show are other ways to make sure you create “me” time. I am a firm believer in making time for yourself. Everyone’s home life looks different, so whether it be five minutes a day or two hours a day, take some time for you, and do what makes you happy.
Sleep. If we are going to be honest, getting enough sleep is not always going to happen. Try your best to have a pretty regimented sleep schedule. Everyone differs in the amount of sleep time that he/she needs in order to feel good, so try to stick to the schedule as best as you can. There will be many days where the only thing that will get you to the end of the day is a cup (or two) of coffee, but again, having some sort of sleep routine can help you to get the maximum amount of sleep you can.
As teachers, we try to help students to develop coping skills. That starts with us taking care of ourselves and modeling how to manage stress and cope with it. As Lou Holtz said, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it is the way you carry it.” With this being said, developing a skill set of how to cope and manage stress can be beneficial in being the best version of you in the classroom.