Teaching can be a stressful job, not only is there pressure to be an excellent role model but the combination of students, their parents, management, administrative work and faculty activities can get overwhelming at times. It’s a well known fact that over 90% of all teachers experience elevated stress levels. This stress is also heightened by the economy, with low salaries and fear of job losses.
Overcrowded classrooms, grading assignments, angry parents can easily escalate a teacher’s stress level to a point that it adversely affects their health. If you have read earlier articles on symptoms of elevated stress you’ll know that common ailments like headaches, backaches, constant irritation, eating disorders, restiveness and others can directly be attributed to increase in stress. If untreated it could turn into further serious issues like heart disorders, severe depression and hypertension.
Thankfully, that’s precisely why we have this website; if you feel you are stressed, follow the simple techniques highlighted below and don’t forget to check our vast collections of tips and techniques for effective stress management.
Ways teachers can reduce their stress levels.
– Engage the students in fun activities: Studies do not always have to be boring or routine. Yes you have a syllabus to complete, but if you make your class more engaging, your students automatically will do well, parents will be happier, faculty will be happy with the overall class progress not just reflecting on you but also ensuring lesser stress levels if those issues were reversed.
A very good example is a physics teacher who shows video clips in class from popular movies leading to a discussion on if those scenes from movies follow rules of physics. This increases students attention in class, improving the relationship between the students and teachers and all these positive factors greatly help in reducing stress, not to mention a better foundation for students.
– You can say ‘No’: Accepting 100 different responsibilities, constantly adding to your workload and struggling to meet set goals can be very stressful. Carefully analyze if anything asked from you can be done in the timeframe provided, how helpful it is to you, your students and then either deny it or accept it.
– Take regular short breaks: A lot of teachers we’ve met go through the entire day without taking a break. Even lunch is had over a meeting either with faculty discussing some administrative issue or with a group of students clarifying things.
Keep a strict timetable and have few small breaks (of say 5-10 minutes) in your day. Make sure you are alone during that break, doing something you enjoy. Few people I know take walks around the school garden or read a novel. You can supplement this with eating a healthy snack and interacting with other teachers about topics apart from school work.
– Ride the social networking wave: No, it’s not just for the teens. Countless studies have shown that social networking aids almost any job. Joining discussion forums and support groups can give you knowledge from more experienced people on how to deal with particular (stressful) issues. Relating to others problems and solving them together can go great lengths in reducing individual stress levels. Not just for stress relief, this technique can give you insider information on latest teaching techniques, tips, tricks to keep students engaged and drive motivation.
– You don’t have to be perfect: Everyone’s human (at least if you can read this) and we all make mistakes, striving to be perfect can be really stressful. Don’t know the answer to something a student asks, don’t hide it and be stressed as to what your students might be thinking. Instead make it a fun exercise for them, say ‘That’s a great question, and I don’t know it myself, why don’t you all research on this fact and get back tomorrow, the best solutions gets a grade upgrade(or something equally interesting)
– Leave school work at school: Like a normal job, its always encouraged to leave work at work and relax and enjoy your home time with family/loved ones. If you have too many papers or assignments to grade don’t hesitate to ask for help.
– Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Teachers often tend to ignore exercise/eating healthy. This can effect your health in the long run and add to further stress. Maintain good discipline and follow your schedule regularly.
– Have strict office hours: Your students love doubts and that’s great, but don’t be in a situation that students keep coming to you every 20 minutes throughout the day. Keep and announce your office hours and make sure you are available during that time. This will ensure that your students meet you only during that particular time and also remove redundancy in explaining the same concept to various groups.
– Let technology help: If a smartphone can help you manage your time better, get one. If you feel a tablet pc (say an iPad) is good for showing quick demos or some relevant videos to your students and also help entertain you in your private time, get one. Technology can go long ways in helping teachers manage their day better. With new technology of posting assignments online, running a class discussion forum, giving hints or assignments via email you can go a long way to free up some time for much needed relaxation and more personal time.
Hopefully following simple tips mentioned here and elsewhere on this site, you can take your teaching profession in pride and mold our future leaders but at the same time ensuring yours is bright, healthy and stress free.
Read more workplace stress relief techniques by clicking here.