Survival of the ‘fittest?’ A Teacher’s guide
Published: Monday November 11 2019 by Melanie Crewe
Teaching is a demanding career- that’s a fact. Successfully balancing workload, keeping abreast of ever evolving initiatives, policies and technologies and dealing with complaints are in themselves almost a full-time commitment. So, it is fairly understandable when positivity and optimism levels waver slightly as the academic year progresses. With over three quarters of teaching staff and school leaders describing themselves as stressed, it is important to maximise efforts to ease the pressure on yourself where and whenever possible.
There are a number of suggestions below and a also raft of resources easily accessible online to maintain a positive outlook and to help keep things in stock:
- Create a healthy work/life balance
It is really important that you invest in relationships both in and out of the school environment and to ensure that a healthy balance is maintained. Professional relationships can sometimes be all consuming, so seek out those that inspire you- such as colleagues that are long serving and devoted, experienced, outspoken and continually professional.
Also, it is important to be extremely self- disciplined and learn to switch off... literally. Turn off your laptop and phone outside of work and make quality time for just yourself, your friends and your family. Paying attention to the relationships that you invest in and develop outside of school is just as important for your health and mental wellbeing: https://www.educationsupport.org.uk/resources/factsheets/how-create-better-work-life-balance
If you have been thinking about working in a ‘job-share’ capacity, our ‘Flexi’ product, launched in 2018, can offer you a better work/life balance and the flexibility to work days & hours to suit you. You will be paired with a like-minded professional, making for collaborative working, shared PPA time and supporting of each other in your job share.
- Learn to ask for help
Recognise that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is one of the ways in which we build inner strength. When we ask for help, we are able to accept that we need connections with others to help us overcome life’s challenges. Learn who to go for and for what- be resourceful with your colleagues. Also important, is to seek out those who can offer reassurance and provide you with honest feedback as to how you are dealing with a certain situation.
- Manage your time and workload to the best of your ability
You need to be able to stop for a moment, pause and think. Don’t overstuff your diary so that you are continually backed up- plan for thinking time and book it in during the working day where possible. This means you will do less worrying and fretting at home in your ‘you’ time.
- Be flexible, but also realise your own capacity
Bending over backwards to accommodate too many other demands can be detrimental to your own focus. Restrict what you say ‘yes’ to and be realistic with setting timeframes, and in turn, expectations.
- Never lose sight of your ultimate professional purpose
For those more negative days, make sure you have a bank of positive comments from pupils to pull out when things are feeling tough- and keep on giving yourself a pat on the back. For positive affirmation keep a simple ‘thank you card’ in your top drawer to refer to or on your wall. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you get things wrong- you are only human. Dust yourself off and keep trying new things.
Ultimately, it is important to remember the reasons why you chose the profession in the first place and re-focus to keep your heart in the job.
Teachwire have some useful free resources for primary and secondary teachers to download, which include practical advice to help you reduce your workload: https://acevillepublications.typeform.com/to/pDrG4H