Eliminating Stress from Teacher Life

Teacher life is crazy at the best of times, and it is hard to explain to those ‘non-teachers’ in your life what it is like and why it causes you so much stress.

Eliminating Stress from Teacher Life - Rainbow Sky Creations
From L to R: Sommer, Ceri, Alisha, Ashleigh, Tam, Jo, Chantelle, Cath and Shez

Entering the classroom with a million things on your mind and feeling frazzled isn’t good for you or the students in your care. But how can we make ‘teacher life’ less hectic when all the expectations remain the same?

We set out to find out more by asking some experienced teachers what they do to take the stress out of their day. We asked them to share what they do to make their teacher life easier, what they have stopped doing and what they have successfully let go of. We hope you find some of these ideas helpful.

The teacher to-do list can be endless. Let go of putting school & work ahead of everything else in your life. Don’t be a martyr. It is important to prioritise time for yourself and to fill your cup so you can be your best.

Cath from @cathwilliams05

I allow myself to accept that not every lesson goes according to plan and changing and altering on the spot is totally normal. Also, giving tentative grades when marking (especially in maths) helps me to write reports later on. It saves time searching back through work samples and means I am not just relying on a final assessment. Finally, allowing my displays to be built upon during the term. They don’t have to be super pretty week 1!

Sam – Year 5 Teacher

Teacher life became so much easier when I stopped comparing myself to older, more experienced teachers. I understood that their systems and advice came from experience. This is something I could achieve over time, and I did. I learned about routines and how to teach them properly. I learned about systems that worked for my students, and ones that didn’t. That was why I created the free routines PDF on TpT. I wanted to give teachers a helping hand at the beginning of each term.

Ceri from @ourcreativeclassroom

I made my teaching life easier when I decided not to implement all the professional learning within a week of attending. I now see professional learning as a resource or toolkit where I can refer to it as needed. Another game-changer was when I decided to share my programs and in turn, accept resources and ideas from my friends. This made me feel less overwhelmed and reaffirmed me that I was on the right track when I looked at other teacher’s programs.

Alex – Year 5 teacher

I made my teacher life easier when I realised not every lesson was going to be a major ‘teacher award’ winning success and that’s ok. Shake it off and learn from it! When I first started teaching I wanted to be the perfect teacher and not having the best lesson would really affect me and play on my mind as to whether I was cut out for this job! I learned that not every lesson was going to be the most mind-blowing learning experience or as engaging as I thought! While this was not ideal – it wasn’t the end of the world. That’s the best part of teaching – there is always a chance to reflect, grow from it, and do it better next time!

Shez from @topteacher

My teaching improved when I stopped ‘talking at the kids’ and instead made the effort to listen and respond to their interests. I give kids opportunities to become actively engaged where they could explore, experiment, play and ask questions. This makes content interesting and develops a love for learning. I truly believe that if you tell a child, they will forget, teach a child and they may remember. However if you involve a child, they will understand.

Jess – Kindergarten Teacher

Things became a lot easier for me when I decided not to laminate every single thing! It saved me not only time but also the environment. When you put up displays that aren’t laminated you don’t get that annoying glare and it makes it easier for the kids to see and refer to them. Also, games that are only going to be used for a short time are fine not to be laminated. I actually use it as an excuse to send them home with students that need additional help. It is a win-win!

Ashleigh from @rainbowskycreations

My first tip to ease stress is to refine the ways that you give feedback. Pick one thing to focus on in a piece of work (e.g. punctuation) and don’t worry about the rest. And invest in a ‘verbal feedback given’ stamp – the most valuable feedback we give our kids is verbal feedback in the moment!! Secondly, be picky about what resources you choose to make- will they have multiple uses or be a one-hit wonder? Prioritise those multiple use resources.

Tam from @misslearningbee

Things changed for the positive when I started providing more verbal feedback rather than writing comments on students learning all the time. I also invested in some personalised stamps to save myself time when marking.

Alisha from @rainbowskycreations

My teaching load improved when I began to make the conscious decision to accept that not everything is going to be perfect. I still took pride in my profession but realised building stress and anxiety over eye-catching art displays, the neatest anchor charts, the well-placed furniture, or the most attractive google slides sometimes would detract from my metaphorical teaching tank.

James – Year 6 teacher

I made my teacher life easier when I stopped checking emails at home every night and would not put my emails on my phone!! Instead, I set aside ‘admin’ time in my day to check emails and attend to them because there is nothing worse than having no barrier between work and home, especially if the emails are negative.

Sommer from @stayclassyclassrooms

My little tip is to GO HOME! Set yourself a time limit each night and stick to it. A teacher’s job is never-ending and the work is always going to be there regardless of how long you stay back!

Chantelle from @missjacobslittlelearners

Finally, another handy exercise is to do a stocktake of all the small tasks you are doing each day. Sometimes we continue to add to our list, and we don’t realise how much we are actually undertaking. By doing a quick ‘stocktake’, it will help you cut out anything you don’t need to do, and create a routine and schedule for those daily and weekly tasks.

As teachers, we often fall victim to trying to do everything! If you can, take on one (or more) of these tips and see if they make a difference to you.

Eliminating Stress from Teacher Life - Rainbow Sky Creations

Hang on, before you click away… have you signed up to our FREE workshop Manage your to do lists?

Click here to get instant access to our mini masterclass video, workbook and real life strategies to get on top of that to do list right away!

Want to know more about the contributors of this blog post?

Check them out here:

Sommer from @stayclassyclassrooms

Ceri from @ourcreativeclassroom

Chantelle from @missjacobslittlelearners

Bridget and Shez from @topteacher

Cath from @cathwilliams05

Tam from @misslearningbee

Alisha & Ashleigh from Rainbow Sky Creations:

Instagram and Teachers Pay Teachers

What to read next:

10 Habits of a Positive Teacher

Dealing with Teacher Overwhelm

0 Tips for First Year Teachers

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