All teachers know that teaching can be a stressful job. Stress and being overworked lead to teacher burnout. The key is to get organized and make time for yourself. Teacher burnout is a problem for many new teachers. Lower your stress level, and you will improve as a teacher as well. Don't cut your career short. Always remember that teaching will never be totally stress-free.
However, the job can be made easier over time and with a little work on your part. Below are a few tips to make your teaching job less stressful.
First things first.
You will have a very stressful career if your classroom discipline and management system is a shambles. Conquering these is the first step to being a stress-free teacher. Read those articles:
You cannot teach effectively unless you are organized anyway.
Your daily lessons plans should be done and all materials gathered before the school day.
Preferably the night before. Yes this is a lot of work. But having a smooth teaching day is worth it. Teachers need to grade papers as soon as possible. Don't let them pile up. Teachers who let papers to grade pile up are asking for trouble.
Grading a pile of papers will look like an arduous task that will take it's toll on your body. And it will. When teachers give a quiz or exam, they should start grading them as soon as one student turns it in. Even if you only grade the first page of each paper. This will give you a good head start.
Here's a no-brainer but often over looked teaching tip: Make your quizzes, exams, and projects as easy to grade as possible. This could include more multiple choice.
Teachers should collect longer assignments when longer breaks occur. That is, do not collect a 10 page report on Monday. Try not to give assessments on Fridays. Teachers who grade only on school days will be much better rested. If your grading is taking its toll on you, you seriously need to change the way you assess. Teachers should over-work the students. Students should never over-work the teacher. Your job is to make this happen.
Teachers need school-free days!
In conjunction with the above, you need to keep your weekends as school-free as possible. You need at least one of those days to do absolutely nothing as far as school work. Your brain needs a rest. You need to recharge.
Avoid leaving your grading for the weekend. Teachers who do grading over the weekend are really working 7 days a week. You will burn out. Teachers should never bring home enough work to last the weekend.
Make every school day break count!
Secondary teachers have nutrition breaks, lunch breaks, and normally planning periods. Elementary teachers have recess and lunch. There is even the short time after school that you are required to be on campus. Make these precious minutes count. Plan. Organize. Grade. Make phone calls. Yes, you will have the urge to relax and do nothing. The problem is, school is the best place to work. Teachers who get stuff done at school are freer at home. If you don't feel like grading at school, how do you feel when you see all the things you need to do and you are home? DO NOT use these breaks to prepare for the next class. That should have already been done. Scrambling around at the last minute to figure out what you are teaching brings on a bundle of stress. Running to the copy machine is not good exercise.
And it may not be working when you get there!
Teachers need sleep.
And you are probably not getting enough. This is why you need to be organized and grade ASAP. The later it is, the worse your brain functions.
If you are planning or grading at midnight, how long do you think you will last?
Get to school early.
You need to be fully prepared as soon as the bell rings. I have seen teachers standing in line at the copier when the bell rings. And continue to copy. I have seen teachers drive up to campus as the bell rings. How effective of a teacher can you be? Not only is this bad teaching, it is bad for your nerves as well. Unless you are a do-nothing teacher. I urge you to read the articles here on engaging students and being a great teacher.
Every day is a new day!
Teachers should try and forget the small things that happen each day. Start each day renewed. Your classroom discipline should be a system that is as stress-free for you as possible.
Teachers, not all is possible.
No matter how organized you are there just things about teaching that are stressful. The key is to have as much time away from school to do other things. Make your time away from school count as much as your days in school. Your job as a teacher needs to be left outside your front door as much as possible.
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