While the job satisfaction in teaching is immense, it’s important to avoid any stresses or strains that could make your vocation less enjoyable. Read our top tips to help you relax and experience calm in your teaching career.
The route to success, as you often tell your students, is to take preparation seriously. Familiarise yourself not only with your course but also your calendar so there are no surprises, such as a departmental zoom meeting when you’re supposed to be enjoying date night.
Knowing what’s ahead and, just as important, having it covered, lifts a weight off shoulders and let’s you focus on enjoying the job you love.
The yoga-inspired Lion’s Breath instantly releases stress but does mean sticking your tongue out and saying “haaaaa!” . . . so perhaps a breathing technique for home rather than the staff room.
Alternatively, for deep-dive style breathing inhale in four sniffs, filling your lungs on the fourth, then breathe out equally in four parts. At the same time visualise yourself diving ever deeper into a pool of warm water. As you complete your last exhalation, feel yourself floating weightless to the surface. Bliss!
Make space and time
Teaching requires strong focus and so it should be balanced with time for your own thoughts in your own space. One of the best ways to achieve this is by taking a stroll in the park or enjoying your lunch in an outdoor space all to yourself.
Even in the classroom or lecture hall you can create a personal chill-out zone while students are working. This could simply be a comfy-cushioned chair next to a favourite pot plant where you can practise your deep-dive breathing.
You work diligently every day to get the very best results but responding emotionally to misbehaviour can be draining physically and mentally. To avoid this, don’t take anything personally and rehearse in advance how you’re going to react.
By visualising the worst tantrum before class begins and seeing yourself dealing with it patiently and calmly will help you do just that, if the occasion arises. This will allow you to manage emotions and create a harmonious and motivational environment.
This is a great stress buster. Challenge yourself to grade a certain amount of assignments in an hour then reward yourself with an episode of your favourite TV show or a healthy snack (pizza is allowed too). Go on, you deserve it!
Afterwards, see if you can beat your score from the first round. Rewarding and restarting refreshed, rather than binge working, actually boosts productivity.
It’s all in the mind
Mindfulness shuts out distractions by having a full-on focus on breathing, sounds, smells or touch. So, having inspired your proteges and tasked them with assignments, reward yourself with a moment’s meditation in a quiet corner and enjoy calmness. Educationalists who use mindfulness say it results in decreased stress levels and improved focus and clarity, building greater sensitivity to students.
Don’t stint on sleep
Sleep is important for our wellbeing. Staying up too late and binge watching a full season on Netflix rather than enjoying zzzs can affect concentration and stamina.
You’ve earned your R’nR so structure your evenings to allow yourself ample time to truly wind down – with no late suppers or smartphone surfing. This will prepare your mind and body for a quality sleep.
Dare to share
Discussing your wellbeing openly with peers will help you boost your performance in education – how you engage with students, how you deliver lessons, the success you have in your role and where you go next.
Looking for more inspiration and tips on how to find your way to a more relaxed mindset? Join other teachers on Teacheroo to chat, de-stress and re-discover all the positive things about teaching.