Teaching isn’t an easy job, but it is an incredibly rewarding one. Building a successful career is about far more than you and your subject, it’s about how you impart this knowledge upon your pupils. With more and more workload pressure being piled on teachers, positive attitudes can be the difference between a teacher that can and a teacher that can’t cope.
Here are our top tips to help you battle the teaching blues.
Keep yourself fully charged
Become a beaming beacon of positivity by looking after yourself physically. A good night’s sleep and a balanced diet is vital in feeling happy and keeping your energy levels high. On average teachers work 53 hours per week (a figure that when shared through our social media channels was hotly contested as being far longer). It’s easy to see how energy drinks and coffee can become tempting as quick pick-me-ups, though they can actually be counter-productive. Too much caffeine can increase your blood pressure and has even been linked to reduced life expectancy!
Manage your stress levels
Teaching is widely regarded as one of the most stressful jobs in the UK, with teachers in Wales alone taking 52,000 days off school last year due to stress. There is a tremendous amount of leakage in teaching right now, with newly qualified teachers leaving the sector far too soon.
In a recent interview with Abi Steady, Deputy Head at Ashmount School and winner of the ‘Inspirational Teacher of the Year’ award at the Leicester Mercury School Awards, she emphasised the importance of striking a successful work life balance. She said, ‘It’s all too easy to feel trapped by the demands of teaching which, if not managed appropriately, can become a very real challenge to the well-being of both individuals and families.’
Set yourself goals
‘A goal is a dream with a deadline’ says Napoleon Hill, an American author who pioneered the personal success genre. Knowing where you want to get to in your career is important, but understanding how you’ll get there is crucial. Focus on the journey rather than the destination; those smaller goals along the way. This will help you to stay motivated and focused towards the end of term, the end of the academic year and the next step in your career.
Don’t sit and suffer
Everybody goes through a ‘work slump’ from time to time, it’s natural. You need to focus on getting yourself out of it. The first step is to recognise that it won’t last forever and tackle it head on. Working collaboratively with colleagues can help share the load of tasks you might find challenging and, often, taking a step back can help you see things more clearly.
Taking a positive outlook is vital in helping you through those inevitable slumps and will help your team through theirs too.
Aldous Huxley, an English novelist said, ‘The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm’. It’s no secret that teaching is tough. Everybody has their good days and bad days, but what’s important is never letting the bad ones stop you in your tracks. The best teachers relish a challenge and accept that this is just part of the job and never let their enthusiasm wane.
Learn from the people around you
Scott Weiss, American venture capitalist said, ‘Your happiness is at the intersection of your passions and learning from great people’. The teachers around you are a fountain of knowledge and an excellent source of advice and guidance. Never feel like you can’t talk to anybody, particularly if you’re a newly qualified teacher. Ask, listen and learn from the people that have been doing it longer.
You won’t always get on with the people you work with, but you will always be able to find ways and means of working effectively with them and learning from them.