Teachers, Lower Your Stress Level Now!
Jun 9, 2010 Teaching 3648 Views
Teaching can be one of the most rewarding professions imaginable, but it can also be a very stressful one. As an educator, you likely know that the level of stress that you are under at work can cause your job performance to suffer. To be an effective teacher and to avoid teacher burnout, you must lower your stress level, get organized and make time for yourself.
Organization is Fundamental
It is essential that you are organized, both in the classroom and at home, if you want to lower the stress in your life. Organized teachers are more effective teachers. From your daily lesson plans to your wardrobe, having everything ready and at your fingertips will give you a jump start on your day that will make everything run more smoothly. You may have heard the old adage of "a place for everything, and everything in its place". This should be your guiding philosophy as you prepare for the next day, week, or unit. Allow this organization to spill over to your students as well. Demand that they are organized, that they know when homework assignments are due, and so on, so that your whole classroom runs like a well-oiled machine. Use a weekly handout so that everyone is on the same page as to what is expected for the week, and encourage students to create a folder just for your class.
Fight Paperwork Pileup
Teachers who allow paperwork and grading tasks to pile up are asking for an increase in stress. Grading papers, when done in mass volumes, can become an exhausting chore. Begin grading exams and tests the minute that they are handed in, starting with the first student to hand you a paper. This will give you a jump start on paperwork. You might also consider taking ten or fifteen minutes to allow students to grade each other's papers, which has the added benefit of giving you a chance to discuss correct answers in greater detail and all at once. Make the tests and quizzes that you give simpler by including more fill in the blank and multiple choice and fewer essay questions. Make it a habit to only grade papers during the week, and be sure to have everything graded by Friday. Use meal breaks and planning periods, recesses and lunches to plan, grade, and organize your classroom. Don't give tests on Friday; this just gives you a chore to take home with you over the weekend, when you should be relaxing.
Finding Time for Yourself
And speaking of the weekend, take time for yourself each and every weekend. Don't spend your weekend working on things for school. Weekends should be spent doing the things that you love to do as a person, not as a teacher. Even if that means just sleeping! Make the weekend (and a night or two during the week when possible) your adult time, when you can just unwind. You'll be a better teacher if you feel like you have a life beyond the schoolyard. And always keep in mind that not everything is possible. You are only one human being, so plan on not having time for everything. (As long as you make time for the important things in life, you'll still be okay). Leave your title of teacher with your desk at school and learn to be just you, minus your teaching credentials.