It seems that many career paths are going the same way. Staff are overworked and underpaid with high expectations and limited support. Teaching is no different.
The Guardian reports that over a quarter of teachers have left the profession since 2011, and TES tells us that three quarters of trained teachers leave within their first four years of teaching. It’s madness. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there is going to be any quick fixes and despite battles in Parliament the ‘teachers get all those holidays’ attitude still remains. So, teachers, how do we turn that frown upside down?
The more I talk to other teachers the more they are starting to admit they have reached out to their Doctor in a desperate attempt for a quick fix. All they want is to find something to help get them through the working week. I cannot believe some of the things teachers regard as a normal feature of their working week. The fact we are starting to talk about these feelings is excellent, partly because our mental health is incredibly important but also that talking and sharing reassures us we are not alone.
Big policy changes do not happen overnight but taking baby steps for ourselves can make our coping goals accessible and achievable. We wouldn’t set our children a target they couldn’t achieve so why do it to ourselves?
Below I have listed five things that we can do without having to panic about the time lost marking books or filling in paperwork. These are five small baby steps in the right direction.
Before you go to bed put your phone face down and pick up a book. Even if you only read this book for ten minutes! We all know the research about engaging with our phones. It keeps you connected….connected to your emails, concerns, worries, other moaning teachers. By putting your phone away even for a small amount of time you could help yourself through a potentially sleepless night.
Stretch it Out
I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times I have declared that next week I will start a class or join a gym or try to have a bigger social life. Then the day comes and I need someone to pass me a paper bag as I attempt not to pass out under the never ending to do list. By completing some simple stretches you will start to ease the tension whether the cause is leaning over smaller children our tensing as you hold your tongue during another staff meeting that could have been an email. Sites like Favosity have a few options like these:
Eat a dinner…the whole thing… without being interrupted or sneezed on! My partner thought this was a little too obvious but only a teacher truly knows the level of interruptions that take place during a break time. I am convinced that the children can, in fact, sense your bum hit a seat and feel it should not be allowed. We are all guilty of not looking after our body especially if you live alone. You’ll end up ill and that really will mess up your working week.
Find a Favourite Website
Find something that isn’t work related and hold onto it with both hands. A website can be accessed in several places and if it keeps you interested it will help your mind focus on something that doesn’t need laminating or highlighting. Personally, I love to keep up with the personal stories here on PositivityGuides but sites such as Post Secret or the New Scientist will give you something to think about. Challenge yourself after all you manage teaching everyday.
Take Pride in your Personal Life
As a teacher it is expected that you work a great deal in your own time. The result is a feeling of guilt when you’ve had a great weekend or half term. Don’t play it down talk about it. The only way change will occur in teaching is if teachers start to push a new mind set. Why should you feel guilty – it was your time. You would be amazed who will chat to you within a couple of weeks about their fun weekend. It ends up making you closer as a team and reminds you all that you are allowed a life.