Work-related stress is part and parcel of most jobs, often described as the health epidemic of the 21st Century, and it is becoming a particularly serious issue within the teaching profession.
More and more teachers are feeling the strain of permanent teaching positions and the daily pressure can have an adverse effect on their physical health, mental well-being and quality of life. Some unfortunately decide to quit the job they once loved, in the hope of restoring normality and gaining a healthier work-life balance.
Why are teachers struggling to keep up with the demands of permanent jobs? Well, a recent survey of 12,000 teachers found that 83% had experienced more workplace stress in the last year, with 90% citing workload as their number-one concern. In a single day, these teachers do not simply teach. They are expected to plan lessons, create resources, manage behaviour, provide pastoral support, set pupil targets, enter pupil data, prepare for inspections, attend meetings, liaise with parents – the list is endless.
It is all too easy for teaching to take over your life, and when you’re stressed out at work, stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are continuously released into the bloodstream. Over a long period of time, high levels of these hormones can mean bad news for our mental wellbeing and physical health; therefore it’s imperative to keep a cool head and manage your daily stress levels as much as you can.
What’s the solution?
With the burden of a heavy workload, permanent teaching jobs can seem overwhelming at times. You may feel like you want to give it all up, hand in your resignation and run for the hills. But why let all your hard work and training go to waste? Especially when there are effective ways of keeping your stress levels to a minimum. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
1. Accept the unexpected
It can be stressful when things happen unexpectedly, but it’s important to remember that, sometimes, they are simply out of your control. Make a list of the things that have caused you stress (e.g. a difficult class, an angry parent, the class TA calling in sick) and cross out the ones that you can’t do anything about. There’s no point worrying about them!
2. Pinpoint the positives
Rather than dwelling on the negatives, try to identify the positive things that happened in your day – even if some days, this means looking a little harder. Focus on any little triumphs or personal achievements, no matter how small or insignificant you think they are.
3. Get it off your chest
Sometimes a problem shared really is a problem halved (which is why we pair all of our candidates with a personal development manager, who will offer support and advice every step of the way). Perhaps you could meet a friend for a coffee and talk about your concerns, worries, and even the way you are feeling. You’ll be surprised how much this can help.
4. Learn to say no
It’s great to be cooperative and helpful in your job and we often don’t want to let people down. But if you’re already struggling to keep up with the workload, it is ok to say no. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself out.
5. Remember to have fun
Managing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult, but it is vital to set aside time each day for family and hobbies. This is one of the main advantages of supply teaching, as flexible working hours allow you to have some valuable ‘me’ time. Exercise is also great for stress relief and activities that focus your attention can really help too.
Remind yourself why you became a teacher in the first place and, combined with these useful tips, hopefully you can keep your stress levels under control. But if not, additional support and advice can be found on the Education Support Partnership website.
At Connex, we offer flexible working hours at a range of different schools, giving you the power to choose when and where you work. Many of our day-to-day and short-term placements come with no strings attached; you’re not expected to plan lessons, you don’t need to participate in extracurricular activities, and you’re free to go home at 3.15pm and enjoy your evening. All we ask is that you turn up on time and do the thing you love – teach! Working with us also has a number of additional benefits, including a competitive rate of pay, free CPD training, and the help of a friendly development manager.
If you’re considering working on supply, why not pop into your local Connex branch to chat to one of our development managers today? Or give us a call today on: 0845 266 0650.