As a day of teaching ends, the preparation for the next begins. It’s the circle of teaching.
With all this prep, marking, reporting and planning to do, it’s important to maintain a work-life balance – but what does that mean exactly? Teacher burnout is a commonly used phrase in the education world which doesn’t really have a proper definition, it’s subjective from person to person. One person may be exhausted physically, another may feel unmotivated. While it’s great to love your job, it’s important to realise that you need to give as much as you take.
Here are a few ways to prevent teacher burnout:
Identify what matters to you the most; family, work, friends, health, interests and hobbies. This is a great exercise to look at the bigger picture about what you’re focusing your time on. Do you want to make sure you have a healthy dinner tonight and prepare a decent lunch for tomorrow? The solution is simple: head home on time and get cooking! If you’ve been feeling lethargic during the day, why not set your alarm earlier and head to the gym or for an early morning run? Are you missing your friends because you’re ‘always busy’? Set a date for dinner and stick to it!
‘Me time’ is so important – this is the time you can really zone out, forget what’s going on at work or in your social life and focus on yourself. Take a long bath, read a book, meditate, watch your favourite movie. You’ve got to give back to yourself for giving so much each day to your students!
Understanding your body and mind’s’ reaction to stress is one of the key factors to minimising it. Do you sweat when you’re stressed? Do you tend to give up when you’re stressed? Do you take it out on your colleagues, friends or family? Identify, decide, action and maintain – what is in your control and what’s not? If you’re really feeling it, tackle your work in digestible bits.
Being positive can be tough when you’re stressed, but by taking small steps to allow yourself more of a work-life balance, you’ll start to understand how important it is. Having a positive attitude is half the battle! If you look on the bright side, have a ‘glass half full’ mentality towards your problems, you’ll be much more open to solving them.
Remember – you’re not alone! Friends and relatives are a phone call away, join teacher support groups on Facebook, read forums. It’ll become apparent that you’re not the only one feeling stressed. Speak to the management in your school, or your peers. Sometimes, the best remedy is a good old moan!
If you find you’re struggling during the summer holidays, our partners at the Education Support Partnership are on hand throughout the holidays to assist. From short-term financial aid to counselling, advice, or just a friendly chat, the Education Support Partnership was created to help teachers when they need it. (Just call them at 08000 562 561.)
If you’re a teacher with Engage, you can benefit from the full Employee Assistance Programme, which includes up to six sessions of face-to-face of telephone counselling, access to online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), financial and legal information, and more.
You can find out more on the Education Support Partnership’s website. If you’d like more information on how we support our teachers throughout their career, check out the Employee Assistance Programme and all our other benefits.