Some days, teaching is a fantastic and rewarding profession – building relationships and encouraging children to be the best they can be while positively impacting their lives. However, other days you find yourself lacking energy, support and inventiveness to continue through the working week. Teaching is one of few professions that require us to put our best foot forward at every moment as role models within the community. The performance aspect of teaching is rarely taught in universities or during professional development; however, we are expected to give high-energy performances on a daily regardless of external factors in our personal life.
Here are a few tips to help you love teaching again and beat mental fatigue:
1. Protect your energy and mental health by setting boundaries.
Teachers have plenty of fantastic qualities. We are caring, organised and driven to name a few. However, it’s important to say no when you have a lot on your plate or don’t feel like doing something. This includes saying no to spending hours before or after school each day working on tasks for your students. Setting boundaries at home is also crucial for protecting your mental health, for example, not checking emails on weekends. Journaling can also be an effective way of keeping a record of things throughout the day that made you feel energised and things that did the opposite so you can take practical steps towards regaining your peace.
2. Ensuring you have enough down time to rest and refill your cup.
Often, overwhelmed teachers rush from one task to another all day long. Yet this can hinder your productivity rate. It’s essential to have little breaks throughout each day, whether that’s enjoying your cup of coffee without a pile of paper to mark or reading your favourite book for 15 minutes. This can also help boost your mood, thus creating a happier classroom environment. Limiting time spent on devices and social media can also give you more time to recharge mentally. Teachers shouldn’t feel the pressure to create new lessons from scratch consistently. There are plenty of teaching materials and lesson plans for teachers that can be downloaded quickly at an affordable price. The Resources for Teaching website have a helpful collection of primary teaching resources that your students will love using.
3. Keeping a Manageable To-do List.
Never finishing your to-do lists? Prioritise two or three important tasks in the day instead. Writing a list at the beginning of each day can keep you on track to achieving your goals and managing tasks effectively. To-do lists can also provide us with structure and help minimise chaos. It’s also important to celebrate small wins throughout the week and practise self-compassion if we don’t get through all the planned tasks.
4. Ask for Outside Support
If your family and friends notice that you are tired or stressed out often, most likely you won’t need to ask them more than once for some help. It’s important to communicate with your loved ones and tell them what you need, whether it’s sharing household duties or running errands throughout the week. Sometimes, it can be hard to accept help from our loved ones because we enjoy looking after them but it’s also important to protect your own wellbeing and cut down on tasks outside of work when needed too.