Once again, we find ourselves nearing the end of another school year. There are just over 6 weeks of school left, and as always parents, scholars and teachers all feel the pressures that go hand in hand with all that is still left to do before school closes for the summer holiday.
As teachers, we automatically make sure that the children we teach are well-prepared and taken care of, for the demands of exams and school activities such as end of year concerts and award ceremonies.
But who takes care of you, the teacher, and makes sure that you are still swimming strongly?
As a teacher you have just as many demands and tasks that need to be completed before you can shut down for the year. There are tests and exams to set and mark, there are reports to write, countless meetings with parents and colleagues, rehearsals for the various school activities that will take place, and then there are the demands of your own home and family life.
Teacher fatigue and stress are very real and very common. Teachers are not only educators, they also take on the roles of parents, therapists, mediators and counsellors. Let no one ever tell you that teaching is an easy job – after all there are regular holidays and you only work half day. AS IF!!!
Teaching is a labour of love and definitely not for the faint hearted. In order to avoid stress and fatigue, you need to look out and care for yourself. Make regular time to JUST BE – do what makes you happy and relaxed.
In order to maintain a calm, happy and regulated you, try some of these tips
- Understand where your limits are and don’t take on too much extra work.
- Limit the amount of work that you take home. Home is where you need to connect with yourself and with your loved ones.
- Create a sanctuary for yourself – take yourself to a place that calms you. Find a spot at home (not your bedroom or office), and just be. Let this space be the place where you can meditate, read a book or listen to music quietly. If you are at school, and need to get out of the classroom, find a quiet area in the school where you can “just be”, e.g. the school gardens.
- Do not eat lunch in your classroom!
- Take on a hobby – spending 1 – 2 hours a week doing something else is really good for the soul.
- Do regular exercise – this will help alleviate stress and prevent burnout.
Teachers are a precious commodity in our country, who work under some of the most stressful conditions. In order for you to stay in the profession, you need to take care of youself. By doing so, you will be a calmer, regulated and happier teacher. Happy teachers make for happy and impactful learning to happen in the classroom. Finding time for yourself should be done regularly throughout the year, not only when the pressure is on at the end of term or year.
Go on – TAKE 5 and JUST BE!
Annabella Sequeira is a Specialist Sensory Intelligence® Facilitator for Parents and Teachers.
She holds a BSc (Occupational Therapy) degree from the University of Cape Town, backed by 22 years’ experience in both the public and private sector. She has extensive practical experience in the area of Sensory Integrative Dysfunction in children and is passionate about empowering others to improve functionality and quality of life.