Teaching is a challenging job with loads of responsibilities. With so much burden on their shoulders, teachers might sometimes feel tense and carry this tension with them to their classes. So, stress management for teachers becomes mandatory.
A normal day in the life of a teacher can be pretty hectic as it involves handling a lot of things simultaneously, be it challenging students or overcrowded classrooms or demanding administrators, the list is never-ending. Studies show that 50 % of the US teachers quit their jobs in the first five years. This is because of their inability to manage the stress in their professional life, which ultimately affects their personal life.
Stress Management Tips
The reason for your stress could be the discipline problems you face in the class. Attend a workshop or read a book on classroom management strategies and apply them. Classroom management strategies can be pertaining to behavior management, classroom time management, and classroom rules, or they can be simple communication strategies. A combination of these, if used effectively, will surely eliminate discipline problems and the resultant job stress that you face.
Know your students well, and try to connect with them on a personal level. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each of your students and motivate them accordingly. Make learning an interesting, humorous, and positive experience for your students by including some fun elements in the lesson plans. Learn to laugh at yourself. Once the students start to like you, your troubles will start melting away. Make friends and share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and goals with them.
Breathing Exercises during Breaks
Taking regular breaks in between working hours, even if it is only for a few minutes, is one of the best stress relievers for teachers. Practice breathing exercises in these breaks or you may also practice them with your students in the class. Here is a simple breathing exercise. Close your eyes and inhale. Feel your belly and chest expand. Hold your breath for about five seconds and exhale. Repeat it 10 times. This will surely help to rejuvenate you.
Exercise and Meditation
This is one of the best stress-busting activities. Devote around 15 – 30 minutes to exercise and meditation everyday. Do aerobics, jogging, walking, or any kind of physical activity that you enjoy. Visualization has proven to be one of the most effective stress reduction techniques. Focus on any image or thought and try to visualize it. This will mentally remove you from the source of your stress.
Practicing Yoga or Reiki
Yoga, an ancient Indian meditative practice and reiki, a Japanese art of healing, are very effective relaxation techniques which have been practiced since ages. Yoga includes lots of asanas, pranayama, and meditation. Reiki increases the body’s natural abilities through transfer of energy from a reiki practitioner to the affected person. Both yoga and reiki provide relief from stress. Always remember to learn these techniques from an expert, and never try them at home without proper supervision.
Massage therapy provides relaxation to the body. It rejuvenates the body by improving the blood circulation. Pamper yourself by getting a massage from a professional. Alternatively, take an aromatherapy bath (or aroma bath) at home.
Making Time for Yourself
Manage your time well by proper planning and prioritizing your work. This way you will get time to pursue the hobby of your choice. Hobbies like music and dance, candle making, pottery, gardening, etc., have a soothing effect on the mind. Do something that doesn’t involve teaching or work, like watching your favorite TV show or movie, cooking your favorite recipe, talking to a friend on the phone, reading a book, or taking a stroll in the park or on the beach.
Take care of your diet by including lots of vegetables and fresh fruits. Sleep for at least 7 – 8 hours at night.
Self-motivation is an integral aspect of stress management, and stress cannot be controlled without it. Reward yourself even for the small victories that you achieve in your professional life. Take pride in being a teacher, since you make a difference to other people’s lives.