How to handle stress and stay focused when teaching

The stress epidemic rings true all over the UK, not least for those working in the education profession, where 85% admit to experiencing stress in the workplace. While there will always be periods that are harder than others (the run up to student exams, for example) if not managed effectively, stress can lead to deteriorations in both mental and physical health amongst teachers.

 

In this article, I’ll talk a little more about the effects of stress, particularly in terms of sleep deprivation, and offer advice on managing your wellbeing and maintaining productivity whilst teaching. At CV-Library, we understand that the industry continues to face a lot of pressure, and we hope that our handy tips can help any professionals that may be struggling. 

 

Is stress affecting your sleep? 

 

Teaching is not a job you can necessarily switch off from when you get home. You may grow emotionally attached to your pupils, or have marking or lesson planning to do in the evenings. This is an industry faced with long hours and without proper downtime, there is a risk that workers in the industry will become overworked, and over stressed. 

 

For many professionals (82.1% in fact), this stress can then have a negative impact on their sleeping patterns. Our research shows that two thirds of professionals working in the education industry only get between five and seven hours sleep a night, significantly lower than the recommended 8 hours.

 

Is a lack of sleep affecting your working day?stress and stay focused when teaching

 

If you’re finding that stress is affecting your sleep, you’ve probably noticed some knock-on-effects throughout the working day. We found that for 72.5% of teachers, the ability to stay focussed is particularly difficult, as well as dealing with challenging situations (48.8%) and making importance decisions (36.3%). 

 

These three factors are particularly important when teaching, in order to keep pupils engaged with the work that they are doing. Therefore, it’s vital that professionals working in the industry make a proactive effort to overcome sleep deprivation and stress.

 

How to maintain productivity

 

In addition to the above, over a quarter (27.5%) of teachers and individuals working within the education industry revealed that they were unable to complete all of the tasks they were supposed to in the working day. When tired and stressed, productivity levels can quickly slip. In order to combat this, there are a few solutions. 

 

Firstly, think about when you work best. If you’re more of a morning person, get to school earlier than needed and free up more time in your evenings to relax and unwind. You should also have a prioritised to-do list and accept that sometimes, not every task can be completed. If lesson planning is becoming overwhelming, stop trying to generate resources yourself and look for handy files online instead. 

 

How to approach your employer

 

Your employer has a responsibility to protect you and your wellbeing, so if you are feeling particularly stressed or overwhelmed, it may be worth talking to your boss about possible solutions. Sharing your concerns with supportive leaders can make a real difference and this is best done one-to-one in a quiet environment. It might be that they can work with you to figure out the best way to retain balance, or if you’ve over-committed to extra-curricular activities, they can move the responsibility elsewhere. 

 

Your employer will understand and appreciate your feedback, plus they’ll prioritise your own wellbeing over anything else! If your employer is not supportive, it could be time to consider looking for a new job

 

Overcoming stress

 

Overall, taking a proactive approach to combatting stress is vital. Identifying the core reasons behind why you are feeling stressed and thinking about the wider impact that this is having on your sleep patterns and general wellbeing can be a great first step, especially if you want to go on to think of solutions for overcoming this. Some employers will be more supportive than others, but it is hoped that your manager can act as a sufficient sounding board, and work with you to create a strategy for overcoming stress while teaching.

 

By Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library

 

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