Samantha last blog The Lonely Teacher was rather successful and she's back with a new offering discussing 'The Stressed Teacher'.
We have heard a thousand times how teachers are stressed, they burn out after a few years and change professions, but do we really look at why this is?
You arrive at work still half asleep and with a coffee in your hand to begin the day’s mountain of tasks before you. The year 11 papers that need marking, the learning support students that need a report sent from every teacher. The travel survey that your form class must complete and it is only 7am: This is the day of the stressed out teacher.
Have you ever walked through the school day in a blurred out state, desperately trying to finish one task only to start the next and feeling as though all you can manage is the smallest amount of checking time. The work you are producing is not what you would normally be putting out there. The emails are coming in thick and fast and the bell just rang for first lesson. Before you know it the report you had to write for that incident last week just got put to one side as a student comes to tell you that they are being bullied. Everything stops and you take a precious five minutes to talk to and console this crying child. Once assured, off to they go to their next lesson, you run frantically to yours. Arriving just on time only to remember that this week they have their injections planned and you only have half a class. What you had planned now will not work and it’s time to think on your feet. A starter task that recaps last week’s lesson. Get them set up on that so that you can check in with your planning to skip to next week’s lessons. Two frazzled hours later and it’s time for first break.
A run to the toilet, pick up the post from reception and dart across to see your friend in her class room as you know she had a bad week last week. She seems better and you are pleased for her, arrange a meal date before dashing off back to your office as you have a student waiting for you to hand in overdue homework. The bell goes and it’s back to the classroom for lesson three.
Lesson three goes without a hitch, the year sevens understand what you are teaching and produce some great work. One small moment of glee jumps up in your day, finally. It all peaked too quickly though as the year nines next have all had arguments with each other and will not to work in their groups. To protect their emotional integrity you form new groups and so waste five minutes of the lesson. The boys decide that throwing a piece of paper at a girls head is a good idea, but the girl leaves crying as this keeps happening to her. You can see years of torment ahead of her just for a few boys’ actions and you know the empty words of ‘its because they must like you’ will not be heard by this young woman desperately trying to find her place in the world.
Its break time and a quick bite of a sandwich is all you get as you have rehearsals or a detention going on of which you must be present. A quick cup of tea and a toilet break will now just have to wait.
Last lesson of the day and the year eights are creating all sorts of jokes, they entertain you and for the briefest moment today you forget about the emails that keep pinging into your inbox and the note that has landed on your desk to send a student to the reception for their dentist appointment. The lesson swings by as they all do and you slump at your desk, with text messages and emails from friends that you ignore until you have entered grades and written more reports. You sort all the lessons for tomorrow and around 6pm finally pull out of the car park. The offers of dinner a distant memory and all you want is your bed and maybe an episode of game of thrones before doing it all over again tomorrow.
The cure is to take time for you when you can get it and prioritise tasks. Do things minimally, but effectively, not scrimping yet still using your time effectively. Also those Friday drinks with work colleagues and a good old moan tend to help. If this doesn’t work, start planning your summer holidays.
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