Teacher wellbeing: Balancing workload & mental health.

The 2021 Teacher Wellbeing Index survey from Education Support stated that 70% of teachers and education staff quoted workload as the main reason for thinking about leaving the profession. Excessive workload and needless box ticking exercises can have an adverse impact on a teachers life, and lead to poor mental health. It’s not easy to achieve a great work-life balance if you are in Education, but there are some things you can do to help yourself.

The opinions in this article are just general recommendations, and if you are severely struggling with your mental health we recommend contacting your GP or a health professional.

1. Arriving home

It’s important to engage in activities that allow you to disconnect from work, such as getting some fresh air, exercising, or relaxing with your favourite book. It’s also helpful to physically separate your home life from your work life. If possible, leave your books, marking, and assessments at school. If you must bring them home, store them in a designated room and close the door. Consider having separate email and social media accounts for your personal and work life and do not reply to work related WhatsApp messages out of hours.

2. Holidays

Where possible, try to fit all of your work into term time, apart from the joy of enriching children’s lives, prolonged holidays, a few times a year, can be a great benefit to your wellbeing. You do not have the flexibility to take annual leave whenever you like, so it is of the utmost importance to make the most of the time you do get.

3. Learning to say no

Set boundaries with your work colleagues and keep unnecessary meetings to the bare minimum so you can get on with the job at hand. It’s important that you recognise your worth and acknowledge you are only human, you can only accomplish goals that are achievable within the time you have available to you. Saying no can be daunting, but over commitment doesn’t necessarily lead to greater rewards, which is true across all professions. Remember why you got into teaching in the first place, make a list of your priorities and stick to them.

4. Enjoy your lessons

Autonomy is an essential aspect of teaching, as it allows teachers to exercise their professional judgment and make decisions about their classroom and instructional practices. It also helps you keep lessons fun for both yourselves and your students. Do not be led astray by “best practice” techniques coming from above, every teacher has their own unique style, and you should stay true to yours.

5. Save time where you can

Lesson planning and report writing are essential responsibilities of a teacher, but they can also be time-consuming and stressful. Where possible, plan out your week in advance, there are numerous platforms available now to help you do this in a time efficient way. Also, use technology, recent A.I breakthroughs and systems such as ChatGPT can save you a lot of time. Don’t take my word for it, check it out.

Teachers must take care of their mental health to avoid burnout and continue to make a positive impact on their students’ lives.

Do you have any helpful tips you can share with the community? Let us know in the comments below.

This article was written by the TeacherHaven team, help us support education by contributing to our blog, email us at info@doceoconsulting.co.uk

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