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How to Deal with the Stress of Teaching

Learn how to deal with the stress of teaching from education consultant Grace Dearborn in this Howcast video.


Teaching is stressful. And one of the things that makes it really stressful for us is that, we deal with a lot of negative behaviors, misbehaviors or off-task behaviors from our students all day long every day. And it wears us down a little bit and one of the things to remember inside of that that will lower our stress, is to remember that students don't act out in a vacuum. Students that are coming from happy, healthy, secure backgrounds don't act out in class most of the time. Usually we're dealing with kids with really rough lives outside the classroom, and when we can remember that and have some compassion for that, it helps us lower our frustrations and that lowers our stress. And then we can work with them more productively around being accountable for their behavior but doing it in a way that isn't punishing them for misbehaving, but is rather trying to teach them behavioral lessons.

So that they can survive and thrive not only in our classroom but in classrooms afterhours and throughout their schooling experience. Another thing to know about dealing with the stress of teaching is to understand that the job is infinite. Your inbox is never going to be empty, and teachers who are able to make peace with that are teachers who will lower their stress. That there's always more you can do, there's always more time you could've put into grading those essays, more time you could've have put in into designing that activity, there's always going to be more. Make peace with the fact that sometimes, you’re just not going to get done everything that could've got done, and that's okay and that's going to lower our stress.

The last thing I would say is, set time aside for yourself, make limits on when you will and won't be working on school work. Leave your classroom before 6 p.m. every day. Agree with yourself that you're not going to do any school work after 7 p.m. Even if you're doing it from home, there still going to a cut off. Give yourself a day or a part of a day that you agree not to do any school, maybe no work on Sundays, or maybe just a half of Sunday, no work before noon on Sunday, just so that you can recharge your batteries. Go out, see a movie, have dinner, talk to your spouse, see your children, do something that kind of gives you vitality and energy and recharge your battery, so that you can bring yourself fully with enthusiasm to your students in the classroom. Those are some ideas about lowering your stress.

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