In order for us teachers to be the best version of ourselves, to be able to teach, mentor, coach and look after the our students progress and wellbeing, it is important that we look after our own wellbeing first. We usually get so caught up with our workload at school that we forget to look after ourselves, allowing our own wellbeing to deteriorate and become neglected. The reality of all this is, that ‘if we don’t look after ourselves, no one else will.’
Global research indicates that teachers are dealing with excessive workloads and unnecessary added pressure to perform. So it is no surprise that 70% of teachers claim that their job has adversely had a negative impact on their mental or physical health and in many cases, both. As a teacher, you need to learn to disengage from your profession, the classroom and find a happy life - work balance. I focus on ‘life’ first because having a happier life means that you will perform better as a teacher and function better as a human. So make time for ‘you’ identify your cut off point, even if it means you have to finish bits of work the next day. ‘Work to live, not live to work.’
Teaching is the most honourable and selfless occupation on the planet, full stop. If you don’t believe it, ask me. Teachers are the most caring, empathetic, loyal, selfless category type of humans to walk on this earth. We realise that our jobs will never make us millionaire rich but we make the future millionares and that the true rewards and job satisfaction will only presents itself intrinsically. This is an amazing, honourable, selfless and amicable trait to have as a human. This trait is often detected, identified and exploited by those intended on squeezing every ounce of labour from their workforce, regardless of the chronic fatigue (physical & mental exhaustion) that the teachers will experience. As teachers, we need to learn to realise that there needs to be a cut off point and ‘know when to, and learn to say no’, I need some me time.
Looking after ‘you’ is not a selfish act; it is compulsory and should be treated as a maintenance programme. A ‘drained battery’ will lose the quality of its output and eventually becomes lifeless. How can you be the best version of you when you are operating a quarter full and lethargic? Don’t do it. Once we learn to prioritise our own wellbeing and find practical methods that work for us. We will be able to cope with the inevitable work based stress and become more resilient when faced with situations. We will be equipped to handle them with a smile. Remember, we also inspire, influence and become role models for our students. Make sure that ‘you’ make some proactive decisions around what you are going to do, ensure that you look after your own wellbeing and remember to look after your wellbeing daily. Take that first step in an attempt to become more positive, reduce stress and to maintain a better work-life balance.