How To Stay Sane Throughout Your Teaching Career
We live in a world where technology has made it so easy for us to complete our tasks. Yet, despite all our modern conveniences, we can never seem to have less to do. In fact, our tasks are piling up by the day. I’m sure you have seen it in so many instances in our day to day jobs.
I have been a teacher for 8 years. Teacher however is not an accurate description of my job, so let me rephrase. I have been an ‘executive education officer’ for the last 8 years. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Except the title means that I have to do more than teach. Much of my time is spent on paperwork, doing academic research and other tasks that others won’t do.
This leaves little time for me to teach. It is bad for the students because I have less time to spend helping them to improve more. I used to get extremely stressed out by this notion. However, over the years, I have learnt a few important lessons.
Less Is More
It can be rather difficult to complete the syllabus while juggling between mountains of paperwork. Furthermore, there are extracurricular activities to cover as well. While this affects the students’ performance, the responsibility falls on the teacher to ‘find a way’.
One of the valuable lessons that I have learnt over the years is that sometimes, less is more. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? The one where in an organization 20% of the people are doing the work. The theory that rectifying a cause to an issue with probably 20% of effort would yield an 80% of result. While I’m paraphrasing, the point is identifying the causes to a particular issue is better than just doing more to solve it.
This is seen very often in my classroom. My students are extremely passive and they refuse to talk in class. I have two choices, bombard them with lots of questions with hopes that they improve, or I could take time to help them identify the causes towards them refusing to talk. It took time, but upon talking to them, I found out that they were fearful of talking in the class. As such, through knowing the causes, I was able to design the class to encourage them to speak.
How You View Failures
With tight schedules and constant activities, it is near impossible to not come face to face with failure. How we view failure determines how stressed out we will be.
As such, here’s how you can view failures. Instead of looking at it as failing at a task, look at it as climbing the stairway towards success. In each failure, you’re not losing out, but learning what works for you and what does not. As you fail each for, you become better at handling your job, be it in time management or your teaching skills.
So when faced with failure, remember this, your failure each day is just your next step towards success.
Never Bring Work Home
Well, at least try, ok? Have you ever tried spending a week with a crying baby. I have one and as much as I adore my little one, there are times where I just feel like running away. I believe each teacher who reads this loves their students, but if you were to face them 24/7, I think you will start to detest your work pretty quickly.
As such, get out there! Do something fun! Life is all about balance and by relaxing and having fun, you’re doing your students a favor by coming back to class the next day, refreshed. Furthermore, if you were to spend too much time with work it creates something akin to tunnel vision. You will start seeing work everywhere, even the signs on the streets seem to be filled with grammatical errors that need to be marked with a red pen.
This tunnel vision is unhealthy because students learn best from stories. If their teacher has spent everyday in the class, it can be difficult to talk about any stories at all.
As such, go and do something fun, travel, bungee jump and tell your students about it. Despite the workload, remember that sometimes less is more and failure is all but part of the journey. Through doing so, you will not only spice up the class but bring a smile to your students’ face.