1. Take A Golden Moment
2. Avoid Negativity
It is of course natural to want to avoid dealing with these negative staff-members. If they are so insecure as to routinely defame their students, they will think nothing of turning their bullying tactics on you once your leave the staffroom. However, if you wish to continue to enjoy the company of the rest of your workmates sooner or later it will be necessary to deal with the negative teachers. If you do engage them, do not invite conflict. Engage them with empathy and positivity. Remember, any teachers who are having continuous conflict with students are most likely insecure in their practice or in some other aspect of their personal lives. Though it is a thoroughly negative means of drawing attention to deeper problems, this constant giving out is, in its own way, most likely a cry for help.
A good way to deal with such teachers is to not allow them to make their criticisms personal. Draw the focus away from the child and instead identify with the teacher what the behavioural issue is and what is a reasonable solution. So instead of saying “Mike is just an annoying kid”, which enables the negative teacher, ask “How can we get Mike on the right track?” Keep responding only in this tone and turn the teacher’s negativity into productivity. This forces the negative teacher to change his attitude and it also ensures that the staffroom remains a stress-free place where all teachers can relax during their hard-earned breaks.
3. Manage your Physical Well-being
- Bring a cheerful-looking glass jug or a canister to school. Keep it on your desk as a reminder to drink more water. Set yourself a daily goal.
- In winter, clementines are a great and easy-to-eat source of Vitamin C. Keep a net in your cubby or pigeonhole.
- Like your students, pack a morning snack and lunch. It will prevent you snacking throughout the day and keep you in control of your diet rather than putting you at the mercy of the canteen or local gas station.
- If you can, come an hour early to school and go for a jog or a swim in the school facilities. You will be refreshed and energised for the day ahead when the students arrive.
- Keep one day of the weekend for yourself and your family/friends. It is too easy to allow school to consume your private life. Be strict about giving yourself permission to relax.
- If you fall ill do not come to school. You will not want to let your students down and no one will thank you for making your colleagues and students ill also.
- Establish a good sleep-pattern and avoid drinking alcohol excessively during the week and on Sundays.
- Be fair to your family/friends. Manage your stress by agreeing to 10 minutes only to blow off steam about your day when you come home.
- If your social circle is dominated by teachers keep school-related conversations positive and constructive.
- Be forgiving of yourself and keep perspective. You will make mistakes and you will have off-days but luckily you are not a heart surgeon. There is always tomorrow to get it right.
As you begin the new academic year please be aware that you are in a profession that is hugely rewarding and important but also stressful. In order to minimise stress and be the best teacher you can be for your students write a stress-management contract for yourself. Promise that this year you will take a golden moment each day, you will avoid negativity and you will commit to practical and manageable activities to maintain your physical health.
Importantly, if you are worried that you are becoming burned out please do not hesitate to seek professional help.