Many people think the weeks leading up to the end of the school year are full of enjoyment and ease for teachers. After all, teachers are in the homestretch and a glorious summer break is in their sights.
The truth is, this time of year can actually be the most stressful for teachers. Not only do they have their normal, massive amount of lessons and class work, there can be even more grading, final preparations for exams, packing up for next year, loads of papers work, and even final in-class evaluations at a time when students are the most antsy.
Don’t sweat, even if the weather’s getting warmer. Follow these tips to help ease teacher stress and make the end of the school year a triumph!
Yes, the summer is within sight. And yes, there is a mountain of work and accomplishments that need to be met before you can hit the beach. It doesn’t mean you have to be down on yourself. Now’s the time of the year where you need to be your own cheerleader. Celebrate these final weeks with the students you’ve grown attached to. They’re moving on soon. Be proud of the work you’ve done so far, and know you’re going to keep it going to the very end. Bask in the rays of positivity and keep yourself motivated and smiling. This alone can be the strongest shield against stress, and it all comes from within.
Every day you have so much you hope to accomplish in your classes. Great expectations for yourself and your students is a wonderful quality to have, but this time of year is when you need to be able to decide what’s most important. This is true for what you cover and teach in your lessons, as well as how you decide what you need to work on outside of the classroom. Calling parents of students who need a boost now is more important than organizing your past lesson plans. Scheduling review sessions for your students may be more important than trying out a new lesson you picked up at a conference or professional development seminar. Save these for next year, or over the summer when you have more time to plan. Make sure the work you are doing now is the only work you need to get done. Keep it simple.
At this point in the year, you’ve set up all your expectations from you students. You have your routines and structure for daily lesson plans set. Now’s not the time to experiment or deviate from your own standards. Keep each day’s plan as simple as you can. You’ll need to make room for review sessions, so allow yourself the flexibility by keeping all your plans as clear and manageable as you can.
Go on and sweat it out. Make sure to keep up on your workout routines. Exercise is a natural stress eliminator. Endorphins help soothe the mind. It can also be treated as a reward for a hard day’s work, or a top of the morning accomplishment if you do it before work. Don’t make excuses. There is very little time in the day, so make this a priority. It’s too valuable to the rest of your work to skip.
Talk it Out
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t keep it to yourself. Turn to a friend, loved one, or trusted colleague and allow yourself to vent. Finding an ear willing to listen will allow them to assess your issues and give you advice and perspective. Keeping it bottled up will only cause more stress for you. It’s amazing what a release and relief it can be to just know someone is listening and looking out for you.
It’s Friday and you have papers to grade? Still go to Happy Hour with your colleagues. You survived an evaluation this week? Pick your favorite show on Netflix and binge-watch this weekend. Go out to dinner. Find a coffee shop, bring a book, and just read for yourself. Take your breaks when you can and enjoy your life. It will make these last few weeks much more manageable.
Cut out the Noise
This is a chance to take a month out of your personal life and streamline it to only what is necessary. If you have people who are creating negativity, take a break from them now. If you have situations and commitments that are troublesome or difficult, allow yourself to step away for the month. Clear away anything that keeps you from staying focused on finishing out the year. You have time coming up after school lets out for the summer, so give yourself a reprieve from outside stress and make this month easier for you overall.