15 Stress-Busting Tips From Teachers

By Meg Bozzone
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

By the time the school bell rings every day, you've probably made more decisions than a Fortune 500 executive, been on your feet longer than a marathon runner, negotiated peace agreements any diplomat would envy, and given your vocal cords a workout that rivals anything Mariah Carey or Jennifer Hudson go through. What can you do to reduce the stress? You can't check into a spa for six weeks, but you can benefit from this collection of stress-busting strategies from experienced teachers who survived those first difficult months of teaching from September to December, and beyond!

  • Break down whatever you have to do into smaller tasks. If you have to tackle a beast, carve it into nibble-sized hors d'oeuvres.
  • Think of things that make teaching fun for you - and do them!
  • Deal openly with a colleague who has bothered or upset you before the situation festers.
  • Try not to take things personally because often comments aren't meant to be digs.
  • Stay in close touch with nature. Talk to classroom pets, take a class outdoors if weather and school policy permit it, open the windows at snack time, find a way to incorporate the change of seasons and nature walks into your curriculum.
  • Make time during the school year for your hobbies. Don't wait for summer vacation.
  • Apologize when you're wrong.
  • Put a cartoon or photo that makes you laugh in you plan book or desk drawer and look at it when you need a boost.
  • Take a walk during lunch, a planning period, or after school. During your walk, don't think about the things you have to do.
  • Steer clear of the coffee pot in the faculty room. Too much caffeine can make you nervous and irritable.
  • Keep in mind that no matter what colleagues, your principal, students, or parents think or say, you're basically a good teacher who can't please all the people all the time.
  • Don't listen to the rumors that fly around the school.
  • Give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing for five minutes a day — and not feel guilty about it.
  • Just say no. Politely refuse to take on more projects than you can handle, even if a colleague, your principal, or a parent asks you to.
  • Be grateful to have a meaningful job.


This article originally appeared in Instructor magazine, published by Scholastic.

  • Subjects:
    Stress, New Teacher Resources, Teacher Tips and Strategies

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