As increasing numbers of educational professionals are leaving their jobs due to demanding conditions, it’s more important than ever to relieve stress among teachers.
But how can you do this? We have a few ideas.
Why is relieving stress so important?
1 in 83 teachers is on long-term leave for stress and mental health issues. That’s 3,750 in the UK alone.
Approximately 1.3 million sick days have been taken for teachers dealing with stress and mental health issues in the past four years. In 2016, this figure stood at just 312,000.
This “epidemic of stress” is certainly taking its toll on teachers, but the students also suffer as a result. They end up with an inconsistent and ineffective learning environment but are still expected to reach the top grades.
Why are stress levels increasing?
Recent changes to educational policy have placed new pressures on teachers, and they didn’t have an easy job to begin with.
There is now a huge focus on demonstrating progress through assessment. In addition to this, there have been huge changes to both curriculum and grading, including the shift from A-G to 1-9 grades at GCSE.
Ofsted ratings increase pressure for all school staff; especially as there are now many more ways in which a school can fail.
Members of the school leadership team (SLT) can also be punished if they fall below certain levels. This ramps up the pressure and eventually leads to burnout of some of the most experienced staff members.
Budget cuts leading to fewer resources and fewer staff have put extra strain on teachers. This requires them to work longer hours, so they now complete the highest amount of unpaid overtime of any profession. Typically, a teacher will work over 55 hours a week.
These stressful working conditions are not sustainable. They will eventually lead to burnout and very few teachers will return to the profession. It will also deter people from becoming teachers in the first place, and the profession already has a severe skills shortage.
Ultimately, this will result in children’s education being negatively impacted, so we must relieve stress among teachers as soon as possible.
4 ways to relieve stress among teachers
Many schools are looking for new ways to relieve stress among teachers. Here are a few of our favourites:
1. Mindfulness days
Give teachers a few days off during term time so they can concentrate on themselves. This will let them recharge their batteries outside of busy weekends, half terms and school holidays.
You could also offer mindfulness training to help them centre themselves and find a moment of calm during the school day.
2. Close school early
Most teachers end up staying at school well past 6pm due to their heavy workloads.
Closing the school at a reasonable hour, 5pm for example, will make teachers go home and enjoy being in a different environment.
Yes, they may have to do some work from home, but it’s probably better for them to do it in a comfortable, relaxed environment from a mental health viewpoint.
3. Talk about it
Stress is a taboo in most schools, however it’s an ailment that’s affecting the entire education sector.
Ensure that your teachers have someone to talk to about their feelings and someone who can support them if they become overwhelmed. Counselling might help them formulate coping strategies which can help them in day-to-day life as well as in teaching.
Teachers have a lot on their plates. So, we must find a way to spread the workload while still delivering a first-class educational experience.
Luckily, there are several accredited UK agencies that can help with many areas of education.
For example, WorldStrides can take over and organise an entire school trip, as well as offer teachers support when needed. We can keep things moving to schedule and allow teachers to concentrate on other areas (like assessments).
We can give teachers peace of mind and help them prepare for a trip well in advance. Sounds good, right?
Let us take control of your school trip planning so you can focus on other priorities. Call our experts today to find out how we can help!