Being an NQT is stressful. There is no doubt about it. No matter how organised you are, how ‘good’ at being a teacher you are or how calm you can be; being a newly qualified teacher is tough.
I’ve said it before, i’m not a stressful person, before this course I didn’t get stressed. During my PGCE year, I loved it, I didn’t get stressed at all. While others around me flapped and moaned, I was skipping to the next lecture. I had a life, I didn’t stay up past 10pm, I got my full 8 hrs of sleep a night and I think, because of all these reasons, it hit me hard when I realised that this year was stressing me out.
I have had sleepless nights, a stress rash on my face and exhaustion so bad I thought I may not last the day. But slowly and surely I am ridding myself of stress and I am successfully learning how to deal with things. It’s been a while since I felt ‘stressed’ and I am slowly feeling like my old self. Here are a few of my tips, they’re not perfect, won’t be right for everyone, but somehow they are working for me.
Have a cut off: Some people I know stay in work until 6pm, go home, have dinner and then continue to work until 11pm. This is just not healthy. You must, must, must have a cut off point. I have heard of people working until 1am in the morning. WHY?! You need to be strict with yourself. I don’t like to work past 9pm, but that doesn’t mean I’m working non stop when i get home from work. I might do an hour at the most. But that is because after an hr, I wouldn’t get any quality work done. Know when to cut off and stick to it, no matter what.
Go to the gym: I used to go to the gym four times a week before I started working at school in September. Then as the workload increased and the nights got darker I stopped going. During December, I started back again. I realised that not only am i keeping fit, it is a great stress reliever as for an hr I think about nothing but finishing my spin class or running to the latest pop song. It really is a time to empty my mind.
Book a holiday: Last Sunday it was raining, cold and the whole of 2014 loomed before me with nothing to look forward to. On a whim, i literally booked a holiday for the last day of term in July. Just like that I was excited and had something to aim for. I can see the end of the school year and I am already picturing myself on the hot beach soaking up the sun. Everyone needs something to look forward to and I think it should be made law that every teacher has to have at least one beacj holiday a year.
Do something at the weekends: I have had weekends where i have caught up on work, made all my resources and finished all my marking, but when you come back to school on Monday, you just feel like crap. ‘Did you have a nice weekend?’ Well, actually, no, because all I did was work. I have also noticed that if i have something planned for the weekend, I get my work done faster. This weekend I went out for dinner and drinks with friends on Friday and Saturday night, which meant that I managed to get my planning done Saturday afternoon- normally I wouldn’t. But I knew that I wouldn’t be able to relax if I didn’t and this gave me the push to get it done.
Spend time with family: I love spending time with family because they don’t care about my job. They don’t ask me about my pupil’s progress and they don’t want to discuss targets. They also help me relax as they cheer me up and allow me to be me.
Spend time with work colleagues: On the other hand, it is great to socialise with the staff at your school. The reason I get out of bed and feel happy to go to work each morning is because of the great relationships I have with the staff. No one will ‘get’ you like your work colleagues, even other teacher friends at other schools will never understand how annoying John Baker from 2T can be after pe on a Monday.
Treat yourself: We work hard and we don’t get paid enough in my opinion, so it is only right that we treat ourselves. Each month I am putting money away to treat myself to a Mulberry handbag at the end of the year. Another thing to look forward too 😉
Plan nice things: Have nice things planned so that it breaks up the academic year and makes those long terms seem that little bit shorter. A coffee with a friend, a cinema date, a chat on the phone to your best friend.
And remember we are NQTs, thousands wish that they were too. We really are the lucky ones.