By Teachers, For Teachers
Why does it seem like teachers are always complaining that they are so tired? Well, that’s because they are tired. If you’re like most teachers, then you have a lot on your plate, which means it can get exhausting. If you’ve been in the profession for a while, then you’re probably used to it, but wouldn’t it feel great to not feel so tired? Teacher fatigue is something your non-teacher friends probably laugh at. We do have our nights and weekends free, so how can we possibly be tired? Or so they think. After all, we’re just educating the youth of today to be the leaders of tomorrow, that’s not tiring at all! Enter the sarcasm: It’s not like we’re building houses or saving lives all day. We are tired because we are making decisions all day long. We are constantly worrying about our students and what we have to do get done, not to mention the high-intensity emotions that we have to deal with as well as go through ourselves. It’s exhausting. As tiring as it may be, there are a few classroom management techniques that we can do to combat it.
One of the most stressful times of the year is before and after the holidays. This is a time when teacher fatigue really sets in. The holidays are a busy time of year, because not only do you have to get ready for them, but you also have to plan for the return after them as well. To make things easy on yourself, plan for before and after the holidays, not just before. This may seem like a lot more work, but you’ll be less tired when you get back from break if you have all of your lesson plans set in stone. The less work you have to do, the less tired you’ll be.
You’ll be a more-effective educator if you take your foot off of the gas pedal and push the brake once in a while. Teacher fatigue hits teachers who are hardworking. The more that you do, the more tired you’ll become. Give yourself permission to slow down a little bit. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be a hardworking teacher and must walk away from all of your responsibilities, it just means that you need to prioritize your tasks and take some time for just you and your needs.
Teacher fatigue can lead to other health issues, such as getting run-down and getting sick faster. Before you know it, you’re calling in sick because it all caught up to you. Take the time to rest when you’re tired. Go to bed earlier and try and sleep in on the weekends or take a power nap. If you feel like you’re always irritable and tired, then maybe it’s time to get a checkup at the doctor’s office. Take a moment to listen to your body and hear what it’s saying. If something doesn’t feel right, then maybe it’s not.
We live in a world where everything that we do is plugged in. Sometimes it can get overwhelming with all of the technology that is intertwined in our lives. Try and take a technology time-out and put your smartphone or tablet away. Get off of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Stop texting and emailing every spare second that you have. Erase the mind-boggling games on your phone and stop scouring the Internet and Pinterest. Try it for an hour, a day, or a week, you choose. Technology fatigue is a real thing and is causing an increase in stress and our sleep patterns. Take a break and you’ll reap the benefits of feeling great again.
It is said that teachers make as many as 1500 decisions a day. That’s about a decision every four minutes. No wonder teachers are so exhausted. If you were to make fewer decisions then you may feel less fatigued. How are you going to make fewer decisions? You’re going to pass those decisions onto your students. Give up some control and allow your students to take over. If you have to decide what homework to give, let the students decide. If you have to decide what groups to place students in, let the students decide. Try and have a more student-centered classroom where they are ones who are in charge of their own learning. Fewer decisions equal more energy for you.
You can fight teacher fatigue by planning ahead, listening to your body, getting enough rest, taking a break from technology and by making fewer decisions. When you do all of these things, you will feel better.
How do you fight teacher fatigue? Do you have any classroom management strategies that work well for you? Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.