Health and wellbeing

There are days in teaching when everything just feels as if it's getting on top of you.

There are days in teaching when everything just feels as if it's getting on top of you.

Your lessons don't go as well as you expected, your pupils don't behave as well as they should, your assessment is not quite up to date and you've lost that piece of paper that had some really good links for resources. Everything is magnified and it happens because you are tired. One stress builds on another until you feel utterly overwhelmed.

Recognise what is happening and don't let yourself believe it's because you cannot cope or you are doing something wrong. By the end of the day you'll be like a bear with sore paw.

Rest and revitalise

Get yourself home and into a more restful evening. Rest and revitalise yourself. You'll be amazed just how much sheer tiredness impacts on your ability to solve problems and cope with the job.

Take your breaks


Many years ago workers fought and won the right to have rest breaks throughout the day. They did this for good reason. You need them and you function better. This rule goes for teachers too. Take the interval and lunch break and come off "planet teacher" for a short while.

Your brain needs the break and some light hearted staff room chat is probably just what you need to ease the tension you feel after explaining the intricacies of numerical configurations or grammatical rules to your charges. Join in the staff room analysis of the latest Coronation Street romance or Strictly Come Dancing efforts and ten minutes later you'll feel ready to go back into your classroom and begin the challenge of driving the lesson and your pupils towards the lunch time bell.

School trips


Getting involved in school trips is a great sacrifice of goodwill and time on your part. It is part of whole school life and is part of the rich mix of being a teacher. Rule one is pace yourself; rule two is pace yourself is rule three.

Your pupils will be able to go on wide awake alert for up to 48 hours. You are older and not at all excited by the prospect of a safari park or castle. You will not be driven by adrenaline and will need your sleep. The problem is that your pupils will not.

If you have an overnight stay expect them to be very excited about the thought of spending time away from home. Stay up as long as it takes to get them as settled as they will be and don't expect to be allowed to sleep right through the night.

Rest when you can but at the same time understand that you have a duty of responsibility and you cannot fulfil this if you are sound asleep on the bus!

Coping with illness


It is inevitable that you will take ill at some time in the school year. You must be responsible and take the time off to at least get past the infectious stage. Your pupils and colleagues will not be pleased to share your symptoms. You will affect the school curriculum by causing others to go off ill, affect your pupils learning by passing on your cold and leaving them to suffer the consequences of a red nose and irritating sniffle.

You will not function well if you have to hop around the classroom with a sore leg, hang over your desk in agony from a sore stomach or run for the toilets as your bowel performs somersaults.

Your class will be there when you come back and your competent colleagues will have stepped in for you. Remember you will have to do the same for them at some point!



Teachers are always accused of having long holidays. One year in the classroom and you will know why that is. Your job is such that you need the breaks to recover and recoup. Use them to let your body and mental well being do exactly that.

Do not be one of these people who buy large storage boxes to get all your papers to the car to take home for the holidays. If you are rested and recovered these boxes will have remained intact in the back room ready to go back to school untouched.

You will perform well in the classroom when you have energy so use your breaks as pit stops to get your engine retuned.