Alka Kapur, (CBSE & State Awardee) Principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi is an empowering leader, a zealous educationist with rich academic and administrative experience offering an illustrious career of 32 years in educational research. As the Principal of the school, she has taken the school to great heights through open attitude for learning and love for children. Twenty years of her sedulous selfless service as the Principal of the school has accorded the school a priceless status in Forbes India Marquee Edition, The Great Indian Schools.
Teaching is an extremely rewarding profession, but it can be, at times, stressful too. Done right, teachers can not only change the lives of children they teach but light up their hearts as well. It is, therefore, extremely important for teachers to stay in a good mental space. Not much attention was paid towards this in the recent past, but following the mainstream trend of positive psychology, the world has started to look at the issue from a different angle. Nowadays, teacher well-being isn’t just about the absence of illness at work. Instead, it is about teachers functioning healthily and successfully at work. Well-being is all about establishing equilibrium between the positive forces and the challenges at work.
Here are some of the ways that you in the capacity of being a teacher can take to ensure your well-being:
- Rediscover the purpose
Oftentimes, when things get difficult, try to go back in your head and figure out why you decided to become a teacher in the first place. That could be the spark you need.
- Teach with a growth mindset
If you’ve settled too much into the groove and you’re not trying to improve your skills as a teacher, then it’s likely that you may face boredom and burnout. Just like your students, you’re also in a constant state of learning and growth.
- Be kind and gracious
By being kind and appreciative, you’re putting positivity out in your work environment. That positivity will be reflected back at you multifold in terms of positive emotions, stronger social connections and improved wellbeing. Before going to sleep, ponder on what happened during the day and recall at least 3 good things that happened.
- Focus on solutions, not on problems
Teaching is inherently stressful, and you’ve got to deal with challenges every day. Unless you’ve set up a debriefing structure, you’ll find it difficult to manage those challenges. When they become too much to handle, you’ll feel tired and burnt out. If you cannot do so on your own, ask a colleague to help you out or set up an official mentor-mentee relationship.
- Build good sleeping habits
If you want to maintain physical and psychological health, you need to get good sleep on a daily basis. Not sleeping enough will cause you to wake up tired and then you’ll find the smallest of inconveniences irritating to a great degree.
Develop a regular bedtime routine; it may include reading, taking a bath, watching your favorite show, or just meditating and reflecting on the daily happenings.
- Plan in advance
Learn to manage stress proactively. There are certain periods that are going to be more stressful than others – for instance board exams. From invigilation duty to preparing students properly to evaluating answer sheets, there is a lot that you must do. Try to plan out and chart a strategy for dealing with such stressful scenarios.
- Focus on your goals
A life without direction is a life headed towards certain doom. Introspect, and try to find out what it is that you want from your profession. Do you want to see your students succeed? Do you want to become a principal or headmaster/headmistress? Do you want to join the board and make administrative decisions? There are a lot of questions that you must sift through, but it is absolutely necessary that you do so if you want clarity.
It is our tendency to expect rewards for doing good work. While it is the primary responsibility of the school to reward its teachers who are putting in the effort to better students’ lives, the teachers should reward themselves as well. It is important to reward yourself when you achieve your personal and professional goals.
- Build new relationships
Building new relationships and connections is key to our wellbeing. Spend some time and get to know your students and colleagues. Don’t try to run away from the community, become an active participant in it and you will see the change.