Stress in Teaching

A site full of real practical ideas and advice for stressed teachers: 
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Shout and you've lost

Posted on April 23, 2012 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Never shout: it might get you a hearing at the time, but it will have no effect other than to give the students something to complain about, or to laugh about.

Get there in time

Posted on April 23, 2012 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Nothing worse than arriving late for a lesson, especially if you keep on doing it. Students will be in the wrong frame of mind, and that will be the norm for them.

Latest session with James

Posted on March 12, 2012 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (2)


1st Session  February 22, 2012 at 9:25 AM )

James came today telling me about what happened in school. He was asked to cover a lesson, and there was no work set. The students weren't much help, and he couldn't find anyone to help from the relevant department. He felt like walking out!

After some time and discussion James realised that there were other ways around the issue, and that he needed to re-think the way he behaved when he first entered the room. His body language communicated his feelings to the class. He did admit that there were some very helpful pupils in the room, so he could have approached them individually rather than talking to the class as a whole.

James went away feeling supported as he had a course to follow the next time this happened.



Today (2nd march) James had another issue he wanted to discuss. He feels his line manager is a time server, and is not offering him suppport with the development of his career. I suggested he approach SMT to see if they can arrange a mentor for him, somone from another department. Will see how this goes in a week!


Session 12 March 2012

James reported great results with our suggestions from the last session. These ideas had really helped him in difficult situations.

He came today with a worry about his line manager who was again being very demanding. We talked about black and white thinking, and about computer thinking, and made some progress in the session. Then we looked at the MYE programme which also helped. I talked through a coaching scenario with his line manager, and suggested that he actually volunteers to take over some of the role and write this into his performance management targets: this will then be passed to the head.
This will have one of two effects. Either the head will back it, and it will be excellent for James' career development, and he will get some CPD to help him. Or, the head will tell James that the tasks he is suggesting he do should actually be done by the HOD. In either case, it will be a win for James. Session ended with some re-affirmations of James' strengths.

29 March 2012

James has spoken to his line manager and was called to see the head, who offered him the role of PSHE coordinator! James is unsure whether or not he should take it up. He asked his line manager who just told him it was his decision, so he is thinking it through. On the one hand he knows the school is desperate to appoint someone from within. On the other if he doesn't start taking these opportunities, it might not do him much good career-wise. I have advised him to think hard about it, and decide where he wants to be in 2 or 3 years, and what the best course of action would be to get him there. Simple coaching: I must say he is much more upbeat: 'I'm just glad someone is thinking about me in this way'!

22 April 2012

Haven't seen James for a few weeks due to the Easter break. He has decided to take on the role of PSHE coordinator, and has had a real burst of energy, going into school a couple of times during the break and getting things organised. He has decided to take over the role immediately. I have suggested to him that he gets himself a mentor at school so he can check that he is ‘on the right lines’. He has already had staff asking him for resources, and he has felt at a loss and that he has let people down already. We did some visualisations and I gave him some NLP tools to be used as and when he needs them. James is working into the night trying to get resources ready for everyone: we have worked on the ‘you can’t please everyone all the time’ approach. James is in danger of being a computer-thinker (a perfectionist). We have done some work on guarding against this, but I do see a danger for him. He is reporting that his stress levels are much reduced and he is looking forward to his new role. I have asked him to think about the stresses in his private life before we next meet. It is very rare that personal and private stresses do NOT affect working life.

30 April 2012

We talked about James' family life. He has 2 sons, 12 and 15years old. They give him lots of sleepless nights, but as he says, they 'are not bad lads'. The 15 year old thinks he knows everything, and the 12 year old follows his older brother in most of the things he does and his attitudes. James finds himself using the same phrases as he uses at school when he speaks to them, they pick up on this, (‘we’re not in your class Dad’;) and this winds him up even more.

We have re-framed James’ thinking here. I used some imagery in a meditation,and then he ‘took the place’ of his elder son in another meditation/hypnotherapy session. This opened his eyes to the way his some was feeling, and we looked at the students in his lessons to compare the way he reacts.Some really good work and James was very pleased and re-invigorated.

James’ work with his PSHE role was going well. He has asked that next time we look at some specific situations where he gets stressed, particularly some students, and his break/bus duty, where he has some real issues.


James is having real problems with his PSHE role. He thinks that the staff are not really interested and just want the resources. He has had supply staff complaining because they didn’t have the work for the classes: this had not been passed on by the absent teacher. One particular member of staff had failed to hand on work and had been absent for 3 sessions. To top it all, he was caught on the hop at his first HOD meeting and didn’t even have an agenda.
We worked through these issues one at a time. First, he needs to ensure that all staff are responsible for their own lessons. He provides the work but they still have that responsibility. We worked on a communication to this effect, which he will copy to the leadership team. He will also identify the line management structure, which has not yet been done for him. This message to the staff will tell them that they must pass on work to anyone covering, as for all other lessons. He has also asked the cover supervisor to let him know when PSHE lessons had cover staff. We also worked on a message for the teacher who had missed 3 lessons, and James was going to talk to her line manger to see if she had a problem with PSHE sessions. As for the HOD meeting, James needed to ask the network team to put him on the relevant email distribution list. James left with a plan of action and felt much better and more positive.


Haven't seem James for a while but got a call from him wanting to see me urgently. One of the staff on the PSHE programme he organises has complained to her line manager that he has not been providing the correct work for her classes. James was in a real state about this, and really let it get on top of him, wondering what he could do and feeling terrible. He says he 'hates it' when a so-called 'superior' wants to 'have a word'. This was mainly a coaching session. First I asked with a score out of 10 how sure he was that he had given the teacher the correct work. He said this was a 10. I asked him what the worst thing that could happen in this situation might be. He said that the head teacher would think badly of him. I pointed out that the head was unlikely to know, and even so, James had the evidence that he had provided the work. We did some work on how much relevance he gave to what other people thought, which seemed to work for him. He decided after much deliberation that he would ask the line manager of the complaining teacher if he could meet, and pint out where the work was and how it had been provided. He wanted to do this with the line manager as a witness. He left feeling good, with a plan of action for this incident, and a plan for the times when this sort of thing will happen in the future.

18 Oct 2012

James hasn’t been to see me for a long time: about 2months.

During the summer holiday James went to his relations in Italy, and at thestart of term he stayed there. ‘I just couldn’t face it after Italy, whereeverything was great: sun, wine, relaxation … How could I come back to England?I just forgot about all my responsibilities.’
James went on to tell me that he had returned 4 weeks late to face the governors:he provided medical evidence for depression at the hearing, and he has been putonto the first stage of ‘Competency’. The school he teaches at, by chance, usethe MYE programme for the first stage in their competency policy and procedure,so James came to me yesterday to use the MYE programme. This includes reportsand action plans for teachers. James has come out as a ‘Stagnant Thinker’ wherehis thinking gets stuck in a cycle he can’t get out of. He has gone away with theaction plan: other than that he didn’t really want to say much. He did admitfeeling very guilty and that he had let everyone down. We worked on thesefeelings. I have every confidence in James, and I think the MYE will suit himwell. We have arranged to meet in 2 weeks.


Time is tight!

Posted on March 5, 2012 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (2)

Teachers are always getting emails starting with 'I know it's a busy time of year, but ...'
Get into a new mind set: it's always busy as a teacher, but that's part of the job you love. The more you say you haven't got time, the more you won't have time!

Black and White thinker

Posted on March 2, 2012 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (1)

Just met a black and white thinker: she thinks that everything in school is either good or bad, it's either for her or against her. It only takes the slightest incident for something or someone to be 'against' her. I have asked her to try more 'rainbow thinking' and she is going to try the MYE programme.

What sort of teacher are you? Computer

Posted on February 22, 2012 at 4:35 AM Comments comments (3)

A computer thinker is someone who thinks that it is good to be a perfectionist. It isn't. The only thing you will be able to do is disappoint yourself because nobody is perfect!

Don't overdo it!

Posted on February 22, 2012 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Don't keep using the same technique to get the class to listen to you. I heard a teacher keep on saying 'shush' and the class just took it as part of life in that room rather than a request to be quiet!