Surviving primary school teaching

The added pressures of the pandemic mean that building resilience in order to survive as a primary school teacher has never been more important: it rests on finding a healthy balance between personal and classroom life!

As a primary school teacher, there will always be something you could be doing out of the classroom like marking an assignment or lesson/curriculum preparation but try to resist from work overload at home. Accepting your ‘to do’ list will always be full, will give you the headspace to allow yourself time. Spend time doing an activity which helps you to switch off from teaching, get plenty of sleep and find ways to make yourself energised and feeling good.

Connect with People
Build a support network both at school and at home.  When people become pressured or stressed within the classroom, there can be a tendency to isolate yourself from other people to optimise spare time. Don’t sit in the staffroom marking papers, chat to other teachers – breaks are there for a reason. Don’t go home and ignore the phone ringing because you’re planning tomorrow’s lesson, take the time to speak to family and friends.  We are all aware of the rewards of primary teaching and staying connected to people will help your work life balance in order to retain the job satisfaction.

Whatever stage of your primary teaching career you are at, there will be someone you can learn from. The best mentors are people you admire and respect, ideally someone within your primary school, but if no one jumps out as an obvious mentor, take time to watch some TED Talks, you’ll find plenty of inspiring primary teachers to follow and learn from.

Being organised is an essential element of primary teaching.  Planning lessons and curriculum well in advance will give you the opportunity to be creative in your primary teaching; spending time planning ahead will save you stress in the future. Being organised at home will have a significant impact on your performance during the week, organise clothes, shopping, dinners, lunches and even catchup nights with friends and family.

As a primary school teacher will you encounter numerous ‘emergency’ days were a child has forgotten their snacks, lunches or hairband, the list is endless and there will also be occasions you’ll need a card, sweets, tissues, wipes, clips, safety pins – again the list is endless. Create an emergency box and build on it, so you have resources on hand.

Once you’ve found a good balance survival as a primary school teacher will become so much more enjoyable!