5 Ways Online Teachers Can Manage Stress Teaching online isn't always easy. Here are some tips to help you decompress.
Teaching online can be more challenging than most people would imagine, and can lead to high levels of stress.
There is a lot of pressure to get things right on one’s own. And, without the support an educator can receive from his or her colleagues in a live classroom, teachers can find navigating the online roadmap to be a bit more bumpy.
Teaching online can also feel isolating. Exchanging emails and reading comments in the digital world are not substitutes for direct interaction.
One of the other significant challenges online teachers face is the lack of validation and feedback they typically receive in a brick and mortar school. In a live classroom, teachers often have interactions with students, and they can see the immediate impact regarding instruction, content, and the ability to check for understanding.
These challenges can lead to online teachers dealing with high levels of stress.
If you are teaching online, here are five tips to help you stay calm and enjoy your role.
1. Get Moving
Carve out some time in your day to get moving. Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood. If you can get out in the fresh air and walk outside, or even go to the gym, you’ll be much happier. It doesn’t matter what it is you choose to do, as long as it gets your blood pumping and gives you a break from all the screen time. When you are working in a solo situation, it is easy to forget to take these breaks as you don’t have colleagues interrupting you and forcing the break that ultimately helps you to focus.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep and stress are linked together in a negative cycle. A lack of sleep can increase your stress levels, and having high-stress levels can make it that much harder to fall and stay asleep. Make quality sleep a priority; it is one of the essential ways to look after yourself and prevent any future health problems. Your body needs to rebuild and recharge.
3. Build A Strong Network
Make sure you have a secure and supportive network in place. One of the best ways to reduce your stress levels is to talk to someone who will listen. Since you don’t have the face to face support of colleagues around you, you should connect with those in your personal and professional life to talk about things you may be carrying on your shoulders. If you work with other teachers online, try to meet with them in a live environment to build those bridges and relationships through common means.
4. Get Away From The Computer
Make sure that you spend time away from your screens and your mobile devices. When much of your work revolves around interacting with students using computers, you may find that you spend inordinate amounts of time bathed in the blue glare of screens. Make sure you build time into every day to shut down your digital life. Try reading a physical book, listen to music, play with your kids and get enough sunshine and vitamin D.
5. Accept Change
Accept that there are things in your teaching life that you may not be able to change. For example, you may not be able to provide the perfect lesson when technology mishaps occur. Or perhaps you can’t exert the influence over your students that you could if you were to meet with them in a regular classroom. You have to accept the limitations of what you are doing and find ways to work around those problems. Move away from complaining and negativity, and try to find solutions that work around any changes you may face working and teaching in a digital environment.
Here are some of the top stress tips from teachers who are currently teaching online for 51Talk.
“The best advice I can offer is to go to bed earlier, and keep the same schedule even when you’re not teaching.” – Ronni Rae
“One way that online teaching is different from teaching in a classroom is that you’re often in the same place for a very long time. That can put a lot of stress on your body, so I workout 6 days a week. It helps with physical and emotional stress.” – Kelly Carson Fowler
“Stand for the majority of your teaching time. You can order a standing desk from Amazon. I also suggest taking up Yoga. There are many good stretching and stress-reducing poses you can practice within 3 minutes.” – James Seymour
“I listen to those students who feel they can talk to me about other things than the lesson. It takes some pressure and stress off of me and them to connect in a different way or by adding onto our lesson. We feel like real friends and not just student and teacher. I am thankful for those times.” – Shaundra Schlapia
“I think when you’re a new teacher for online teaching it can be intimidating. There are different expectations you will have, and being prepared will relieve stress when teaching students. You will have to manage a different way, and what I first started doing in the first months is creating a checklist of what I needed. Some of the items in the checklist was downloading my lessons, taking screenshots, checking for technical requirements, etc. This planning helped in identifying my time management, and reducing wasted time.” – Alicia Reyes
What other decompressing tools do you keep in your teacher’s toolbox?