Sick,Tired and Stressed – the modern teacher’s malady.

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

As a former Deputy Head and class teacher for 22 years I read with interest the article in the Daily Telegraph today about 15,000 teachers being off sick from school every day.

I now go into many schools running my Beat Bullying – Confidence Classes for Kids Workshops and I often coach teachers and Senior Management Teams on leadership skills and I see many highly stressed teachers battling paperwork, insolent kids, disaffected parents and poor leadership from their Head Teachers so I wasn’t very surprised to read that red tape and cutbacks are harming many teachers health.

We all remember the special teachers in our lives and I always wanted to be that kind
of special teacher that the kids remembered years down the road.

In my opinion teachers need to have some important skills because they are doing
a very important job educating the next generation and motivating them to have
a lifelong love of learning – not just the ability to pass their SATS or GCSE’s.

I never knew when my words or my enthusiasm would inspire a child to be the best they
could be – open and willing to try new things and have a go, or to teach them how to develop the tenacity and self discipline to succeed when the going got

That’s why I focused so much in my later years on developing the child’s self esteem first
– because from that solid foundation a child could believe that they could achieve anything they set their mind to and this mentality and passion underpins all the work I now do with parents – because  you as  parents are the people who give your child that ultimate gift.

Becoming a great teacher takes commitment to excellence and a passion to teach. It takes knowledge of many subjects and the ability to inspire.

It takes patience, calmness and consistency. It needs routine and systems, as well as flexibility.

It takes the ability to be an excellent communicator and to be able to be both a good
listener and great speaker. It takes imagination, flair as well doing the basics well.  

Teacher’s need to be problem solvers, social workers as well as surrogate mums at times!

But it also needs great leadership because what a teacher says or does is important,
because kids are watching and learning from teachers all the time……so to me
being a great teacher is not too dissimilar from being a great parent.

Teaching has never been a well paid profession and often teachers are drawn to teach as it is a vocation. I was fascinated to hear that Johnny Saunders the Sport’s Journalist from the Chris Evans Show on BBC Radio 2 left to become a teacher.

I often now go into challenging schools in difficult and deprived areas  running my Confidence Classes for Kids – and I often feel the staff from the Head Teacher to the TA’s
and Dinner Ladies  could actually benefit from some of my NLP techniques strategies and tools. They could do with more of a positive mindset – as the language I hear is often very negative, defeatist and depressing to say nothing of everyone’s body language and their tone of  voices. With that ethos of defeat it is no wonder that there are 15,000
teachers off sick EVERY DAY in the UK……..

Children need a regular teacher whom they can trust, rely on and confide in, as well as learn from – constant Supply Teachers damage their ability to learn, as a Supply Teacher can’t provide that real consistency, or deep personal knowledge of each child built up over time, or be expected to know where the differentiation needs to take place within a daily classroom.

Michael Grove is right to be worried that sick days could be a cause for concern because they will, over time, disrupt children’s education.

Balancing teaching, handling administration, managing others, keeping up with curriculum
developments, handling parental complaints, instilling discipline, nurturing pastoral care, preparing for Ofsted and balancing home life can be enormously overwhelming and stressful.

Add working all hours, frustration caused by the amount of time spent in meetings, while buried under a mountain of paperwork to the mix, and you can see why so many teachers
are feeling overwhelmed and out of balance.

That’s why I wrote and recorded my “Successful Teacher’s Bouncing Back Toolkit as a practical way forward to help teachers, Head Teachers, TA’s and dinner ladies, handle all
the stress as I know firsthand, just how hard it is spinning all the plates and keeping all the balls in the air when I was a Deputy Head and class teacher for over 20 years.

Here is the article from the Daily Telegraph

Who are the teachers who inspired you?

I bet you can still remember them  – as well as the ones who damaged your self esteem and confidence.

Teachers need to feel valued, recognised and heard by the Government if their morale, health and positivity are to be restored in some of the schools around the UK.





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