Teacher stress is no joke…

Can I just say that teacher stress is no joke?

Oh my gosh! So my stress level as I get closer to our state testing is through the roof. I feel like I am now under so much stress. Let me explain before you just to think I’m crazy.

So as a teacher you have many different hats you wear, right? The hats are you wear are:

  • nurse
  • mom
  • Dr.
  • psychiatrist
  • teacher
  • mathematician
  • scientist
  • expert storyteller
  • field trip organizer
  • IEP Creator
  • IEP Enforcer
  • Lawsuit avoider
  • Rule abider
  • Standards modifier
  • behavior monitor
  • Award Winning positive role model
  • Setting the stage to engage creator
  • and so much more!

All while shuffling around 55 plates.

You have the most deadlines that could possibly ever come in your life. You need to have your RRR done by a certain day. You need to make sure they are graded and put in by a certain date or time. You need to make sure that you have your IEP meetings all scheduled and taken care of. All of your IEP‘s are being held up and applied. If you don’t follow that IEP to a T, guess what then you have a lawsuit on your hands.

On top of that did you also remember those 504‘s and those EP’s you have to do? Did you remember that you have to turn in paperwork prior to your IEP? Did you remember that you are required to respond to parent emails in 24 hours! And if you don’t you will hear about it… Trust me you’ll hear about it. Did you also remember to make sure that your students are happy? Because if you didn’t guess what, their parents are going to calling you and letting you know that they are not happy. Want me to add even more cream to the crop? You also have to make sure that all students are happy with everyone in the classroom because guess what, your parents will hear about it. You also have to make sure your students are learning… got to make those gains! You also have to make sure that you are keeping your kids engaged… #AreYouSerious #I’mcompetingwithvideogames.

Did you ever even think that you need to write that IEP today so it’s ready for tomorrow? Did you think that what your kids saw at home will be coming to your classroom? Because it will and it will come right back to you. On top of that they want to know everything that they possibly can about you. They want to know every single thing that you do while you are not at school. How many of you tell your kids that you live at school? Because I do.

Do you even think that the amount of stress that a teacher has is less than a normal job? Do we get summers off? Yes. Do we deserve every second of it? Absolutely. Do you teach 24 kids every day? Do you have to make sure they learn everything within a 4 and a half hour day over 180 days? Don’t forget that in between there we have to have recess while making sure there are no broken bones. Do you have to make sure every SINGLE thing you do is done properly because if you don’t your scores will suck. Also, your test score is based off of how well you taught last year. Forget the fact that you had kids melting down each and every day. Forget the fact that you lost hours upon hours in fire drills, code red, code blue, tornado drills, picture day, retake of pictures for picture day, class pictures, an author visit, and so much more. It doesn’t matter because honestly when it comes to the end of the year you MUST still have your kids perform on a state test and they must do well enough for you to receive a 1% raise. Also, I don’t want to be the one to tell you this but you will get paid like crap. You are one of the lowest paying jobs but you are expected to teacher America’s (or whatever country you are in) future.

But did you ever stop to think why do we do this? This job is not a quick job like you can go and wake up in the morning to do it because I’d love to see somebody try.

We as teachers have an important job. We have to make sure that every day counts. That every moment counts. We make sure that when you walk in the classroom you feel loved. That you feel like you have a place in this world. Because you do… It’s in our classroom. Please do not assume that in our classroom that everything falls in place. We bought all of those decorations. We bought all those cute tables to encourage students either work at a small group table or work at a standing table. You need to spend your own money to make your classroom perfect. And let me add that stress right now about the Pinterest perfect classroom don’t do it, all right, it’s not worth it. It’s not even something you should consider because you know what’s the most important piece is that you love your kids.

And there are going to be days that you won’t like them…no no no… you won’t. You can’t because just like you don’t like your friends or siblings during certain moments of your life, you won’t like them but this moment. I don’t like your attitude that kind of moment is the one that you don’t want. It does not mean that you don’t love them. I made it a priority to tell me kids that I still love them even if they made a mistake. Those kids spent majority of the year with you and they are learning the learning from you. You owe it to them to teach them how to be proper human beings as well. They’re learning how to pick  up positive behaviors and negative behaviors from you.

Is there even more stress that I am not remembering? Yeaup.

But you have to remember that the most important piece of being a teacher is it’s kind of like a puzzle.

The puzzle piece that some days the pieces will fit… And some days you cannot figure out how to get the put back together again.

Your classroom is your safe haven. Some days that safe haven will be destroyed and you will feel insecure and it’s okay. Just get your bag and walk out. Don’t take your work home with you. Know that it will be there tomorrow. Some days you will cry. You will want to throw something…or three. That’s okay. It’s normal. You have one of the most stressful jobs in the entire world. You are taking the future of the world and training them how to be proper human beings. If that part alone isn’t stressful, I don’t know what is.

When your classroom gets tough, take a breath. You are not alone. You have an entire squad of teachers that have been in the exact same place as you. That have cried to their teacher neighbor, that have looked for jobs elsewhere, that have wanted to quit, that have cried to their principal, that have complained about their students, that have been upset about a parent interaction, that have gotten in a fight with a fellow teacher.

You are human.

You are allowed to be stressed. You just need to know how to handle it. I am not here today to sell you anything. I am here to tell you that you are not alone. You have one of the greatest jobs in the entire world and you, my dear, are not alone in this crazy stressful profession. You are loved. You are cherished. You are an educator.

Go change the world.

I (genuinely) would love to hear your thoughts on this so either leave a comment or email me at ateacherswonderland@gmail.com

For now,

hugs & high-five,



One thought on “Teacher stress is no joke…

  1. Aussie Teacher says:

    I’m an Australian teacher who is currently taking 2 months off teaching for ALL of these reasons. Also my partner is in their first quarter of teaching, and I knew that was going to be hard, and I didn’t want us BOTH under that kind of pressure.

    I am an amazing teacher and I find the process of teaching – the actual ACT of enabling a child to acquire new skills and knowledge about the world and themselves through a process of experiences and exposures and building on knowledge and collaborating and establishing and then extending understandings – to be the most extraordinarily satisfying one. I genuinely feel sorry for people who don’t get to experience this. Who don’t get that amazing feeling of closing the door and going into a totally different and amazing little world. I feel genuine privilege that children allow me into that space – and they DO, I have amazing relationships with kids- and when you get the teacher-student-parent triangle really happening then WOW do you get results.

    But the fact is, doing the job well is difficult and bordering on impossible for all the reasons you outline here. At times I just sit there and think, why does the job that requires me to have incredibly nuanced and specific knowledge of the way a single child acquires early numeracy understandings – something I can do very well, and I feel the SCIENCE of it in a way that gives my brain a rush – ALSO require me to do tedious administration of these paper forms about whether or not a child is allowed to have their photo on the schools website, and also, to sit for an hour re-ordering all the glue sticks and coloured paper and sticky tape and push pins and blue tack and then when it comes unpacking and shelving it for an hour and ticking it off and then applying for that money from the budget or whatever and making sure all that paperwork is good with the office and oh look they forgot to send me the loose leaf plastic folders I’ll just spend 10 mins on hold to tell the company that and get them re ordered and ALSO, to go to an Asthma and Anaphalaxis professional development after school, and then to sit thru a committee meeting to discuss the writing of a policy and the budget for the IT committee and hey don’t forget it’s sports day; or the school play, ask for parent volunteers and – what’s that? We’re getting new carpet. Wow that’s ugly and inappropriate design but hey I guess no one asked me even though I will work on it all day. So now I’m moving everything out of my classroom which takes hours and is physically draining – I mean, you just KNOW this is only scratching the SURFACE. And… none of this is teaching. NONE of this is the thing I love. The thing that I am an actual expert at.

    The thing is, as a teacher the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM number of balls you have in the air at any one time is the number of kids in your class. So if you have 24 kids in your class that’s 24 balls, but frankly It is just as likely to be 28, here. Because you know that each of those kids learns slightly differently – you know that because you’re a good teacher! Then add in the various extra learning and behaviour needs ALONE, the IEPs and behaviour plans and phone calls and convo with support staff and you have maybe 38 balls AND THATS ASSUMING THAT ALL YOU DO, ALL DAY, IS JUST TEACH, and mate, you are never ever going to just teach; hahaha, funny idea. That doesn’t include testing grading reporting committees orders paperwork field trips parents meetings and all the other things you mention.

    So how do you train your brain to hold 24/28 plus [INFINITY] things in the air and then add constantly to the number and not go mad?

    I honestly don’t know. A real
    Problem we have here is that the people making the decisions were teachers themselves maybe 15 years ago at the most recent and the landscape has changed dramatically. We have only had standardised testing for 15 years in AUSTRALIA, for a start. Anyway, people who taught a lot in the 80s, 90s and 2000s experienced teacher stress – it’s never been an easy job right?! – but not like this. What is getting piled on teachers now is completely impossible. I don’t know what to do about it and it’s breaking my heart.

    Maybe if I move to a private school, I might get a smaller class, like 15 kids, and that would be less balls to start with? But it’s not ideal, and means I might not get to teach the kids who really need it. Because the saddest thing, I can’t stress it enough, is that I am an exceptional teacher, and nothing makes me happier. I don’t know what else to do with my life because nothing will ever be as satisfying or wonderful. But I can’t do this forever; it’s going to crush me.


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