Don't let it creep up

27th January 2006 at 00:00
Typical early warning signs of stress include difficulty sleeping, irritability, poor concentration, headaches, and increased smoking or drinking. Stress can also manifest itself in stomach upsets, tearfulness and muscular aches and tension, writes Tom Lewis.

Teachers typically put their own interests last, but monitoring your own stress levels is a symptom of professionalism, not selfishness. To be there for others, you need to be there for yourself. You have a professional responsibility to look after your own well-being.

Trying to "pull yourself together" is not helpful. If you feel stressed, tell someone. If you can't talk to your manager or colleagues, talk over your feelings with someone at home. If that's not possible, try the GP or a telephone helpline (see below). Talking to others gives another perspective and can be a useful rehearsal for talking to senior colleagues. The Teacher Support Network now offers online counselling as well as a telephone service. TES chatrooms ( are a good place to share your feelings and confirm that you are not alone.

In the longer term, protect your leisure time and learn to say no. Some schools take better care of staff than others. If you feel unsupported in your school, you might find the cure for your stress in a new job.

Tom Lewis is head of personal development at the Teacher Support Network

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today