Surviving the Autumn Term Posted on 2 September 2014 by Kent-Teach in Wellbeing After a long six weeks away it’s not only the children that will be feeling that familiar trepidation that comes at the start of a new school year. Whilst it is unlikely that many teachers have made it through the last six weeks without any form of lesson planning, marking, summer school or even just research, a return to the confines of the classroom can still feel a bit daunting.The autumn term in particular can feel particularly punishing with curriculum changes, new colleagues to get to know and fresh pupil names to learn, not to mention that as soon as half term hits we start hurtling towards Christmas! These factors don’t exactly add up to a stress-free first term and it’s often your own health and wellbeing that takes the biggest toll. Here are our top tips for surviving the tough autumn term: 1) Eat well It’s a familiar scenario; stopped late at school and got stuck in traffic on the way home, only to be greeted by a mountain of marking before you’ve even put your bags down. Taking time out to prepare a nutritious, healthy and tasty meal is the last thing on your mind! However, this can be a vicious circle and relying on quick, salt-packed meals can leave you feeling more sluggish and stressed in the long run. It doesn’t have to be a big change; preparing meals in advance and freezing them can be an easy way to have quick, healthy meals midweek or even just swapping oven chips for some frozen veg can make all the difference. Try BBC Good Food, Eating Well and Groom + Style for healthy freezer recipes. 2) Get on top of your Inbox No sooner than term has started then the emails start flying in. Keeping on top of your emails can be a full time job in itself but as a busy teacher when should you be managing your emails? During class, in your non-existent lunch break or at home after you have finished lesson planning and marking? We may not be able to stop the tirade of emails but Edutopia has some great tips for making the task more manageable. 3) Plan your time Don’t just plan lessons, plan your downtime too; schedule time in to put the marking pen down and give yourself a break. Allowing yourself time to move away from the books can actually help you use the time you are lesson planning and marking more effectively. Even having a five minute break allows you to loosen up your train of thought and allow new ideas in. Taking the time to make to do lists and plan out your time effectively will allow you to clearly see the tasks that absolutely must be done and those that can wait. 4) Join the conversation It’s no secret that that teaching is a stressful profession but most teachers stick with it because ultimately they love what they do. However, support from your colleagues can be invaluable when it comes to getting through those tough days. Collaborative working now goes beyond the schools in your local area so why limit your support network to just your school? The internet is a never ending resource for teachers with communities, forums, blogs and webinars online that are brimming with ideas and support. Follow the hashtag #EdChat to get involved or why not start your own hashtag and build your own community. 5) Let yourself off the hook Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and accept that it is impossible to always get everything done; have you ever meet a teacher who said they had completely finished their to do list? Once you allow yourself to recognise that there is only so much you can do, it allows you to not only focus on the important tasks but also let you give yourself some time off. Whether it is going for a run, meeting up with a friend or just catching up on X Factor/ Great British Bake Off/ Strictly Come Dancing, allowing yourself time to recharge, rest and have a life beyond the classroom will make you a better teacher. And with a bit of luck your family and friends will enjoy spending more time with you too! Do you have any top tips for surviving the autumn term? If so, why not share them with us on our social media channels! If you want to find other inspirational educators online, that you can connect with, to share ideas to help you through the school year, Twitter could be a good place to start. Here are 5 Reasons Why Teachers Should be on Twitter.