Teachers – Love your Sunday! Calm those jitters for the week ahead…

Have you ever wondered why it is that some people look forward to going back to work, whilst others simply dread it?

Last week, I received a request to produce a vlog for teachers to be posted on Sunday! I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve heard teachers say, “I don’t like Sundays,” so I wasn’t surprised when the remit asked for a video and activities to calm those back to work
jitters. For me, as a young teacher, Sundays were definitely all work and no play! And like many other teachers, any enjoyment was dependent on what was on my mind.

Research by the charity Education Support [2019], suggests that around 75% of teachers and school leaders describe themselves as stressed; and OfSTED 2019 note that while teachers overwhelming love their profession, they report numerous negative factors affecting teacher well-being and the impact on learning. Almost 20 years after the UK government passed a bill to support the work-life balance of the teaching force, the emotional well-being of teachers is still in question. Just this week I read a Facebook post that asked, “Are there any other supply teachers who feel nervous to start back to work?”

When I returned to the classroom after 17 years in school leadership, part of me was daunted. My reception class to be were a lively bunch and whilst I couldn’t wait to enjoy them, I wondered whether I’d lost my touch! Luckily for me, I now had NLP in my toolbox – a wealth of knowledge and skills that enabled me to think differently and experience class teaching in a whole new light. Challenges that in the past would have caused the ‘jitters”, were now welcomed opportunities allowing me to apply my new skills and discover their impact. By 09:15 on Day 1, I was in my element! Whilst there were children whos behaviours revealed I needed to fine tune my approach, when things went “wrong” that is the past would have adversely affected my emotional state, I was able to respond differently. And, the same was true of Sundays. Instead of dreading that dread, I now felt excited for the week ahead.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to manage any jitters that you may have and feel positive your working week?

In the accompanying video, I help you to know how our thoughts affect our feelings and teach you a few strategies to think differently, feel better and enjoy the prospect of your working week. Follow the link to watch now and get to know just some of the skills, I learnt
via Dr Richard Bandler [co-creator] and the Society of NLP or read on to experience the key learning in a nutshell!

I hope that anyone new to NLP has enjoyed learning via a glimpse into the types of strategies you can learn, as and when you decide to train. Follow the instructions below to realise the impact of the strategies that you’ve learnt today and once your planned and ready for the week ahead, take time to enjoy your Sunday! And teachers, you can use the
strategies with your class so they can benefit as well.

Exercise 1: NLP Spinning Feelings – Dissolving Discomfort

Dr Bandler talks about e-motion, or energy moving. If you can notice how an uncomfortable feeling is moving and reverse it, you can change how you feel.

  1. Think of something that puts you out of your comfort zone; remember what you see, hear, feel when you’re uncomfortable or nervous [e.g. Meeting someone new, public speaking, walking into an interview, the back to work jitters or something else].
  2. Notice the feeling inside your body. Where does it start? How does it move? Which direction does it spin? [Clockwise? Anti-clockwise? Forwards? Backwards?]
    Top tip: To realise this easily, spin your hand in the four directions and sense which spin “fits” best with what you’re feeling inside.
  3. Slow the feeling down. Notice how you can make it STOP!
  4. Now, spin it the other way and notice that discomfort dissolve.

Exercise 2: Keep Calm and Breathe!

I first learnt this technique from Tina Taylor, master trainer of NLP and author of her book Painless Childbirth. In a nutshell, you can control your jitters/anxiety by using your breath to override the sympathetic nervous system and increase a sense of calm, slowing down your heart rate and releasing tension.

  1. Breathe in for a count of 7…
  2. Breathe out for a count of 11…
  3. Repeat this pattern for a few minutes, noticing that increasing sense of CALM as you complete each round…

Exercise 3: Visualise – Imagine a great start to your working week!

Dr Bandler notes that our brain doesn’t know the difference between real life and make believe. This means that if you take time to imagine your working week going well, your brain will think it’s already done it; a bit like an actor rehearsing! Visualising the whole week ahead may prove onerous so chunk down to the first session, a lesson or a meeting that you know will benefit from the opportunity to think ahead.

  1. Choose a place and time when you can visualise without being disturbed.
  2. Take three deep breaths in through your mouth and out through your nose. On the third
    breath, close your eyes, relax and go inside.
  3. In your mind’s eye begin to imagine that session, lesson or meeting you want to go well.
  4. Pay attention to your senses. I wonder what you see, hear, feel that tells you what’s going well?
  5. Notice how well you respond to each and every challenge, the skills you have that make the difference. If your teaching, notice what you do that has the biggest impact on the children’s learning.
  6. When you’re finished, take 2-3 activating breaths to bring yourself back to a full waking state.

Best wishes for a wonderful week…