5 Steps to Help You Switch Off Your Teacher Brain

Notebook with title: My brain has too many tabs open

1) Give yourself permission to switch off

This first step can often be the hardest one (great place to start, I know!) The reason for this is because culturally, teachers are not encouraged to switch off. It is seen as admirable to be switched on all the time and thinking and doing stuff related to school. It gives the impression that you are a dedicated, hard working teacher who has the interests of their students at the forefront of their minds, always.

2. Train your mind to slow

Imagine your teacher brain is a super cute, enthusiastic puppy that is easily distracted and excitedly chases after anything it sees. A thought crosses your mind and your puppy brain is off after it, chasing and tugging at the thought with its teeth, refusing to let go.

puppy running

3. Make a note

When a thought crosses your mind and you don’t want to pursue it, give it somewhere safe to stay. Keeping a journal or notepad with you at all times (including when you go to bed!) helps to keep these thoughts safe, giving you permission to let go of them in the moment.

4. Notice your triggers

There will be certain situations, people or activities that will trigger your teacher brain to run away into overdrive. Take time to notice what these are and ways that you can manage your triggers more effectively. You could do this through preparation, avoidance or even mindfulness. For instance, I knew that contacting parents was a trigger for me when I was a teacher. So, I would make sure I had a quiet space, had prepared what I wanted to say and encouraged myself to be open to the response I would receive. Although this wasn’t a trigger I could avoid, it empowered me to manage it in a way that reduced its impact on me.

woman journaling

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Gemma Drinkall

Gemma Drinkall

Helping teachers to create clear boundaries and love their job again.