From a very young age children are expected to undertake some sort of exams. The first official ones often happen in year one when your child may do a phonics check. This is a very informal test which is done in a classroom environment where you child will be asked to read out a certain list of words. Not all of the words are really words, and it is used to check their understanding of sounding out. The following year your child will do their first SATS exams. Again in Key stage one these are quite informal but some children can still get very worried about them. Throughout the rest of their school life they will again be tested at regular intervals and in year 11 will do their GCSE’s.
It is very important that you talk to your children about exams and their worries and help to reassure them. Early tests and exams are often done without the children really being aware of them but you may still want to talk to them about it. Some parents feel it is better not to say anything but if your child is already mentioning it or has questions it is better for them to feel they can talk to you.
Helping your child come up with a revision schedule and trying to ensure they stick to it can help take away the feeling of stress. If you are struggling ask their teacher for some advice as to how they can structure revision and what you can do to help aid it.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many exams you have done, put anyone in those sorts of sterile exam conditions with the added pressure of a time limit and it’s enough to put the most level-headed person into a state of heightened anxiety.
With this in mind it is therefore perfectly normal to feel that way during a period of exams at school or college. You want to do well and may be worried of the outcome of the exam and how it will effect future life decisions such as attending a university of your choice or getting a certain job.
Without being able to eliminate these stresses it is important to understand how to deal with them and below are some tips that can help.
Meditation can really help to clear and relax the mind, if you struggle to do this there are many online videos and media tracks that can help you to do this in your own time at home.
Staying active will also help and light exercise such as going for a walk will boost your blood flow and the fresh air will help to clear your head.
Good preparation is key to doing well in your exams so careful planning and revision will give you all the tools you need for a good grade.
Eating well is also very important as foods such as oily fish with omega 3 and high proteins can actually help your concentration levels. Avoid high carb high fat foods as these can make you feel tired and sluggish.
Teaching can be a very rewarding job but it is also often highly stressful and demanding. There may come a time when you feel that you no longer want to be a teacher but still would like to work in education. One option you have is to be a teaching assistant. Teaching assistants often have less responsibility such as marking and lesson planning but may still get to work with a small group of children teaching them a topic or even covering the class teacher when he / she is out on other duties.
Stepping down from teaching and going in to a teaching assistant role can be quite hard for some people as it may feel like you are taking a step backwards. You will not have as much say as what goes on in the classroom and will have to do what the teacher asks you to.
The other option you have is to become a supply teacher. You can pick your own days and may decide that working a few days a week is enough to help you financially, as often you get paid more per day for supply work, but still gives you that much needed break from full time teaching.
If you are a teacher in a primary school then the chances are you will have to plan class assemblies from time to time. Trying to coordinate an assembly can be quite stressful and the key is to give yourself plenty of time. Firstly you need to work out what you will be focusing on in the assembly. It may be that the children have been doing work on a topic that you want to talk about or their experience on a recent school trip from example.
Have a look online for ideas that you may be able to use and materials that may be useful. Once you have an idea start to think which children will have which role. It is best to give the most confident children the roles that involve a lot of interaction or speaking but be sure to give everyone the chance to say something. It is often nice to get the children to whole up a piece of work they have completed or read it out if it is a poem for example.
For younger children, often including a song can make it fun and enjoyable and will help the children who find it hard to stand up in front of others, have more confidence.
Many teachers are often told how lucky they are to have the school holidays off and that they only work “part-time”. This can frustrate many people in the teaching profession and for good reason too. The TES has recently stated that even with allowing for all the school holidays, on average teachers work longer hours than people in many other professions. Although they may actually only teach from nine till three (or thereabouts) their day often starts around 8.15am and usually they do not go home until around 5 pm. Even when they are home and during the weekend’s teachers have to find time to do marking and planning which can often take up a few evenings a week.
On top of the day to day tasks they have to do, there will be a time when they need to participate in extra work such as meetings, out of school hours’ trips and parents evenings/report writing. Often teachers are only given one morning a week to fit all this in and it is virtually impossible to get it all done in that time.
During the school holiday’s teachers will often go back into school to sort out their classroom or for teacher training as well as planning at home.