Taking Back Control of Your Focus and Energy as a Busy Teacher

May 01, 2024

As a busy PDHPE and Community and Family Studies (CAFS) educator, I know all too well the struggle to stay focused amid the never-ending demands on your time and energy. Between lesson planning, parent meetings, and extracurricular activities, it feels like the to-do list is never fully checked off. More often than not, you’re left feeling completely drained by the end of each day. 

That's why I was so excited to share the latest episode of The PDHPE & CAFS Podcast featuring occupational therapist Angela Lockwood. Ange shared invaluable insights from her 20 years of experience in education on maintaining focus and preventing burnout. Her practical strategies really resonated with me, and I wanted to share some key takeaways in the hopes of helping other  PDHPE and Community and Family Studies teachers.

Implement a Morning Routine

Ange stressed the importance of starting each day in a way that sets you up for success. Even 10-15 minutes spent on deep breathing, visualisation or journaling can make a big difference in lowering stress and boosting focus. Now each morning, I take time to stretch, breathe deeply and write down three things I'm grateful for before diving into my to-do list. It's amazing how much calmer and clearer-headed this simple routine makes me feel.

Carve Out Quiet Prep Time

As a PDHPE and Community and Family Studies teacher, it can feel impossible to find time for deep work like lesson planning amid the constant interruptions and demands on our attention. Ange suggested protecting afternoon prep periods by turning off notifications and focusing on one task at a time. Try getting to school 15 minutes early to work uninterrupted or even take yourself off into a quiet space like the library. It's amazing how much more productive you can be without distractions.

Set Clear Boundaries  

Another key strategy Ange shared was setting boundaries to protect your energy and time, especially in the classroom. At the start of each Term, clearly communicate that your prep periods or before school are not for meetings or catch ups. If others need to collaborate, use the staff room instead of your classroom. Having these boundaries respects your space and allows you to stay focused on your students.

Seek Out Support

No one can go it alone in this job. Ange emphasised the importance of leaning on others during challenging times. Try blocking out some time once a month to meet up with teacher friends after work to chat and share strategies over a cuppa. It feels so good to laugh about the crazy day together with those who truly GET it. 

I hope sharing these takeaways provides you with tangible strategies to try. Taking back control of your focus and energy is so important to staying energised in this job. Please remember - you've got this!