Feeling overwhelmed in school


Feeling overwhelmed in school is a feeling which all teachers will have encountered at some point in their careers.

With high workloads, behavioural issues, conflicts with staff and parents, lesson observations as well as personal issues some days it can feel too much to contend with.

If you are an Edapt subscriber, you can contact us for support and advice if you are feeling constantly overwhelmed and it is having an impact on your health and wellbeing.

You might also find it useful to contact Education Support to discuss the issues you are facing. Education Support is a charity which supports teachers and provides a 1-1 telephone line and counselling services

In this article, we summarise advice from Education Support and look at the impact of being overwhelmed.

Feeling overwhelmed: cognitive impact

The Harvard Business Review explains that the cognitive impact of feeling perpetually overwhelmed can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating or thinking logically, to a racing mind or an impaired ability to problem solve.

When we have too many demands on our thinking over an extended period of time, cognitive fatigue can also happen, making us more prone to distractions and our thinking less agile. Any of these effects, alone, can make us less effective and leave us feeling even more overwhelmed.

It notes that our typical response to ever-growing workloads is to work harder and put in longer hours, rather than to step back and examine what makes us do this and find a new way of operating.

How do you know if you are overwhelmed?

Education Support has published an article on identifying the symptoms and what you can do to alleviate being overwhelmed. It explains that some of the things to spot are:

  • Catastrophic thinking
  • Lack of control
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Tearful
  • Low mood
  • Frustration
  • Impatient
  • Poor eating habits

It notes that negative behavioural responses can include:

  • Excessive social media interaction
  • Drinking alcohol to regulate emotions
  • Over or under comfort eating
  • Drugs
  • Biting nails
  • Pulling hair

Some positive behavioural responses can include:

  • Running, cycling, swimming and other sports
  • Having a bath
  • Listening to great music
  • Talking to friends
  • Gardening
  • Laughing

Was this article helpful?

The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.