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What to Do if You Are Too Tired to Teach

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Photo of Alison Smith
Updated | 5 min read

Let’s be honest, in our profession, we have what I like to refer to as tired teacher days when nothing seems to go right. There are days when we feel exhausted and quite frankly too tired to teach. However, the reality is that is is often harder to take a sick day than it is to go in and battle through the day. So, we power on…

These are the days that we need to laugh.

Signs and Symptoms of a Tired Teacher Day

There are many early signs that it’s going to be one of those days. Here are just a few that I may have experienced…

Mismatched Shoes

This is a goodie. Turning up to work with odd, mismatched shoes is a teacher tired thing. It happens to the best of us. Has it happened to you or a colleague?

Bad Hair Day

Bad hair days can send the rest of the day spiraling. The worst thing is it that bad hair days are unpredictable and catch you out when you least expect it. Some days, even your GHD’s can’t fix it.

Coffee Spillages

Coffee spillages are the worst. They follow you around for the rest of the day and well, it’s just a bad way to kick things off. It takes a lot of positive thinking to turn things around after a coffee spillage.

Being the eternal optimist, I can’t help but consider the possibility of turning this into a mathematics activity and creating a tally to show the number of people who ask you, “did you spill your coffee?”.

What are your symptoms of being a tired teacher? If you are feeling exhausted and need to catch your breath, read on for reliable ideas to get you through the day…

Beat Tired Teacher Days with Laughter


Are you caught in the trap of just doing what you need to get done and forgetting to have fun with your students?

Get ready for your next teacher tired day and download our Joke Cards for Kids and fun Jokes for Kids Powerpoint.

One of the best ways to cope with being a tired teacher is by laughing. Laughter helps our bodies to relax by triggering chemical responses in the brain that lead to feelings of pleasure and a sense of well-being. If you are having a tired teacher day, engaging in some good belly laughing can be exactly what you and your students need. Laughter can help you to hit ‘reset’ and get more out of the day. Your students will think it’s the best day ever.

Q: Why did the teacher cross her eyes?

A: Because she couldn’t control her pupils.

You see? Laughter is the best medicine!

Stifle Tired Teacher Days with STEM

I am constantly amazed by what students are capable of achieving when given the chance to be creative. Check out our brilliant collection of STEM activities that combine science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

STEM empowers students with the skills to succeed and adapt to our changing world.

All you need to do is invest some time in explaining the STEM challenge, provide the materials and arranging your students into mixed ability groups. Then, you can take a much-needed breath as you observe the creative geniuses in your classroom amaze you.

Image of STEM Challenge Cards - Upper Years

teaching resource

STEM Challenge Cards - Upper Years

A set of 20 STEM challenge cards for students, suitable for the upper year levels.

Teach Starter Publishing10 pagesYears: 4 - 6
Image of STEM Investigation - Build A Bridge

teaching resource

STEM Investigation - Build A Bridge

A STEM investigation about the construction of bridges using everyday materials, embedded in a real-life situation.

Teach Starter Publishing7 pagesYears: 4 - 6
Image of STEM Challenge Cards - Lower Years

teaching resource

STEM Challenge Cards - Lower Years

A set of 22 STEM challenge cards for students.

Teach Starter Publishing11 pagesYears: 1 - 3
Image of Build a Pirate Ship STEM Challenge - Early Years

teaching resource

Build a Pirate Ship STEM Challenge - Early Years

A STEM challenge suitable for students in the early years.

Teach Starter Publishing2 pagesYears: F - 2

Get Active

I know you might not want to hear this right now, but one of the best ways to beat fatigue is to get active. So, get outside and get active with your students! Our collection of Active Games provides the perfect opportunity to have a refreshing break from the classroom grind and maximise learning!

Guilt-Free Word Search


The days of feeling guilty about giving your students a word search on a tired teacher day are over. Our Word Search Widget allows you to create a customised word search to consolidate knowledge and understanding of any learning area. Whether you decide to use your weekly spelling list or one of the custom word lists provided, your students will have fun while learning and you’ll get a little bit of time for you.

For more ideas on how to use this teaching resource that just keeps on giving read our blog, 25 Ways to Use Our Word Search Widget.

Fast Finisher Activities

Fast finisher activities can be used at any time and are perfect for tired teacher days. If it’s all feeling too hard and you need some time to get it together, it’s time to foster independence in your classroom. Our collection of Fast Finisher Activities includes a wide range of learning areas and year levels.

It’s a good idea to buddy up less confident learners with more confident learners to give yourself a little more breathing space. Don’t be afraid to be open and honest with your students that you are feeling tired and encourage them to support each other.

For helpful ideas on how set up fast finisher activities, read Holly’s blog, I’m done! Now What? | Purposeful Fast Finisher Activities.

Mindfulness Colouring

For those days when it all feels like too much use this teaching resource for you and your students as a calming down or mindfulness exercise.

Model to your class how important self-awareness and mindfulness is. Join in.

Image of Mindfulness Colouring - Letter, Number and Punctuation Set

teaching resource

Mindfulness Colouring - Letter, Number and Punctuation Set

Mindfulness colouring themed letters and numbers set.

Teach Starter Publishing65 pages
Image of Mindfulness Colouring - Letters and Numbers Bunting

teaching resource

Mindfulness Colouring - Letters and Numbers Bunting

Mindfulness colouring themed letters and numbers bunting.

Teach Starter Publishing71 pages
Image of Giant Colouring Sheet

teaching resource

Giant Colouring Sheet

A large printable colouring sheet for your whole class.

Teach Starter Publishing8 pagesYears: F - 7
Image of Mindfulness Colouring In Sheets - Portrait

teaching resource

Mindfulness Colouring In Sheets - Portrait

A set of 3 mindfulness colouring-in sheets.

Teach Starter Publishing3 pages

Tired Teacher Wellbeing

The combination of administrative, classroom and co-curricular responsibilities in a teacher’s day-to-day life can really add up.

Feeling like you are too tired to teach is not unusual. On days like these, it’s important to recognise how you feel create space to take a short break and reset. Taking a break doesn’t have to mean wasting learning time or students completing a meaningless task. I hope that these ideas have shown how you having a break can provide a valuable learning experience for your students.

If your tired teacher days are becoming an everyday thing and you’re struggling to cope, seek help and support. Use our Teacher Wellbeing Checklist to monitor your mental wellbeing and to remind yourself of the importance of mindfulness.

For more helpful and supportive ideas to help combat tired teacher days read Emma’s insightful blog, World Mental Health Day | 5 Tips for Teacher Wellbeing.

Care Hug

If all else fails, share a care hug.

Share a care hug with a colleague who needs one #teachstarter.


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  • Muhammad Awais

    Very great article . Thanks for sharing

    • Alison Smith

      Thanks for your positive feedback Muhammad. Have a great day. Ali

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