Teacher Sweats

Or, things teachers never talk about.

In my life BT (Before Teaching) I was a mild mannered human with almost no inclination towards swearing. Ok, so I enjoyed the odd curse word as part of a story or to relieve pain but on the whole, I was pretty much suitable for all the family. Mostly.

I also secreted what could easily be described as a perfectly normal amount of sweat in any given day. This all changed the day I took my first class. It was a Year 7 History lesson and I had no idea what I was doing. My lesson plan turned to early onset paper-mache in my hands as I attempted to do something other than ‘wait for silence’.

The internal struggle for ‘fight or flight’ in the face of the perceived enemy was winning the battle against the weaker, and infinitely newer, instinct of wanting to appear as though everything was going according to plan.

My glands appeared to believe I had been transported to a sauna and went to great lengths to demonstrate their proficiency in a ridiculously short period of time.

Within the first 15 minutes of the lesson, I was no longer able to raise my arms (the preferred method of getting children to stop and listen) and had to resort to ‘the dinosaur’ stance while continuing to wait for silence.  I broke the school record for this on that same day: 35 minutes.

Here’s the thing though. No one ever talks about it. The Teacher Sweats. Google it, I’m the only one and yet it is an almost universally acknowledged physical manifestation of teaching. Namely, excessive perspiration in response to excessive stress.

My ordeal on that day was brought to a close in the usual fashion for a trainee teacher. Bell goes, children leave without waiting to be dismissed and the supervising class teacher directs you to the safety of the staff room.

You remember the advert right? ‘Use your head, teach’.

Shame the small print didn’t mention the role of my armpits in that scenario or I would have bought shares in antiperspirant.


5 thoughts on “Teacher Sweats

  1. I too have felt the horror of the teacher sweats, during every lesson of teaching placement so far. It’s very similar to the type of cold sweat I get when I’m extremely ill. Funny that.

  2. Same here
    Everytime I teach, I feel ready and poised for action and the sweat just keeps on dribbling from all places. I hope that if you could find a solution for this then you could share it with me.

  3. Absolutely right, I searched on this after 10 weeks of being more smelly than I remember, while lecturing one of my first full-on classes, and only you popped up. I gave my final a few days ago and the sweating just stopped. I had pretty severe social anxiety for most of my life, so perhaps I should not be surprised. Just I did not realize it was affecting me in this way. At least the student seam to have learnt in the class – so maybe the anxiety was worth it.

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