Teachers, Get Your Stress Right!

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We’re approaching that time of year again. The time when we are thinking about transitioning back into the world of teaching. Our awesome summer vacation is ending soon.  Sometimes, the anxieties of starting a new school year can stress us out. I’m a veteran teacher and I still get a little anxious about a new year. Who’s going to be in my class? Don’t let there be a new principal coming in.

I wanted to dedicate a series of blogs to getting your mind and body ready to teach. The first topic is stress.

Stress is an increasing problem with teachers and students throughout our country. Mark Greenberg, a professor of human development and psychology at Penn State has studied schools for more than 40 years. His research states that 30-40% of teachers leave the profession in their first five years. Students are often stressed, due to class loads, high or low expectations from their parents and the need to fit in with peers.

The stressful demands on teachers to perform and challenge students can be frustrating. Especially with such a diverse population of learners.

The effects of stress can have a detrimental effect on your body, your thoughts and your behavior. Stressed out teachers are more likely to strike out at a defiant student. Teachers that are less stressed are more likely to come to work and actually enjoy teaching. Students that are less stressed have the ability to concentrate more in class. They are also more likely to respect our authority.

Several public schools are implementing stress programs and non- religious quiet times for their teachers and students. I remember the continued debate of prayer time in public schools.  To remain neutral, schools like Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco have implemented Quiet time.

Quiet time is a school wide meditation program. Teachers and students have to practice this non-religious quiet time every day at the same time.

Edutopia offers schools and teachers a setup and process of a quiet time program. The purpose of Quiet Time is to provide students a regular, quiet, restful time so that they are less stressed in their everyday lives. Teachers are encouraged to participate in the quiet times as well.

My first school, practiced a school wide D.E.A.R Time. This was a reading quiet time when students were expected to drop everything and read. Some teachers would struggle fitting D.E.A.R Time in consistently for students that receive services by other teachers throughout the day.

Youtube.com has a plethora of guided meditation videos for students. I used guided meditation lessons with my kindergarten class last year. I felt that they were effective. You’re always going to have giggles and squirmies.  I have to admit that I didn’t use the lessons as consistently as I should have.

Mindfulness programs can be practiced within your class and in your personal life.  However you chose to handle stress is your choice. Making it part of your daily life is essential to become effective to living a less stressful life.

We look forward to hearing how you are handling stress. Contact us at ourteachingvoice.com.

 

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