Jan 14, 2010

Teacher Stress Tip Number 2 - Create Personal and Professional Goals

Do you feel stressed? Overworked? Depressed, frustrated, or angry?

Testing, Administrators, Meetings, Paperwork, and Challenging Students can all affect the performance of a teacher and create stress. As a classroom teacher, or homeschool teacher, there are ways that you can minimize your stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle and work life.

In this post, we will be discussing how to minimize stress for teachers by creating personal and professional goals.

The important thing to remember when creating personal goals and professional goals is to make sure that they are attainable. It is okay to "aim high", however, when you set the bar too high it can end up being a stressful situation.

Personal Goals for Teachers May Include:
  • Daily Exercise Routine - Staying active and healthy can reduce stress and may help you increase your awareness for dealing with stressful situations.
  • Go to Bed at a Certain Time Each Night - When we don't get enough sleep, we tend to become short with students and other teachers. Students will pick up on this and become short with you, which then creates a vicious cycle.
  • Enjoy Your Lunch - Your lunch time is meant for LUNCH. Many teachers grade papers or have demeaning conversations in the teacher's lounge. Try eating with your students once or twice a week. Lunch can also be a good time to sit in your classroom and just have some quiet time to organize your thoughts. 
  • Think Positively - As a teacher, it can be easy to formulate an attitude of pessimism, negativity, and hopelessness. This is basically because we have SO MUCH work and SO LITTLE time! As teachers, we must train our minds to pause, reflect on a situation, then respond positively. 
  • Slow DOWN - I am a people watcher, and when I watch teachers they are usually in a hurry to get somewhere, they are late arriving somewhere, or they forgot something. This is because teachers have so much to do throughout the day that we often lose track of our priorities and become stressed. To slow down, try listening instead of talking and taking random moments of silence to stop and reflect on the day and manage priorities.
Professional Goals for Teachers May Include:
  • Leave Work at a Certain Time Each Day - Teachers often feel that with all the work they have and papers to grade that they must stay late each night. It is important to have a home/family life to partake in fun and enjoyable activities.
  • Have Students Grade Papers - By having students help grade papers, they are actually modeling perfect practice by checking their own work. This will also create more time for you! This can be done as a whole group activity checking the homework from the night before.
  • Get ORGANIZED - Organization is a great way to get rid of teacher stress! The only problem...it takes time to get organized. So, you may need to come in early or stay late one or two days during a week to get your classroom organized. It will be worth it! Organize papers into labeled folders, organize your classroom into labeled bins and tubs, clean off your desk. You can also organize your student's line behavior. Don't leave the room until you have a beautiful straight line. When things are organized, there will be less stress.
Here are some book resources to help you with Teacher Stress:
  1. Breakdown: The Facts About Teacher Stress 
  2. Relieving Classroom Stress: A Teacher's Survival Guide 
  3. Teachers Managing Stress and Preventing Burnout


Unknown said...

Hi there! I'm getting ready to start student teaching next week and am definitely feeling the stress. I really liked your suggestion about being organized. I've picked up an accordion folder and labeled them with each of my classes. I'm starting to feel better already! Thanks for the tip!

Teacherella aka Rose Nylund said...

Great list.
I wasn't able to do most of what's on this list. The stress was unbearable. I guess I was in survival and panic mode.
The book recommendations seem like excellent choices.