'tis the season

No, no ... not for Christmas (despite what giant retail stores would like you to think). It's the season for teacher stress.

Every year, around week four or five or six, teachers start freaking out. We get overwhelmed with the new campus/district wide initiatives we're supposed to be implementing in our classrooms. We're struggling to get all of our students assessed. We're trying to get ready for parent/teacher conferences. We're still dealing with classroom management stuff. We're spending lots of time planning quality lessons. We're TIRED.

And in the midst of all of that, I crave peace and quiet so I can reflect on my year so far - what's working and what's not? What can I tweak to make things run more smoothly? It's this reflection time that gets lost in the shuffle when there are more important things to worry about.

If you're so overwhelmed that you can't remember your own name, I have some advice for you. Make a list of every single thing that's stressing you out in your classroom, as well as all the pressing things you need to get done. Then rewrite your list in order of priority: which items have deadlines? Which items directly impact student learning? Then tackle one at a time. The list will at least alleviate your need to keep it track of it all in your head.

Also? Go home early. Go to bed early. Take a weekend off from anything teacher related. A well rested teacher is a happy teacher. A happy teacher is an effective teacher!

Tell me ... how do you deal with stress?


Sparkling said...

I get worse as I get older. More and more stress each year. Our district got turned upside down about 4 years ago and it's still teeetering on the edge of disaster. I like where I am and I like what I do but I do not like all of the demands that increase more and more each year.

read my feel good friday post and you'll see that the fatigue caught up with me last week! so much for planning out my first weeks back!

Bethany said...

Our school has conferences next week already!

I know that teachers are so overwhelmed, and I want to help wherever I can. I can't volunteer in the classroom during the day, but I've told both of my boys' teachers that I will do anything they want me to do at home. Ethan's first teacher sent home all kinds of papers to be graded a couple of times a week, and then he got a new teacher because they lost one of their third grade teachers to budget issues. The new teacher seems to be ok with doing the same thing, (if not as excited about it), and Cameron's teacher has not taken me up on the offer yet. Anyway, is there anything else I can do to help these teachers so that they don't go home and have to work on things over the weekend and after hours?

Sunny said...

You are so right. We just hit the start of week 5 and our standardized tests start next week. I have thanked my stars more than once in the last week that I am NOT in a MEAP grade this year because I think I would lose it. (Although to be fair, if I was, I probably wouldn't be as overwhelmed because I'd be much more familiar with my curriculum!)

I leave work at work when I can. Yes sometimes we have to bring it home but when I feel really stressed, I leave it all at work, put on my comfy pjs and just hang with my hubby and kids (and maybe some Ben & Jerry's if we're being totally honest *wink*). It sure helps to just unwind sometimes and start fresh the next day.

Ellen Marie "Mama" Pike said...

Your post's help me appreciate all the stress that goes into teaching. I had no idea there was so much pressure involved.

At least you can impact young lives in a positive manner that can have far reaching effects. Does that thought help? :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Sarah, you sound like administration material. Have you thought about being the stressor instead of the stressee?

SharleneT said...

All the changes (time cards) implemented at the beginning of the year have caused incredible stress -- for no reason, at all. If the School Board will not pay anyone overtime or beyond 7.5 hours a day, why in the h--- do they require time cards? Today, they had a meeting about how to make 45 teachers ALL hit the Time In at 8AM-- not a second before or after.... Who has time to think about standardized testing?

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