In December last year I was honoured to be named in Huffington Posts Top 12 Global Education Blogs of 2014. The bloggers on this list have been asked to contribute to Huffington Post’s Education blogs for 2015. This month we look to answer the following highly controversial question “What are the quick ways to combat teacher stress in a classroom?– here is my response:
Workload is increasing in educational organisations and time is an educator’s most valuable resource. With added pressure comes added stress. Don’t get me wrong, teaching is one of the most rewarding careers around but there are ways that we can make it even better.
Here are 5 ways to combat teacher stress in the classroom:
- Humour / Laughter – I am a huge believer in bringing fun to my lessons and this is the major reason I don’t ‘stress out’ in my classroom. I believe that laughter is the best medicine – it always makes me feel better and a happy classroom reduces my stress! Research shows that laughter releases natural feel good chemicals from the brain. There is, however, a fine line between adding laughter and losing control. Always ensure you bring your students back to focus quickly. Give it a go! Click here to read my article on Why Humour and Laughter makes my classroom GREAT
- Believe in what you do and stay positive – Having a strong belief in your own abilities and believe that what you are doing is making a difference! Even the worst lesson (in your mind), could have made a difference to one child. Put your ‘bad lesson’ into perspective. We teach students that everyone makes mistakes and that we learn from it. Do the same! Keep a positive attitude and understand that you cannot control everything that happens in your classroom, but you can react to situations proactively.
- Stay organised – Is that pile on your desk getting out of control? Are your unread emails cluttering your inbox? Time to get a reality check! It is not as bad as it seems! Don’t let these things get away on you – if they do, dedicate some time to clearing them up – when my inbox is clear I have a huge sense of relief and my stress levels reduce. The same goes for student marking and paperwork. Create a system that simplifies filing and grading, or better yet, go digital and have everything in one place.
- Take time out – Whenever it is all too much I stop, take a deep breath and close my eyes. Even a moment to myself is enough to recharge my batteries and put everything into perspective. Research shows that resting your head on your folded forearms and pushing your seat back quietens the mind and lengthens the spine, creating space in the torso which allows you to breathe deeper. I often picture myself sitting on a beach watching the sunset or watching my daughter play in the sand. Get yourself to a place that you love and find peace! It will do you wonders!
- Positive reinforcements – Establish a firm but fair behaviour management system in your classroom from day 1. This is the first thing I learnt when I was doing my teacher training and it has always been my first priority at the start of every year. Create a system that fits with your school policies and your personal beliefs. Involve your students in the creation of your system and make the majority of your system based on positive reinforcements.