Dr Bev Smallwood

Articles Library: Coping

Teacher Stress

Teachers do experience a myriad of stressors….from frustrations with administrators and parents, to work overload, to fears for their own safety in dealing with students. To make matters worse, they do this for relatively low salaries. Their desire for really making a difference with students carries some of them through the years, but the increasing difficulty in doing that causes good teachers to exit the profession.

Coping strategies for teachers:

1. Have realistic expectations. Realize that you can’t save the world, and you can’t inspire every child to learn. Do the best you can to know and help each child, but realize that they have choices, too. You can’t make them choose to learn.

Take the long-term perspective. Remember, you are “planting seeds”, and they often take time to produce the plant. found a way. Have faith that this time will be no exception.

3. Focus on what’s most important, not just on what’s urgent. You can’t do it all (no matter what others expect or you expect of yourself)! Identify the things that are important, long-term, and don’t let the less-important urgent crowd those things out.

4. Carve out snippets of time during the day to relax. This may mean briefly closing your eyes and doing some deep breathing, for example, during those often-rare occasions when you can visit the restroom or when the students are involved in a short activity.

5. Work to achieve balance in your life. Stress is cumulative. Plan quality time for family, leisure, and exercise to develop an overall sense of mental and physical well being. This will aid you in coping with the stresses of work.

6. Focus on small successes. In the stressful school environment, it’s easy to get caught up in the struggles, failures, and disappointment. Take time at the end of the day, and throughout the day, to think about the small steps of improvement you’ve seen. Form the mental habit of dwelling on what’s right, not what’s wrong.

Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist and professional speaker who is the author of “This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen to Me.” Visit her website, www.DrBevSmallwood.com; or contact Bev at 601.264.0890 or by email, Bev@DrBevSmallwood.com. Also connect with Bev on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and her blogs, Shrink Rap and New Morning Devotionals.

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