Teaching Stress

Photo on 11-10-13 at 6.54 PM

I recently read this post:
“I’m a primary school teacher and completely understand how frustrating and stressful it is not to be listened to. I can almost guarantee that, after explaining a lesson in great detail, there will always be one or two kids that trot up and ask, “what have we to do?” Grrr! I also find I get very stressed at work by the constant barrage of questions, arguments, complaints, so forth that a teacher of young children deals with. “She stole my…/I need the toilet/He hit me/I’ve lost my…/” and so on! It can sometimes take a long time to get started on the work for the day after dealing with everything, then of course, you end up behind where you should be, which only adds to the stress! By the time I get home from work, I’m often totally drained, and in desperate need of some quiet! I do find it hard to listen and focus to people at home as soon as I get home from work. I need time to myself to bring myself back to a ‘normal’ state!”

My response:
Thank you for all you do! I teach teachers and I’m their biggest fan. I have a couple of suggestions–because even adults don’t listen that well! Try cutting it down instructions before getting kids into action so they don’t have too much to remember. Also write instructions on the board. Initiate a routine of “Ask three before me!” Other ideas: Tape record your instructions so they can be replayed. Whisper instructions to a kid who must convey them to the other kids (or give the kid a note to read). Ring a bell or make other signal before you begin instructions. Try putting kids in cooperative groups and give them a group grade and an individual grade—encourage them to help each other do the assignment. In general, try to make it more of their responsibility. Then take deep breaths and remember–all you can do is do your best.
When you get home, do something first that helps you relax: Take a bath, listen to music, call a friend and complain, exercise—whatever works for you. Teaching is harder and harder. Remember to be kind to yourself.

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