Are you stressed?
A study from the University of Missouri on teacher stress, burnout, self-efficacy and coping found that 93% of elementary school teachers report that they are experiencing a high stress level. Among the causes of teacher stress, many cite dealing with mounting responsibilities beyond instruction, standardized testing pressure, teacher evaluation, student behavior, parents, a lack of support from administration among some of the root causes. Unfortunately, high stress can lead to disenchantment with the profession. According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years.
We don’t want you to become one of these statistics.
The National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future found that high teacher turnover is impacting student performance. One study found that teacher job satisfaction directly impacts strides in reading instruction in students. So how can teachers manage the high level of stress from the profession? How can they prevent burnout? Self-care is the solution. One easy strategy to implement is the teacher-created Tap-In/Tap-Out method. Here teachers lean on each other for quick breaks to recharge and reset during the school day.
We hope you use this winter break to practice self-care and hit the reset button for returning to your students in January. Here are some additional tips for implementing self-care.
Practice strategies for resilience. Students aren’t the only ones who need to practice and build resilience. Edutopia offers simple tips including talking to someone you don’t normally do during the school day, eating almonds, and taking 10 deep breaths.
Disconnect-Set aside time each day to be away from technology. That means no email, no text messages, no voicemails, and no social media. Take the time to quiet your life from distractions and bring calm. This will help you focus attention on yourself and not be spread thin by multiple things.
Hide your school work-Don’t hide it permanently. Just tuck your papers to grade, school laptop, and curriculum books away in a closet when you aren’t working on it at home. Keeping it out of sight will prevent it from pulling your attention. It will help you focus and stay present for activities in your life outside of the classroom.
Do one thing each day to nourish yourself-We know your list of responsibilities of each day seems to grow, why not add something that feeds your soul to it? Make it a priority to read for pleasure for 10 minutes, go for a run, watch some guilty pleasures on TV, explore a hobby—basically anything that you are personally interested in. When you feel like you are still growing and learning for fun outside of your job, you will feel more balanced.
Make an “I Did It” list-If you have a daily to-do list, why not make a list of what you accomplished for the day? Rather than cross it off, add it to a list of your daily successes. Although you may feel that you didn’t accomplish much, this I Did It list may help you realize you did!
What do you do to handle teacher stress? We hope you all have a wonderful winter break and take the time to hit the reset button each day!