Teaching can be a very stressful job. Unlike some other professions, teachers form emotional relationships with many people. Teachers must connect with children, parents, co-workers, and the community. Unlike dealing with products, teachers build human beings. Children can often be on emotional roller coasters. The success of a teacher can depend greatly on the success of others. Teachers are given strict guidelines and standards. Teachers have very little control over the regulations of their classrooms. Teachers are also closely observed and many times placed under a microscope by the community. All of these factors can lead to stress and burnout.
One key to deterring stress is to be flexible. Teachers need to realize that children are unpredictable. No matter how well prepared you are, your plans may change. Children can get sick, misbehave, and disrupt class. Be willing to adjust your schedule and ‘go with the flow’. Being rigid with your schedule will only lead to more stress.
Set realistic goals. Teachers must realize that they cannot do everything everyday. While it is wonderful to want to change the world and touch the lives of every child, remember that Rome was not built in a day. Plan small steps for your class. Do not expect to change the life of child in one lesson. Feel good and be proud of any progress that you make.
Take care of yourself. When you feel bad, you have a bad day. Teachers need rest, exercise, and a healthy diet. If any way possible, teachers should get substitutes when they are sick. Lack of rest can make dealing with children very difficult.
Teachers should also recognize that they are not alone. All teachers experience stress and emotional chaos at some point in time. Teachers need to discuss their frustrations with each other and not try to hide their troubles. If you are having a bad day, tell a co-worker. Sometimes just stating the problem can make you feel better.
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