Short-term Goal -
Option A: Make a list of ways you can leave your stress behind and not carry it with you into the classroom. To take this a step further, try one of these stress relievers today and share the experience with us.
Option B: Take a class period and have your students develop their own stress relief plans. The idea is that when they begin to misbehave in the classroom they are able to have time to implement their plan before they are punished.
Long-term Goal - Develop a stress-relief routine that will ensure that even during the most stressful times of the year (i.e. testing time, grading time) you won’t be in a bad mood in the classroom. How can we begin to show our students how to develop stress routines for themselves? Spend a class having students work in pairs or groups to share their stress-relief plans. To go further, when the students are stressed and act up then remind them of their plans and allow them the time to try this out instead of just punishing the student.
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In this challenge Shelly Terrell talks about not bringing stress to the classroom. One of the reasons is that the students are already fighting hard battles themselves. She gives the quotation "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle," attributed to Plato.
The challenge for the short-term goal is to come up with ways to take away the stress before entering class. Some things that work for Shelly are:
- Listening to music
- Connecting with her online community
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A couple of things. Firstly, I wish old Plato had stopped after his second word. "Be kind." Fullstop. Secondly, if you need to unload on someone then you musnt't assume you can't unload on anyone - if you can't unload on family or friends then remember there are professionals to help and there is no shame in using them.
I do get a little stressed in class but it's not usually due to external factors - it's more often because of annoyance at my own inadequacies such as lack of patience or lack of pedagogical skills or at my inability to express myself. I hate it because I know I could do better and I feel I am failing my students by not giving them everything they deserve. However, I try to remember to step back and think "Hang on a minute. You're doing the best you can. There's no good getting worked up about it because that's counter-productive. If it's really important to you then research it or get help or advice from a mentor. But remember it takes two to tango. Walk away, breathe deeply, count to ten and try again. Try again next week if necessary. Question if this learning is vital for the student or something to placate your ego." And other similar thoughts. I try to relax and smile, and to think of other approaches. If nothing is working then I move on but revisit it in my own time.
I'm afraid that I don't have a list of techniques for handling stress but I know that, if I did, then "Get lots of sleep" would be up near the top!
Today I thought I'd try my hand at making a podcast - I've never made one before so this is a double challenge. I decided not to be too fussy about it. I am well aware it has plenty of cringeworthy faults but I'm trying to not get too stressed about them! I hope that at least the gist of my message comes across.
This is to do with the long term goals...
Looking back at this video I've decided that it was pretty awful and so, after leaving it up for six months, I've deleted it. Just too cringeworthy! It's all part of the learning process I suppose.