8 keys to avoiding teacher burnout (part one)

 Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers.

1)  Love your students (even when they’re not so loveable!)

Enjoying and growing with your students is one of the most important ways to combat burnout. Unfortunately when you’re stressed, it can feel almost impossible to see the kids as the beautiful people that they are. It’s really helped me to build times into our daily schedule which force me to step back and remember what’s important.

For example, in our class meetings, I set a timer for one minute and the entire class greeted one another by name, usually with a handshake of some sort.  That’s all the time to takes for every student to smile up at me, shake my hand, and say, “Good morning, Mrs. Watson!”  This act alone sets the tone for the day and reminds me that I’m dealing with kids who have feelings, too.

I also had my students give a ‘fist bump or handshake’ when they left the classroom each afternoon. This personal acknowledgement gave me another chance to connect with each child and really calmed me down at the end of the day when I was feeling stressed.  Sometimes I also had ‘tickets out the door’—the kids wrote one thing they learned that day and handed me their paper (the ‘ticket’) at dismissal.  Having a written record that YES, this day was worth getting out of bed for because I did actually get through to the kids, was enough to help me keep going sometimes when feeling discouraged.

You can have lunch or snack with your kids as a reward every now and then—an unstructured time to just sit and talk about what’s going on in their lives really endears them to you (and vice versa).

Look for little ways like this to accomplish the goal of seeing students as individual people with unique needs, feelings, and experiences. Sometimes the school system trains us to think of kids as machines that can be pushed to the limit every minute of the day and perform at 100% of their ability regardless of outside factors, and we have to intentionally do things to remind ourselves that this is not the case.

When kids feel cared for and respected, they will work harder for you and follow your rules, making the day less stressful and more productive for everyone. It’s worth taking the time and energy to connect with your kids, because the payoffs are ten fold!

8 keys to avoiding teacher burnout (part one)

2)  Focus on your big picture vision

It’s easy to get caught up in the little things that are so frustrating about being a teacher: repeating directions over and over, dealing with the same behavior problem from the same kid every single day, completing meaningless paperwork, grading a million papers…and if you focus on the small things that drive you crazy, you WILL get burned out.

There is a reason you became a teacher—was it to make a difference in a child’s life?  To express your creativity?  To immerse yourself in a subject you love and inspire students to do the same?

Reconnect with that part of you.

Write out your personal mission statement and post it somewhere in the room where you (and maybe only you) will see it throughout the day.

Create goals that you know you can meet and celebrate your success when you reach them.

Don’t major in the minors or allow yourself to become discouraged by distractions. The extent of your work and your impact goes far beyond what you see from day to day. Seeds are being planted, and lives are being changed, whether you see the results immediately or not.

8 keys to avoiding teacher burnout (part one)

3) Create a strong support system

I am blessed to have had at least one person in each school I’ve worked in that I considered a true friend—not just a colleague or associate, but a person that I could call at 2 a.m. with a flat tire and know that she would pick me up. When I was single, I hung out with someone from my job almost every single day, whether it was for something fun like shopping at the mall or hanging out on the beach, or something practical, like running errands together or keeping an eye on her kids while she cooked dinner for us (a good trade, I might add.) Knowing that I had someone I can go to with any problem, personal or professional, was the main thing that got me through the day sometimes—that thought of, whew, in an hour I can go next door and just vent!

If you wish you had friends like that in your school, give it time.  Because teachers spend so much time isolated in their own classrooms, there aren’t many opportunities to get to know one another, and it can take awhile to get close to your colleagues. Be open to opportunities, and don’t write anyone off–I’ve often bonded with people that I would have never imagined myself growing close to! Even finding just one wise person you trust and can share ideas with might be all you need.

When time goes by and you feel like you still aren’t making connections with anyone in your current teaching position, you could also consider moving to another grade level or even school where there are teachers that have similar personalities (and ideally, life situations) as you.  Having a strong support system is just that critical, and it’s sometimes worth the move!

When a student needs a break and you have a trusted colleague, you can send the child to him or her to work for awhile, no questions asked.  When you miss a meeting, you have someone to take notes for you. When you’re rearranging your classroom or revamping your behavior plan, you have someone to bounce ideas off. If you have even a single co-worker that you can count on for that, it’s going to make a big difference in your energy level and enthusiasm at work.

Even if you don’t have true friends at work—or if you prefer to keep your personal and professional lives separate—it is important to have people you trust and can go to when you’re stressed at school.  Your spouse, friends, and family do NOT understand what it is like to be a teacher unless they have been educators themselves—what we go through on a daily basis in completely beyond the realm of imagination for the general public.  You need to talk to another teacher who understands the pressure you’re under, so seek people out in teacher Facebook groups, message board forums, Twitter chats, and so on. Join one of my book clubs or The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. There are fantastic teachers out there who want to offer support and friendship!

Don't let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life

4)  Focus on flexibility and express your creativity

For me, one of the best aspects of being a teacher is the ability to be creative and let my classroom and daily routines reflect my personality and interests. Before you complain that YOU don’t have that kind of flexibility, let me assure you, I taught in Florida where third graders were automatically retained if they didn’t pass the state standardized test, so I was under a tremendous amount of pressure.  We had to have our schedules posted and were supposed to adhere to them at all times. Our lesson plans had to be planned as a grade level team and followed precisely.

And even with these types of restraints, I still maintained a sense of freedom in my classroom.  Sure, I needed to teach a specific standard on this day between 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m., but I could teach it any way I wanted—with apps, individual dry erase boards, games, manipulatives, group activities, music, and so on.

I’d start the lesson I had planned, gauge the kids’ interest, and then adjust accordingly. I don’t know of any teachers, other than those who have scripted lessons, who are not allowed that sort of freedom, in reality if not on paper.  Don’t lose sight of how awesome it is to choose many of the activities you do each day!

You probably have more control over your classroom than you realize. If your head hurts, you can have the kids can do more independent work; if you’re feeling energetic, you can teach using a game; if you want to sit down for awhile, you can call the kids to the carpet and teach while relaxing in a rocking chair.  We have a tremendous amount of flexibility that we CANNOT overlook.

Think about how many people sit behind a desk nine hours a day, every day, doing the work other people assign to them. Hardly anyone gets to change tasks to suit their moods and still be productive—we do, because teaching is as much an art as it is a science, and there are a limitless number of ways to teach effectively.

Yes, there are many limits and restraints on teachers that threaten to suck all the joy out of our profession. But when you focus on what you DO have control over and all the ways that you CAN be flexible and express your creativity, you return to that original passion you had for teaching.

You took this job because you wanted to do awesome things with kids every day. So do that! Stay focused on your vision rather than the restraints that create burnout.

Go into your classroom and focus on what’s meaningful. Use the flexibility and opportunities to be creative that you’re given. Surround yourself with awesome teachers and a strong support network so you don’t feel isolated. Return to your big picture vision as a teacher, and enjoy your students. You can do this, and remember–it’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be worth it! Next Sunday, I’ll share four more keys to avoiding burnout right here in this post. 

8 keys to avoiding teacher burnout (part one)

 

Original: http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/blog

Advertisements

Developing house rules for the obedient child (parenting)

Understanding self harm: Why young people self harm and how they can recover.

More and more the world is becoming a difficult place for young people to live in. This is so as youths are confronted with pressure to perform highly on school examinations, deal with complex relationships, experience body changes, bullying and general uncertainties which come with entering adulthood. In some communities there are increases in the number of young person’s engaging in self harm/self injurious behaviors. It is important therefore, that these children be given the opportunity to learn more positive coping mechanisms as they combat feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem and mental health issues.

All parents should be informed: Do You Know What’s Going on in Your Student’s Classroom?

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

When an Educational Assistant gets injured, odds are it was witnessed by multiple students. What are students seeing and experiencing in today’s classroom? Beyond the violence, what else is affecting students in the classroom? Here is what EAs want all parents to know:

Unbeknownst to the public, Educational Assistants (EAs) suffer the greatest number of lost time injuries (LTIs) out of the top ten occupations were injuries are sustained. An LTI is a workplace injury that results in a loss of time from the workplace. As you can imagine that means the injury has to be significant enough so as to take the worker out of the workplace. The length of time out of the workplace can be as little as a day up to including those persons who would qualify for long term disability. In other words, these are not simple bruises or scrapes.

Picture1

In addition to LTIs, Educations…

View original post 1,376 more words

Uncomfortable sacrifices

Finding solutions to problems are not always easy.  In the process of digging and searching for answers you will learn.  You will learn about what it takes to chase after a passion or path to your goals.  You will become better.

To become better at what you are doing or intend to do, you will have to make some uncomfortable sacrifices.   Rest assured that whatever pain you are going through, it will not last forever.  The pain will one day go away.  This is all part of the process of making you a stronger individual at the end.  This idea reminds me of a body builder I saw training.  The stretching and compressing of muscles; breaking down muscle fibres has a purpose to it.  The athletes do this, with the ultimate goal of making their muscles bigger and stronger.

Now, that is an uncomfortable sacrifice the athletes put themselves through.  I said uncomfortable sacrifices and not just sacrifices.

Why?

This is so, as some persons may be able to make a sacrifice, to do without something or to go for long periods of time without being involved with something they like.

Why is this so?

Because they can simply do without.  They can go through an experience with little to no stress on themselves as such, what they sacrificed, they did not really need for their survival.  And so, not really benefitting from the process.  It is as though what they gave was out of their surplus, and not from a need to become greater or to expand themselves.  What they did took little energy.

Why?

Because they had that surplus energy anyway.

Or possibly it was time they sacrificed.  But that was not uncomfortable for them, because time is not an issue, they had time.  For them, they were going to use time on something anyway and it just happened to be this activity.

For you to grow to your fullest capacity, there are times that your sacrifices will be uncomfortable.

 

NOTE: It should be noted that each person must evaluate their actions and see what is in the best interest for themselves and the people who depend on them.  It will therefore be unwise to give up time and energy on a pursuit, that in the end will rob you of having good family relations, be endangering to your physical and mental health, and for some, moral wellbeing.

5 Compelling Reasons to Learn How to Manage Yourself

Time-Management-and-Leadership

We have all made the statement at one time or another, “I just don’t have enough time!”. But we all have all the time there is. Time can’t be managed, we can only manage ourselves. In this article, I share 5 compelling reasons to learn how to manage yourself.

It doesn’t matter if you are Bill Gates or a waitress at the diner down the street, God gave us all the same great equalizer – twenty-four hours in a day. What most people lack is not time – but rather, the skills to manage themselves to make good use of the time they have available to them.

Time is much like money. When you decide to spend an hour watching TV, you have decided to not to spend an hour doing everything else. Productive people don’t spend time, they invest it. They expect a return on every hour they invest. Whether time is invested in their business, their family or their own well-being.

“Your time is more valuable than money. Your time is your life!”

When you give away your money, you are giving away something that can be replaced. When you give away your time, you are giving them a part of your life. Waste your time and you are wasting your life.

There are many renewable resources, but time is not one of them.

Control your time and you are controlling your life. Controlling your time really means controlling the events in your life. People in control of the events in their life are confident, happy, and powerful. They possess one thing above all: inner peace.

“Productivity” is not a new issue. There has been an entire industry built to serve the person who just can’t seem to get organized. Everything from Things-To-Do-Today pads, to time management software are available to plan and track personal time usage. Why is then productivity or, shall we say life management, such a challenge?

As human beings, we tend to blame others for our shortage of time. There are many readily available scapegoats: drop-in visitors, meetings, inadequate equipment, telephone interruptions and one crisis after another. However, the only one to blame is ourselves – for letting our time be wasted. Once again, we cannot manage time; we can only manage ourselves!

There is another reason time management is such a challenge: conditioning. We’ve been conditioned to believe that certain things about ourselves and our surroundings are the truth. As a result of conditioning, many people have adopted myths about their lives as being the truth.

Visit a circus, and you will see what I mean about conditioning. Take a look at the elephants tied to little stakes that they could easily pull out, yet those little stakes keep the huge elephants tethered.

When the elephants are young, they are chained by the leg to immovable stakes. However, little by little, over the period of a month, the elephants are conditioned to think they can’t move about as long as they are tied by the right rear leg. From the moment this conditioning takes effect, you could tie these elephants with a string and they wouldn’t move. They don’t move about because they believe they can’t. The tethers in their minds are stronger than any chains.

5 GOOD REASONS TO LEARN HOW TO MANAGE YOUR LIFE

The value of time management is not to control time, since time cannot be controlled, but to use time to improve our lives. Time management will not give us more hours in a day, but it will give us a better balanced life:

1. Getting organized reduces stress

Deadlines are a major contributing factor in stress. It is impossible to manage stress without learning to manage our time. In fact, by learning to manage our time, we are learning to prevent stress.

The better we learn to manage our time, the more we avoid unnecessary stress and the less we need coping techniques. Why learn to cope with stress if we can learn to prevent the stress that time shortages inflict on us?

If time management equals stress prevention, then time management also prevents illness. Stress is now linked directly to some of our most serious health concerns, heart attacks and strokes being the most common.

In the business world, this means two things: the loss of some of the brightest and most promising managers, and the rising cost of company-paid health care plans. Stress-induced disability claims are becoming a major headache, not only for insurance companies, but also for employers who are sued for causing the disability.

2. Setting priorities helps achieve balance

Most entrepreneurs are self-motivated people, driven by an unseen force from within to achieve the goals they have set for their lives. Usually, that means the goals they have set for their business.

Hence, they see little value in helping their employees achieve a balance in their lives. However, it’s not only entrepreneurs who are addicted to work.

A new set of values must accompany new productivity skills in order to bring a balance to the life of the workaholic.

3. Scheduling eliminates procrastination

Procrastination is the most common self-inflicted time robber. For the salesperson, it’s putting off that phone call. For some, it’s putting off the beginning of an exercise program.

“Putting things off” has probably caused more time management problems than all the other causes put together. We have a natural tendency to do the things we like and put off the things we don’t. We need to develop a sense of urgency for each task and remember that time is of the essence.

4. Life management increases productivity

A good time management system will certainly improve our productivity. The more productive we are, the greater our advantage over our competition.

The reason that today there is so much “downsizing,” “restructuring,” and “rightsizing” going on in companies really comes down to the issue of productivity. The only way a company or a country can regain its competitive edge is to improve productivity.

What’s productivity anyway? Productivity refers to the relationship between results and resources. In other words, productivity equals output divided by input. This formula demonstrates that there are two ways to improve productivity: to hold output constant while reducing input and to increase output without increasing input.

How much can we improve our productivity? While very little research has been done in this area, there is some data available that would indicate that the average manager is only 30% effective. Returning phone calls several at a time can reduce the average time spent per call by 50%. Closing your office door and working without interruption for two hours a day will enable you to accomplish what would have taken you three hours before.

5. Increased focus results in goals achieved

All goals must have a deadline. Without a goal, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to arrive.

That reminds me of the story of the little boy who asks his father as he arrives home from work one day, “Daddy, what did you do at work today?’ “Oh, not much, son.” replies his Dad. “Well then,” replies the boy “how did you know when you were finished?”

There are many times when one activity can be taking you towards two or more goals at the same time.

For instance, if three of your goals were to spend a half an hour a day exercising, half an hour a day in solitude, half an hour a day in prayer, you could achieve all three at once by praying as you jogged or walked alone for a half an hour…………………………………………………………………..

Origin: http://knowgogrow.com/5-compelling-reasons-to-learn-how-to-manage-yourself