How do you keep from over-stressing during school year?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jun 23, 2012

    as the year goes along. By the end of school I was going crazy. The day after our last day at school, I thought I was having a heart attack. It was heartburn. I slept almost the entire weekend. I need some ideas in place because I don't want next year to be like this year. Can't take it...comments?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 23, 2012

    I read books that I like and I don't bring school stuff home with me.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jun 23, 2012

    I took mini-vacations frequently on weekends. Just small things like taking a drive up the mountain or to the beach (both really close to where I live). I also simply went to things I enjoyed, like science museums, and other things that recharged me.

    I had margarita nights with friends. Never took work home as Caesar said, and didn't grade everything definitely.

    I also make sure I have one relaxing activity to do every night, whether it be reading the Song of Ice and Fire books, or watching Star Trek. Something that wouldn't get addicting. Also, make sure you are getting your full 8 hours of sleep. That is number one priority to me.

    Granted last year, I was teaching classes, running an afterschool program, working a third job, and finishing my full-time credential classes, so I didn't get to relax as much as I would have liked to, and the end of the year is probably always going to be hectic.
     
  5. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 23, 2012

    I work waaaayy too much (at home & on the job), but here are my anti-anxiety (non-drug) methods:
    exercise at least 3 times per week - I take out lots of stress at Anytime Fitness
    prayer/meditation
    visit AtoZteacher stuff regularly!
    I'm not being flip - these are the things that save my sanity :)
     
  6. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    I've gotten better about bringing school work home with me. The papers sit in my teacher bag most of the time anyway because I don't want to grade them. I love the suggestions of previous posters. Exercise is a good way to get rid of some stress. Do any of your local gyms offer teacher discounts? I enjoy the occasional margarita myself. :)
     
  7. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Jun 23, 2012

    Walking BY MYSELF. I walk around the community almost every day after school. I have had so many people offer to go walking with me, and I kindly tell them this is the ONLY time I get to myself, and I like walking alone. Some have taken offense to it, others understand.
     
  8. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jun 23, 2012

    I stress over the little things way too much! We have 5 days left of school and I am agonizing over comments I wrote on report cards (Was I too harsh?), time management during the year (Did I teach addition and subtraction well enough?) and things that happen day to day (Was I too hard on a student? Do they know I care about them? Did I teach them how to behave vs. just give them consequences?). I honestly don't know how to turn it all off, but it is important to have a life away from school. Going out with friends, exercising, eating well are all important!
     
  9. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Jun 23, 2012

    Drink!
     
  10. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jun 24, 2012

    I agree with what was said above, especially the 8 hours of sleep. I go to bed at a set time, whether or not I'm tired.

    The other thing that helps me & is hard with kids at home, is to limit the amount of "evenings" out. I'm okay with getting home at 6p.m., but anything later then that or having a night event, I try to limit those.

    I try to stay organized, I plan our evening meals in advance. There's no guessing about what to make for dinner. It's on the list on the fridge. When I know I'm getting home late or having somewhere to go, it's a much quicker meal then if I can leave work come home & make dinner. Love my crockpot!

    My clothes are organized, so I know that for the week I have what I need & I don't have to iron anything in the morning, no worrying about if an item needs to be laundered.

    Those 2 things help to reduce my stress at home, which helps me at work.
     
  11. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2012

    1. Pinterest
    2. Yoga-even if it is only once a week
    3. My own children- I look at their faces and remind myself of what is important.
    4. My spouse- He absolutely cracks me up!
    5. Reiki- Research it. It does make a difference.
    6. Reading good books
    7. Perspective- Sit back daily and put things in perspective. My friend has a son with cancer. Compared to that my problems are minor.
    8. I get on the floor and play with my dogs. Don't have a pet? Borrow one once in awhile:)
    9. Go to Target and just wander around and look at stuff!
    10. Sit and stare. Take time to just sit and stare. You will be amazed at how good it feels!!!
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 24, 2012

    As my experience increases with each passing year, so does my confidence. Now that I don't feel like I have to prove myself any longer I have learned to let a lot of things go.

    I remind myself of the the following things:

    I am NOT going to change the world. God did not put me here to do that. I'll never be famous, they'll never make a movie about me, all I can hope to do is teach my students science and help prepare them for their futures. I am but a small piece of the puzzle that is their lives. If I am lucky enough to greatly impact a student, good for me. But that's not why I am in it. The BEST compliment that I have received so far is that one of my former students is at college majoring in chemistry because I showed her how much fun science could be. THAT is an awesome reward for my work.

    I have my own family and my own children to focus on. It is not fair that 100 students get the best of me each day and the vast majority of them will not remember my name three years from now. I need to put my attention where it is needed the most and will get the most return.

    I care more about some of my students than some of their own parents do. But no matter how much I might try to make up for that deficiency, I never will be able to. I can nuture, encourage, reprimand, etc., all day long but I will never fill that gap. I had to realize that.

    I am given an impossible task. I cannot do all of the things that the feds want, state wants, the district wants, my admins want, my coworkers want and my students want. Often those desires conflict with each other, often there is not enough time to do it all and often I am not given the tools with which to do them. It was hard on my perfectionist nature to accept this.

    I am an employee. I made a deal (which has been broken on many occassions, but I digress) to do a job for a certain amount of money. I will try to do that job and uphold my end of the bargain. If my admin tells me to do something, I'll do it. They are the bosses. Sometimes I will request they put it in writing because I know it directly conflicts with policy so I want to cover my butt, but I'll do it. If a star athlete fails my class but admin wants to pass him, that is within their right to do so. I did what I thought was right, the rest is on them. So far I have been able to live with the decisions they have made. I may not enjoy the outcomes, but I can live with them.

    Lastly, I have learned that I am just as important as everyone else in that school - teachers, admins and students alike. There are but so many hours in the day. If admin requires I do XYZ, then there is a very good possiblity that ABC doesn't get done. I refuse to put in the 60 hour weeks that I used to put in when I first started. I no longer feel any shame about letting somethings go because the powers that be asked more of me. I see it as their decision, not my inadequacy.
     
  13. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jun 24, 2012

    I should print this out in a pretty font and frame it. Then I need to read it every single day.

    One thing I do is swing - on the porch swing. I found it was very relaxing to look out at the green lawn, the woods, the birds. And God bless hubby. He is my rock here on earth. Couldn't get thru without him.
     
  14. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jun 24, 2012

    I try not to let things pile up. I take care of things AS SOON AS I know about them..for example, if the principal asks me to fill out a paper or call a parent about something I do it at my very next available opportunity.

    I stay organized- plan my meals for the week, have lunches and clothes ready for the next day before going to bed.

    I go to bed early.

    I pray. A lot.

    I take a day off when I really really need one.

    I bring very little work home with me. I grade what I can while I'm at school. I go in a little early and stay a little late (about 30 minutes total per day) to accomplish this.

    I prioritize what must be done vs. what can be done away with. When it's just too much, I checkmark things as a participation grade or even toss them rather than diligently grading them (not tests or assessments, but practice work or homework).
     
  15. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Jun 24, 2012

    I love everything that NCScienceTeach said. I definitely stress during the school year, and I need to remind myself that I am not going to change every single child's life in nine months. Thank you for that reflection, NC!
     
  16. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jun 24, 2012

    So, I'm not the only one here that gets all wound up? So good to know. I had a lot going on at the end of the year. They piled up, it was mostly out of my control, but how I deal with it is. This will NOT be me next year. I'm going to take whatever measures that I must to see that this never happens again. Maybe this is part of being a new teacher, to not see it coming.

    Thank you all so much. Your ideas here are awesome and I will take something from all posts and suggestions. It really helps to know that I am not alone in this matter...
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jun 24, 2012

    I don't- I am SO bad about that! I am such a worrier and I know I have high anxiety so it's really hard not to just let everything get to me.

    Some strategies I have tried:
    1. Reading a really, really good book: This helps a ton, but I find it hard to find those "really, really good" books often!
    2. Planning for an upcoming trip, vacation, weekend, whatever- rather than focusing on school stuff.
    3. Venting on here!
    4. Watching mind-numbing reality tv- I always HATED reality TV, until I was a teacher! Now I like it to take my mind off things and contemplate how ridiculous other people are.
    5. Stay organized and get things done before deadlines, so I am not that crazy person running around at school trying to get things done. I prioritize- what needs to be done right now vs. what can I wait awhile on vs. what do I really not need to do at all (I dropped making detailed lesson plans for example- has not affected my teaching at all).
    6. Not taking work home or checking my work e-mail for a night. Sometimes I'd make a pact with myself not to even check my work e-mail for a whole weekend until sunday night. This was hard but it helped a lot. We had a crazy title 1 teacher who was messing up all of our RtI stuff, and she was always e-mailing me these long winded obnoxious things- it sounds dumb, but with her around, checking my e-mail was really stressful.
     
  18. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Jun 24, 2012

    I think that the way you were feeling at the end of the year is increasingly common for teachers as a whole. Many of us are stressing because of the political climate and other things beyond our control. It seems that more and more is being expected of us, and we are being given less resources with which to accomplish everything. Personally, I try to de-stress by not taking work home with me (I am often at school later to get things done), by walking, by reading before bed, making sure that I am well rests, and by talking with colleagues about how I am feeling. It works ... to some extent. If you find a better solution, please let me know!
     
  19. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2012

     
  20. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Jun 24, 2012

    What I've founding is that if I don't grade things right away, they aren't important enough to grade, so I end up grading for completion and quickly scanning for trouble spots. I've generally either gleaned what I need by watching students work on the assignment, or we go over as a class.

    Tests, etc I grade in a planning period and return ASAP.

    I never take anything home, ever. One reason is that my first year I had a kid who did NOTHING in class. NOTHING. his mother insisted that I was losing all of his work. Then, the kid somehow stole his midterm from the pile on my desk in the minutes before I passed them back, to help prove I always lost all of his work. My solution to that was to only give kids their grades and not the tests back, then we went over the entire test as a class. He kept asking me for his back, but I was NOT going to admit I didn't have it.

    Counseling's solution was that all work be turned in directly to them so I would have to sign for his assignments. This would have been ridiculous and made me angry except he never turned anything in anyway.

    But, being able to say that student work never leaves one specific folder that never leaves the room cuts down on all of that plus student whining about how they handed it in but it wasn't graded.

    I sort of take the tack of figuring what I can get done by 2:45. If its not done, I didn't prioritize it high enough and it could either wait another day or didn't need done.

    I'll spend a few hours here and there working on lesson planning, but only when I am in the mood and can produce good material, and I'll spend an evening going over plans right before a new unit.

    If this sounds lazy or slipshod, it isn't. I am firm believer in working efficiently. I work through lunch on days I have more to do, and I use every scrap of time in the morning. I try to do my copies for the entire unit and then have them all clipped and stacked up in order ready to go. Also, in an average 90 minute block, my students are working independently or in groups, so I can tweak powerpoints or grade a few easy things while they are starting and before they are ready for me to check in them. This probably gives me an extra ~10 minutes per block, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it adds up to a good 30 minutes each day.

    The most important part of my job is what I do between the bells, so I try to really devote my energy there, not to staying up until midnight tweaking already decent plans. I can tweak in the fly if the students aren't responding.
     
  21. onestepcloser

    onestepcloser Companion

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    Jun 24, 2012

    *listens* I really need this thread and will be reading all of your suggestions!
     
  22. onestepcloser

    onestepcloser Companion

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    Jun 24, 2012

    THANK YOU so much for this post. I feel that as I go on, working in an inner-city environment makes me question myself and LOSE confidence in my abilities as a teacher. I really appreciate this post.
     
  23. Jeky

    Jeky Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2012

    At the beginning of the year, I start out with a rough plan of the first two weeks. I go to work before PD starts and make all of my copies so everything is ready. During the year, our team always plans at least a week ahead, and I try to copy a week ahead too.....it makes my day-to-day tasks WAY less stressful!

    I wake up early, help my husband get my daughter off to daycare, and get to school early so I can prep. At the end of the day, I leave no more than 30 minutes after the bell rings, even if I don't have everything finished that I need to. I can always deal with it in the morning. I do NOT take work home, unless it is a big test that I want to grade.

    I take a mental health day when I really need it (maybe 3 per year), but I make sure to plan it about 2 weeks or so in advance, so I'm not rushing around the day before trying to get sub plans in.

    When I get home, I focus on my husband and daughter, even if that means consciously putting thoughts of work/students out of my mind.

    Crock pot dinners + a glass of wine :)
     
  24. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2012

    .
     
  25. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2012

    Wow--awesome advice here. Thanks everyone.
     
  26. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    1. School work gets done at school. If it doesn't get done at school it doesn't get done.

    2. I talk about good and bad things with my boyfriend every day. He's such a good listener.

    3. I really enjoy my time at home. Lots of tasty meals, hanging out with my boyfriend, watching stupid TV shows.. etc.

    4. I drink. Every day:)
     
  27. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I do bring work home with me, because my long commute makes it too hard to get it all done at school. BUT I don't touch my schoolwork until my son goes to sleep at night. Then I give myself a set amount of time to do work and then I must relax.

    Facebook, pinterest, AtoZ all help a lot.

    So does an adult beverage when needed. :)

    Dh cooks dinner during the school year, which helps tremendously. We plan our meals out when we go food shopping, which is helpful.

    I also have shows I watch most nights that I can lose myself in.
     
  28. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Jun 25, 2012

    I don't bring any work home unless it is a major test and I don't do work on the weekends. Prior to leaving school this year I had many of my activities, booklets, and worksheets already copied for Sept. so my summer is spent on my family, friends, and myself, not school. I have large plastic tubs that hold art activities, worksheets, centers, for each month so I know that I don't have to scramble to find things. I also don't have the need to change things around every year. I've been at this for too many years to know that if something works and the children love it why change. I don't worry about themes because they aren't done at my school. My colleagues are my support team. We talk about everything. And if some type of stress befalls me I cook.
     

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