Teachers have choices to make that would reduce the negative impact of stress.
The two types of stress need to be understood.
A lot of Teacher stress is good stress.
Good Stress is an appropriate, positive response to the stressors teachers meet.
Picture joy and laughter.
Good stress is a pleasant and healing stress.
Good stress may appear to be an emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical overload, but it does not drain away power.
It energizes you; helps you handle the overload.
Good stress is common in the examples below. However, the examples depend on how an individual perceives the stress. The examples below are most often perceived as good stress.
The stuff that causes teachers most pain is DISTRESS
Distress is an inappropriate, negative response to the stressors of a teacher’s job.
Picture double trouble coming your way.
Distress is often a disabling, crippling stress.
Distress, like good stress may appear to be an emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical overload.
Unlike good stress, distress drains power for anything other than fight or flight.
Distress tires you; freezes the brain, and makes it difficult to handle the overload.
Stress can be overwhelming. You can see by the graph that it is a roller coaster ride and the fine line from good stress and distress.
Overcoming teacher stress can be as simple as choosing the stress that will dictate the type of day you will have.
Remembering that stress is nothing more than your response to the demands placed upon you, recognize that you have control over job stress.
You may choose to respond positively or negatively; with Good stress or with distress.
Look at the following two examples.
1. You face a huge stack of school work that needs to be marked.
A distress response is to sigh, and take “flight” down the hall for another mug of stale coffee and some small talk. Eventually, you plod back to the classroom, “flight” still written clearly on every part of your body. You sit down forlornly, and gaze dejectedly at the clock. Your shoulders slump as you reach for the first paper.
You wish for a magic wand that will make the papers go away. That does not happen, of course, and you begin to reap the detrimental effects of distress.
A good stress response is to smile, allocate 2 hours to finish the work, and divide the stack into 8 stacks. Now you have bite-sized work piles. You set a goal of completing each stack in no more than 15 minutes – less if responsibly possible. Promising yourself a cup of coffee after the first hour, you tackle the first stack, eager to meet or beat you goal. Augmenting goo stress, you enjoy distress reduction and all of its healthy benefits.
2. Betty insists on asking endless questions, no matter how well you explain.
A distress response is to “fight” with Betty, stress reduction hopes shattered. You feel neck and shoulders muscles tighten. A frown yanks your mouth downward as you approach Betty’s seat. Unconsciously, you clench your fist. You will not permit Betty to demand so much attention, and you make that very clear in sharp, “fighting” tones. Betty cowers into silence, and you begin to reap the detrimental effects of distress.
A Good stress response is to smile quietly, and see Betty as one reason you decided on a teaching career. You want to teach Betty stress reduction along with proper listening techniques. You wait for a time when the rest of the class is occupied, and then go quietly to Betty’s desk. Smiling, you take Betty to a quiet, private part of the room. Relaxed and happy, you set a goal with Betty. You and she will work together to help her listen in such a way that she needs fewer questions. As she learns to control her response to the stressor of listening, she can win small rewards along the way. By the time Betty returns to her desk, you both are happy. Augmenting Good stress, you enjoy job stress reduction again.
Teacher stress is a choice.
To have the correct teacher stress you have to turn distress into good stress.