Managing teacher stress in the early childhood environment

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on October 1, 2011

in Bam Radio Series on Early Childhood Education, Managing Teacher Stress

Having worked in early childhood education for over 25 years, I understand and personally know that teaching can be both rewarding and stressful.  Teacher stress was the topic of today’s Bam Radio Show broadcast which I invite you to take a listen. I will give a short recap of some of the points I found to be most helpful but these experts really understand that stress is real and that it needs to be managed wisely so we, as teachers, can keep our joy…

Handling Teacher Stress: Increase The Positive, Decrease The Negative
Rae Pica with  Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, Jeff Johnson, Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, Jeff Johnson, and Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

You can listen to this broadcast by clicking here or here!

What contributes to teacher stress?

There are so many things that can contribute to teacher stress. The experts in the Bam Radio Show suggest a few and I have added a few of my own as well.  Stress can be caused by…

  • A lack of money or resources to do the things you want or need in your classroom. Often times, we see great ideas that we would love to try or new equipment we would love to have but don’t have the resources to make things happen.
  • Working with lots of other people.  Spending every day working with other people, both big and little, can naturally wear a person out.
  • Not having time for breaks throughout the day. There are some childcare environments where the teachers are not given time away from their classroom throughout the day. A home teaching environment would also be an example of working all day without a real break.
  • Constant changes in rules and regulations imposed by others. Whether they are imposed by licensing agencies or administrators, change can add to a teacher’s level of stress.
  • A lack of personal interest, education, or continuous professional development can also lead to added stress.  We all need to feel invested in what we do in order to find joy and we all need to feel like we are growing in the process.
  • A lack of moral support and recognition for a job well done. We all need a pat on the back every once in awhile.
  • The inability to say ‘no.”  As teachers, we want to invest in others so we tend to get ourselves over-committed and we just hate to tell someone “no.”

What can you do to help alleviate teacher stress?

Not all stress is bad. Stress can push us to do our very best and challenge us to grow and learn.  However, not all stress is good either. The experts on the Bam Radio Show offer up a few tips for helping teachers manage stress wisely…

  • Start off your day by taking a few minutes for yourself. Take that time to relax, breath, or to just sit still.  A few minutes of quiet time each morning can help you start your day a little more relaxed.
  • Learn to say “no” to occasions that will take up your free time. As a teacher, there are always opportunities to share your talents but you need to be smart about it. Protect your free time and use it to take care of yourself.
  • Look for opportunities to grow in your profession and/or education. Learning new things such as new teaching techniques, child development, or finding new ideas to do in music/art/math/science can be inspiring and exciting. Learning new ideas can make you want to get up everyday and rush to the classroom to try them out. Fill up your tank by taking advantages of opportunities to learn.  You can attend conferences, read professional journals, take classes in early childhood education, or even read blogs like this one!
  • Invest time in the classroom doing more of something you love. If you are passionate about the arts or exercise or technology then look for opportunities to share your talents and passion with your students.
  • Find others who share your love for teaching. Build yourself a network of support so you can brainstorm ideas, cheer each other on, and help each other find solutions.
I am sure there are other ideas you have for successfully managing stress in your day.  Feel free to share them here with us!…..

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

Check out Deborah's new book and order your copy today!

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