Posts Tagged ‘Stress’

Are Our Expectations for Children Too High?

September 16, 2014

shave

 

I believe very strongly in setting firm but fair expectations for my students when it comes to behaviour, respect for others and effort. But in doing so, I must be mindful not to overburden them. The last thing I want is for them to drown in unrealistic expectation.

Author and speaker put together a list of unfair expectations parents put on their kids:

 

1. Always be in a good mood.

Isn’t it upsetting when you come home from a long day of work and your kids are in a bad mood? You worked hard all day to put food in their bellies; the least they can do is not add to your stress. Right?

I’ve felt this way, but the thing I had to realize is that they have bad days too. It might have been that irritating kid at school or a teacher in a bad mood, it could have even been their other parent, but our children experience things throughout their day that will put them in a bad mood, just like us.

We have to cut them some slack at times; they have issues to deal with too. Do you remember how crazy being young felt at times? They’re not always going to be in a good mood, and we have to learn to accept that. Don’t misunderstand me, if your child is ALWAYS in a bad mood, that’s a different story.

2. Be perfect in school.

It’s natural to want your children to study hard and breeze through school like Doogie Howser, MD, but you have to remember that was a TV show! In real life, children learn things differently. It’s our job to guide them, not punish them because they may have a harder time learning.

We’re not perfect at work — at most jobs, it’s not expected. School is our children’s form of “work” until they go out into the world.

3. Never mess up.

It’s frustrating when our children mess up. It could be a dish dropped, door slammed or something bigger, like a car accident. Hey, WE MESS UP TOO! Why do we try to hold our kids to a standard that we can’t maintain ourselves? Mistakes happen, we ALL mess up, that’s life. Don’t hold being human against your children.

4. Be grateful for what I’ve given you.

We give our children so much, and yes, they should be grateful, but being a parent means putting your children’s needs before your own. We can’t just give them the scraps.

That goes for giving of yourself too. Just because you’re in a room with them doesn’t mean you’re spending time with them — especially if you’re glued to the TV. They shouldn’t be grateful for just your presence; they need your attention, too. Give them everything you have, not what you think you can afford to spare.

5. Ignore how we treat each other.

Our children see and pick up more than we think. When we have those “heated” discussions in what we think is private, chances are they know what’s going on.

How you treat each other will affect what kind of people they grow up to be. If you talk down to each other in front of them, if you criticize or belittle each other, you better believe they will too one day.

Our children learn how to treat others from us. Not what we tell them — how we actually treat people. Think twice before you let your emotions take over and cause you to say something that could affect your kids.

6. Don’t try to get away with anything.

I remember trying to get away with so much stuff when I was younger. My mother would yell at me when she caught me. She would tell me daily that she couldn’t wait for me to have children to see what she has to go through.

I use to think, Whatever, Mom… until I had children of my own. Turns out, mom was right. We have to remember what it was like at that age and not make every incident a nuclear explosion.

Yes, some things warrant certain punishments, but others aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. If it’s a minor issue, letting your kids learn a “life lesson” might be a better approach.

Our youngest son worked hard all summer to buy a laptop for himself. When we moved here to Maui, he ended up dropping it and cracking the screen. We found out a few weeks later, and we were furious.

He lied to us, he hid things from us, he broke an expensive item. We had to take a step back, cool off and remember that this affected him more than us; he bought it with his own money. We talked to him about the lying, but him breaking his own laptop was a life lesson.

7. Always forgive.

You can’t constantly treat your children poorly and expect them to always forgive. They might have a high tolerance for our issues, but there will come a limit.

There are some rough situations. Parents split up, maybe even divorce; there are money issues, stresses of everyday life, and lots of things that are out of your control. But you have to make the best out of every bad situation and not take it out on your children. In those situations, you have to do as much as you can to give them some sense of normalcy.

8. Do what I say, not what I do.

At the end of the day, our children learn more by what we do, not what we say. Actions do speak louder than words in parenting, and you have to lead by example.

When I told my children I was writing this, they informed me that I had a lot more than eight unrealistic expectations. I was irritated, but I’m sure they’re right.

We have to let our kids be kids, not perfect robots. They’re going to mess up — that’s life. Our job is to guide them and be there for them. If a situation requires discipline, then by all means do what needs to be done.

Here is what I challenge you to do: Take a step back first, and don’t let your emotions control the situation. These years are vital in molding the kind of people they will become.

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Tips for Dealing With Negative Feedback

March 20, 2014

 

stress

Nobody likes being criticised and some negative comments hits very hard. We have all struggled to rebound from scathing criticism in the post, so it’s good to have sites like ukedchat.com to refer to when trying to manage such a situation:

  • One major way to deal with judgements is to remember that it is not necessarily a definition of who you are as a person; such opinions do not define you as a person, but are there as a snapshot of the work you do, and if managed carefully, a way for you to improve the way you teach.
  • Remember how such judgements make you feel, and consider this when making judgements yourself (to pupils and/or colleagues) – don’t be the hater. Don’t be the person who tears down someone else’s hard work. The world needs more people who contribute their gifts and share their work and ideas. Working up the courage to do that can be tough. Support the people who display that courage.
  • If you’re dealing with criticism, then don’t let the wall keep you from seeing the road. Focus on the path ahead. For example, when planning a trip, you may explore the online reviews from other travellers. Rationally, you will ignore the top and bottom 10% of the reviews and focus on those in the middle – they are the ones you pay attention to – consider this with the you receive.
  • If you choose to respond to the haters, then surprise them with kindness. You might just win a new fan while you’re at it.
  • Finally, and most importantly, make the choices that are right for you. People will criticise you either way – It’s human nature.
  • Be aware of Passive Aggressive behaviours. They can be destructive.

 

Click on the link to read Guess What Percentage of Teachers Considered Quitting this Year

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Click on the link to read If You Think Teaching is so Easy You Should Try it for Yourself

Click on the link to read Teachers are Extremely Vulnerable to False Accusations

Kids Have Never Felt More Stressed

January 20, 2014

 

 

A new survey concludes that UK kids are as stressed as they’ve ever been, with the school environment given as reason for some of the blame. Whilst we can’t interfere with a child’s home life, I can’t understand why more isn’t done to make kids feel happier at school.

At the moment schools seem to be reactionary. Instead of providing the safe and warm environment they preach in their marketing material, they seem to wait for a problem to arise and then rely on their tired policies and often lackluster procedures.  This achieves their main goal of avoiding lawsuits, but does little to properly make the child a top priority.

As long as many schools continue to concentrate on avoiding bad publicity instead of delivering an environment their students can thrive in, the stress will continue to mount.

Above is a movie about adjusting to change and dealing with stress that is well worth watching with your child.

 

Click on the link to read Where is the Deterrent For Teachers Who Have Sex With Their Students?

Click on the link to read 6 Tips for Kids Who Worry Too Much

Click on the link to read Since When is Trying to Sell Your Baby a “Joke”?

Click on the link to read A World Where Sex Offenders Have “Human Rights” and their Victims Have None

Click on the link to read Schools Pick and Choose What They Implement

If You Think Teaching is so Easy You Should Try it for Yourself

October 9, 2013

 

 

help

 

Yes, it’s true, the holidays are good and the hours can be flexible, but teaching is not an easy profession. I adore teaching, but even on a good day I come home absolutely exhausted. And it’s not as if my day stops when I get home. Marking, planning and reporting duties often have me working deep into the night.

The same parents that think teaching is not very hard, openly complain about how tiring their child’s birthday party was to manage. They freely talk about the noise levels, the repeated requests for them to be quiet and the tears when games are lost and feelings are hurt.

Now picture this: You are hosting a birthday party every single day for a year. Now you know what it can be like to teach a class!

I am very lucky. My natural love for teaching energises me and gives me the adrenaline I need to get through the day with my smile intact. But I have experienced enough stress and challenges in my time to completely sympathise with the overwhelming number of teachers experiencing burnout:

More than one in four new teachers are suffering from ”emotional exhaustion” and almost burnt out soon after starting their careers, according to a Monash University study.

The reasons offered include a lack of administrative support, onerous compliance measures and much tougher emotional conditions than they expected to face, particularly in economically depressed areas.

“We could go within five kilometres of this university and find classroom environments where some teachers would be experiencing forms of post-traumatic stress as a result of the sorts of things they deal with on a daily basis – where the social dimension of their work is a big, big ask,” Associate Professor Paul Richardson said. ”People would be shocked.”

He and Associate Professor Helen Watt made their findings from surveys of 612 primary and secondary teachers. They were first surveyed in 2002 as they enrolled in teacher education at universities in Victoria and NSW.

”I would never have thought 27 per cent would be on a path to burnout or worn out already,” Dr Richardson said. Dr Watt described those affected as ”a very dangerous group”.

“They report much greater negativity in their interaction with students,” she said, ”such as using sarcasm, aggression, responding negatively to mistakes. They were there [originally] for reasons such as wanting to enhance social equity, making a contribution to society, or having a personal interest in teaching and working with youth,” she said.

Yet the latest results of the FIT-Choice (Factors Influencing Teaching) project indicate low morale is all too common among this sample.

And the most positively motivated teaching students – those who initially planned to stay in teaching the longest – suffered the greatest drop in confidence and satisfaction once they started working.

In Victoria, new teachers have orientation days, mentoring arrangements and even “buddy” programs to help them feel at home in their first weeks on the job.

“But it would appear most of these measures are ad hoc,” said Andrea Gallant, a senior lecturer and education researcher at Deakin University.

Dr Gallant is tracking the attrition rate among beginning teachers – a statistic made difficult to pin down because teachers often remain registered after leaving the profession. The Education Department puts the attrition rate for teachers under 30 at 3 per cent. “We would estimate the rate of attrition to be probably 50 per cent,” Dr Gallant said. She recently completed a small case study interviewing high-performing teaching graduates who left the profession within a few years, to find out why.

“They were keen to introduce new practices, which were not always widely accepted by peers. They were supported in their first year and isolated in their second year,” Dr Gallant said. ”And often they’re given the toughest classes.”

Meredith Peace, Victorian branch president of the Australian Education Union, said schools were not given enough support to implement structured peer-to-peer programs. “Good mentoring requires time,” she said.

Click on the link to read Teachers are Extremely Vulnerable to False Accusations
Click on the link to read Top 10 Ways of Dealing with Teacher Burnout

5 Tips to Help Children Cope With Stress

August 22, 2013

 

stress

Courtesy of stressfreekids.com:

1. Help children put words to their feelings. Ask them if they feel nervous, scared, or worried. Ask them what is making them feel that way.

2. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and encourage the use of positive statements. Often children do not understand the outcome of an action or change. Instead of realizing their favorite teacher will be back tomorrow..they might think she is gone forever. Create positive statements for the situation.

“I am safe. My substitute teacher is fun. My teacher will be back soon.

3. Introduce stress management techniques to  children. Parents and teachers can easily teach and use techniques like breathing, positive statements, and visualizing on a regular basis. Lesson Plans are available.

4. Establish a bedtime routine that helps kids relax. Soothing music or relaxing stories.  Indigo Dreams: Kids Relaxation Music promotes sleep and relaxation.

5. Spend reassuring quality time with children. Parents and teachers can  laugh and play together. Singing songs like The More We Get TogetherThis Is The Way We Laugh And Play and If You’re Happy And You Know It can be a liberating and fun stress reliever that you and your children can enjoy together.

 

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Click on the link to read Tips For Parents of Kids Who “Hate School”

Click on the link to read 20 Reassuring Things Every Parent Should Hear

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Support Teachers Before they Have a ‘Meltdown’

March 5, 2013

chalk

Teacher meltdowns are often ugly and they are toxic in a school environment. When they occur, inevitably, disciplinary action must be taken to ensure that the offense doesn’t happen again.

Whilst a teacher doesn’t have an excuse when they act unprofessionally, it is vital that more support and greater welfare provisions are available for what is a highly stressful and sometimes quite unforgiving occupation.

The teacher that wrote an intimidating message on the chalkboard of his classroom deserves to be severely punished for his inexcusable actions. However, with 28 years of service, I only wish he would have been able to seek help instead of  feeling the need to vent in such a way:

A northwest Indiana teacher is the subject of a police probe over a threatening message he scrawled on the chalkboard of his classroom.

According to ABC Chicago, the teacher at Edison Junior-Senior High School in Lake Station, Ind., wrote the following message on his chalkboard following after he had a “meltdown” during his sixth-period personal finance class last week:

A.) You are idiots!!!!!!!!B.) The guns are loaded!!!

C.) Care to try me???????

Students took a photo of the message and the image was circulated on social media, prompting school administrators to take action. The teacher was told to leave the school last Friday morning while an investigation into the apparent threat is completed.

Both police and the Lake County prosecutor’s office are working on the matter, according to Fox Chicago, and charges may yet be filed against the teacher.

According to CBS Chicago, the school sent out a district-wide call to students’ parents assuring them that “your student was never in danger” and that “the staff member is currently not in school.”

The teacher, a 28-year veteran of the school, has never been disciplined before, according to ABC.

 

Click on the link to read I Also Had a Student Hold a Toy Gun to my Face

Click on the link to read Who is Going to Stand Up For Bullied Teachers?

Click on the link to read 12 Tips for Managing Time in the Classroom

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Different Professions, Same Experiences

Click on the link to read Our Pay Isn’t the Problem

20 Questions Teachers Should Be Asking Themselves

December 10, 2012

teaching

Courtesy of minds-in-bloom.com:

    1. What are some things you accomplished this year that you are proud of?
    2. What is something you tried in your classroom this year for the first time? How did it go?
    3. What is something you found particularly frustrating this year?
    4. Which student in your class do you think showed the most improvement? Why do you think this student did so well?
    5. What is something you would change about this year if you could?
    6. What is one way that you grew professionally this year?
    7. Who amongst your colleagues was the most helpful to you?
    8. What has caused you the most stress this year?
    9. When was a time this year when you felt joyful and/or inspired about the work that you do?
    10. What do you hope your students remember most about you as a teacher?
    11. In what ways were you helpful to your colleagues this year?
    12. What was the most valuable thing you learned this year?
    13. What was the biggest mistake you made this year? How can you avoid making the same mistake in the future?
    14. What is something you did this year that went better than you thought it would?
    15. What part of the school day is your favorite? Why?
    16. What were your biggest organizational challenges this year?
    17. Who was your most challenging student? Why?
    18. In what ways did you change the lives of your students this year?
    19. Pretend that you get to set your own salary for this past year based on the job that you did. How much do you feel that you earned (the number you come up with should be in no way based on your current salary – rather, come up with a number that truly reflects how you should be compensated for your work this year)?
    20. Knowing what you know now, would you still choose to be a teacher if you could go back in time and make the choice again? If the answer is “no,”  is there a way for you to choose a different path now?

Click on the link to read School Official Allegedly told a Teacher to Train her Breasts to not Make Milk at Work

Click on the link to read 12 Tips for Managing Time in the Classroom

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Different Professions, Same Experiences

Click on the link to read Our Pay Isn’t the Problem

November 11, 2012

Michael G.:

A funny post by a teacher quite sick of the same old questions.

Originally posted on Singing Pigs:

A short little piece inspired by the tenth student in fifteen minutes to inquire about a test.

1. Have you graded our tests yet?

No.  Contrary to popular belief, I am not a Scantron machine.  Good thing, too, because to my knowledge, Scantron machines cannot grade short answer or essay questions which make up the bulk of your test.  And while I do consider myself a reasonably intelligent human being I have not yet perfected my reading skills to complete ninety, four-page tests in one hour (which is exactly how long it has been since you walked out of my classroom) even if I weren’t teaching the rest of the day or preparing your classes for tomorrow.  I reassure you that the second the tests are graded, the grades will be posted online because (also contrary to popular belief) I have better things to do than get my kicks by…

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The Difficulties of Parenting a Special Needs Child

March 10, 2012


Teaching a Special Needs child can be a most difficult proposition, but parenting one is infinitely harder.

I read a brilliant piece entitled, “6 Things You Don’t Know About a Special Needs Parent.” It’s honesty provides the reader with great insight into the difficulties of raising a child that suffers from a disability. Maria Lin, the author of this wonderful article, is the parent of a 3-year-old suffering from a disorder of the 18th Chromosome. Up until now she has been tight-lipped about her experiences. I have no doubt that this article will serve to educate people like myself and will provide some comfort to other parents who are in a similar situation.

Below is her list of 6 insights:

1. I am tired. Parenting is already an exhausting endeavor. But parenting a special needs child takes things to another level of fatigue. Even if I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, or have had some time off, there is a level of emotional and physical tiredness that is always there, that simply comes from the weight of tending to those needs. Hospital and doctors’ visits are not just a few times a year, they may be a few times a month. Therapies may be daily. Paperwork and bills stack up, spare time is spent researching new treatments, positioning him to sit a certain way, advocating for him in the medical and educational system. This is not to mention the emotional toll of raising a special needs child, since the peaks and valleys seem so much more extreme for us. I am always appreciative of any amount of grace or help from friends to make my life easier, no matter how small, from arranging plans around my schedule and location, to watching my son while I am eating.

2. I am jealous. It’s a hard one for me to come out and say, but it’s true. When I see a 1 year-old baby do what my son can’t at 4 years-old (like walk), I feel a pang of jealousy. It hurts when I see my son struggling so hard to learn to do something that comes naturally to a typical kid, like chewing or pointing. It can be hard to hear about the accomplishments of my friend’s kids. Sometimes, I just mourn inside for Jacob, “It’s not fair.” Weirdly enough, I can even feel jealous of other special needs kids who seem to have an easier time than Jacob, or who have certain disorders like Downs, or autism, which are more mainstream and understood by the public, and seem to offer more support and resources than Jacob’s rare condition. It sounds petty, and it doesn’t diminish all my joy and pride in my son’s accomplishments. But often it’s very hard for me to be around typical kids with him. Which leads me to the next point…

3. I feel alone. It’s lonely parenting a special needs child. I can feel like an outsider around moms of typical kids. While I want to be happy for them, I feel terrible hearing them brag about how their 2 year-old has 100 words, or already knows their ABCs (or hey, even poops in the potty). Good for them, but it’s so not what my world looks like (check out Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid). It’s been a sanity saver to connect with other special needs moms, with whom it’s not uncomfortable or shocking to swap stories about medications, feeding tubes, communication devices and therapies. Even within this community, though, there is such variation in how every child is affected. Only I understand Jacob’s unique makeup and challenges. With this honor of caring for him comes the solitude of the role. I often feel really lonely in raising him.

4. I wish you would stop saying, “retarded,” “short bus,” “as long as it’s healthy… “ I know people usually don’t mean to be rude by these comments, and I probably made them myself before Jacob. But now whenever I hear them, I feel a pang of hurt. Please stop saying these things. It’s disrespectful and hurtful to those who love and raise the kids you’re mocking (not to mention the kids themselves). As for the last comment, “as long as it’s healthy,” I hear a lot of pregnant women say this. Don’t get me wrong, I understand and share their wishes for healthy babies in every birth, but it’s become such a thoughtless mantra during pregnancy that it can feel like a wish against what my son is. “And what if it’s not healthy?” I want to ask. (My response: you will be OK. You and your child will still have a great, great life.)

5. I am human. I have been challenged and pushed beyond my limits in raising my son. I’ve grown tremendously as a person, and developed a soft heart and empathy for others in a way I never would have without him. But I’m just like the next mom in some ways. Sometimes I get cranky, my son irritates me, and sometimes I just want to flee to the spa or go shopping (and, um, I often do). I still have dreams and aspirations of my own. I travel, dance, am working on a novel, love good food, talk about dating. I watch Mad Men, and like a good cashmere sweater. Sometimes it’s nice to escape and talk about all these other things. And if it seems that the rest of my life is all I talk about sometimes, it’s because it can be hard to talk about my son. Which leads me to the final point…

6. I want to talk about my son/It’s hard to talk about my son. My son is the most awe-inspiring thing to happen to my life. Some days I want to shout from the top of the Empire State Building how funny and cute he is, or how he accomplished something in school (he was recently voted class president!). Sometimes, when I’m having a rough day, or have been made aware of yet another health or developmental issue, I might not say much. I don’t often share with others, even close friends and family, the depths of what I go through when it comes to Jacob. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to learn how to share our life with others. One thing I always appreciate is whenever people ask me a more specific question about my son, like “How did Jacob like the zoo?” or “How’s Jacob’s sign language coming along?” rather than a more generalized “How’s Jacob?” which can make me feel so overwhelmed that I usually just respond, “Good.” Starting with the small things gives me a chance to start sharing. And if I’m not sharing, don’t think that there isn’t a lot going on underneath, or that I don’t want to.

Ten Useful Tips for Improving Classroom Management

March 7, 2012

Every teacher has moments when they struggle to gain the attention, if not respect, of their class.

successintheclassroom.com has provided 10 useful strategies for improved classroom management.

1. Give at least one warning.

They’re kids. Kids aren’t perfect. I call the name of the student who is disrupting the class, and I say, “That’s one.” Most of the time, that’s all the student needs to straighten up.

2. Don’t try and teach over the noise.

A lot of the student teachers I’ve had are guilty of this. I was guilty of this also when I first started teaching. You have a plan that you have to get through. You see a few students actually paying attention to you, so you don’t want to stop, even though you know the kids in the back are doing something other than listening to you. You can’t go on. You have to stop and either wait till you have all their attention or you have to deal with the students who are taking attention from you.

3. Don’t raise your voice. Stay in control.

When you yell at the students, you give up control, and the students win.

4. Don’t humiliate a student, especially in front of his/her friends.

It’s never a good idea to humiliate a student. Sometimes, when you call their name in front of the class for making noise, it becomes an embarrassing moment. Do your best to make it as short a moment as possible. Don’t go into a long lecture on proper behavior in front of the class. First of all, you may lose any hopes for future success with that student, and you might cause that student to become defensive and belligerent. Some students will risk everything to save face in front of their friends.

5. Spend time on your lesson plan.

My toughest days are when my plan is the weakest. A detailed lesson plan will go a long way to reduce your class disruptions. You can’t just “wing it,” and expect the class to run smoothly.

6. Be consistent.

If one day you give a consequence for poor behavior, and tomorrow you don’t, it’s sends a bad message.

7. Have a discipline ladder.

What is the consequence for the first offence? Second? Make sure the kids know what will happen at each level. Also, make it a short ladder. One = warning; Two = detention; Three = referral to the office, etc.

8. Forget yesterday’s poor behavior.

Make every day a new day, especially for those students who really made you mad yesterday.

9. Praise and remember good behavior.

It’s good to remind your students of how great they did yesterday or last week.

10. Don’t be afraid to contact parents.

Many times, the parents can help you reinforce your rules. Notice I didn’t say “All the times?” Some parents won’t do anything.

I hope these tips will make life easier for you in the classroom. If you have other strategies that have worked for you, please feel free to share them with us.


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