Saturday, June 23, 2018

Kim Frencken: Teacher stress is not a myth

We've all heard it. Stressed? What do you have to stressed about? You get summers off, afternoons and evenings off. You get to play with kids all day. How can you be stressed?

They don't get it. And... they never will. Some people are so........ narrow minded, close minded, I-don't-know-what-kind-of-minded that they will never understand the stress that teachers are placed under AND place themselves under.

If you've never taught or you don't personally know a teacher, you're probably wondering what stress they could possible have. Here are just seven of the stresses that teachers face.

1. The stress of being responsible for the health, well-being, happiness (yes, some parents place this right up there with safety), and education of several children.
2.The stress of planning and preparing meaningful lessons designed to take children to the next level and the next century.
3. The stress of collaborating with their colleagues on nonexistent time.
4. The stress of parent relations.
5. The stress of school public relations.
6. The stress of no support from administrators.
7. The stress of having too much paper work and not enough time. And before you say, I have paper work at my job. This is true. But you don't have 20 six year old demanding your attention.

Now for the major stressor, the one that teachers place on themselves. The stress of reaching each child where they are and bringing them where they need to be academically while loving and nurturing them socially and emotionally. In short, the stress of caring too much. Yes, too much. Teachers adopt each child in their classroom as if they were their own. I am convinced that teachers have the biggest heart of anyone. Ever. Period.

If you don't believe me, do some fact checking. Report after report, survey after survey all say the same thing. Teachers face a tremendous amount of stress. It is real and sadly, it is the reason many leave the profession.

So cut teachers some slack over summers and holidays off. Listen and support, instead of criticize. In fact, that sounds like good advice for just about anyone.

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog, Chocolate For the Teacher.)

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