- Do you feel as though your day, previous to teaching, seeps into your ability to teach effectively?
- Do you ever feel as though problems from days previous effective how you interact with students?
- Do you ever feel as though your problems become find their way onto the shoulders of your students?
These are tough questions to be honest about… We all have stressful days, challenges and situations that seem to get out of control. As a result, our teaching is affected. More importantly, our students are affected.
We must learn to keep our out-of-classroom(OOC)stresses separate from our, well, classroom. 🙂
In order for use to do this we need to become aware of the things that might trigger unwanted reactions to students. Awareness is key and, in this article I will list the top 10 mistakes[us]teachers make when we are stressed and how they affect how effective we are as educators.
Top 10 Mistakes Teachers Make When Stressed
- Take things personally: When we take things that are OOC personally, we tend to carry it with us for a substantial period of time. Furthermore, we tend to take more things personally than we might have before. In other words, we build momentum in taking things personal. This easily transfers to the classroom when a student or parent says something that isn’t personal, but we take as so. Be aware and don’t allow this to happen to you.
- Remain closed-minded: This can set it when we feel as though we aren’t in control of a part of our life. For example, if a relationship we are in is spiraling out of our control, we tend to attempt to lock down other parts of our lives in an effort of regain control. Be careful… Allow for an open mind so that your students can grow and prosper.
- Not listening: If our minds are someplace else we tend to not listen, on any level, to what students and parents are telling us. Vital information is found in the meanings of what people say. Therefore, if we are mentally closed off due to OCC stressors, we won’t have the privilege to gain that much needed information.
- Sensitivity: Every student is different but, every student needs a certain amount of sensitivity in order to thrive. As an educator you should be looked upon as a guide, not an authority figure. You should be someone that has a helping hand, not a hand of steel. Don’t let past OOC stressors close you down to the sensitivities of your students. Be patient and soft when needed.
- Organization: This is a subject that I speak about frequently, with conviction. If you aren’t organized in every way possibly, I believe, you can’t teach effectively. When stressed, we often let things fall apart as a result of our internal mental breakdown. What this does is immediately affect our ability to pay attention to organizational details. This hurts our effectiveness and the the level for which we can educate our students. Take deep breaths and keep focused. Details matter in education.
- Parent perception: This is a topic that I plan to do an entire series on. A topic that is not spoken of very often. However, no less important, parent perception[of you]is incredibly important. This does not mean you need to lie or boost yourself up to make yourself look more important. Parent perception is all about one things: The ability for parents to see you as someone that cares about their child’s education. This means you need to listen, be open, and ask questions. This also means that you can’t allow OOC stressors to effect the way you interact with parents. If you’re having a bad day and will be interacting with parents; stay silent. Allow them to do most of the talking. Smile when appropriate and acknowledge their comments and concerns. Everyone wins.
- Creativity: If your day is going bad and you close down, naturally, your creativity will be diminished heavily. This will also heavily influence your ability to be flexibly with different ways of teaching; a vital skill for an educator. Stress knocks our ability to find new ways of presenting information. Therefore, become aware of if you are experiencing “creativity block” and ask yourself whether stress if having an influence on your ability to be creative or not.
- Big-Picture vision: Stress has a way of getting us to think only about the past. Really, that’s what stress is; a distraction from what we need to be doing at this very moment. Stress is like a virtual time machine. It takes us to places that don’t exist and are not how they really are. This distracts us from focus on the big picture for the success of out students. I need say no more as to how this influence your teaching in it’s entirety.
- Attitude: 80% of communication is nonverbal. Therefore, our attitude in the classroom is 80% more important than anything we say to our students. Students, children in particular, pick up on subtle changes in our body language, facial expressions and physical gestures. If our attitude is in the wrong place due to someone cutting us off in track that morning, our students will immediately pick up on that regardless of if we great them with a solid “Good morning!”
- Classroom energy: Now, hocus-pocus aside, we can all agree that we’ve been in classrooms that have been buzzing with excitement. This is not possible if we enter the room with a bad energy ourselves. We need to leave our personal problems and OOC stressors at the door and cultivate an energy in the room that enables creativity and learning. Focus on how to enhance the energy of the room, not focusing on our personal issues. We must think of our students first, ourselves out of the classroom. Keep the positive energy going and never let yourself get in the way or your educational power.
Live your inspiration deliberately!