It must be that time of year. State testing is over. Convincing students that we still have work to
do is getting increasingly difficult. It’s dig deep time. Good students are getting detention. The sweetest teachers are cussing. The principal is not looking anyone in the eye. The financial secretary is hiding in her office with the door locked. Parents are calling with complaints and I am wondering why the year doesn’t just end already! I’m thinking we need to reduce teacher stress and burnout before it’s too late.
At my school, we spend the week after testing decompressing and educating staff about the importance of the little things in life that keep us going physically and emotionally. We know that if teachers can model a refreshing happy attitude, it will trickle down to the students. With a different theme each day and a small daily treat, we slowly unwind from what may be the most stressful week of the year.
Mindful Monday to Reduce Teacher Stress
On this day, we reflect on our mindset and how it affects our reality. Having a positive attitude about stress is more helpful than actually reducing stress, according to Stanford Psychologists. I like to put growth mindset coloring sheets on the tables along with a sound machine with spa music. This year, we had a local chiropractor give ten minute massages all day in exchange for having flyers in our lounge.
On this day, we look at multiple ways to calm ourselves through breathing and relaxing activities. Local spas send us coupons for massages and salon services.
On this day, we concentrate on nutrition and exercise. This is a great opportunity for a jeans and sneakers day. Local health clubs and nutritional service reps send us coupons and flyers for their businesses. Organizing an after school exercise class is always a bonus. Read more about teacher self care here.
On this day, we focus on our blessings. Gratitude is linked to stress reduction. I like to place “I am thankful for” coloring sheets on the tables.
On this day, we let loose and discover many different ways to laugh more. We recommend funny books, movies, and activities that will keep us in stitches. A large group of us even booked tickets to see Eddie B. Comedy, a teacher turned comedian who knows the struggle. Organizing an after school potluck is on my agenda for next year’s Stress busters Week. You can even watch these funny teacher videos to relieve tension in the faculty room.
The week would not have been complete without a youtube loop of Gerry Brooks and Eddie B Comedy streaming in the lounge.