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Stressless or trying to be


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jul 01 2001 - 13:35:25 PDT

After 10 years of the worst stress I've ever know, teaching that is
And only we in education understand the stress
just an aside
My doctor and lawyer friends don't think my job is as stressful as theirs.
I tell them - you deal with one client at a time and if you don't want to
you can tell them to go someplace else. I deal with 30 kids at time, 5
times a day, each with their own individual problems. I can't fire my
clients! I can't get rid of them, and I have no choice as to who comes into
my room.
So don't let anyone ever tell you this is not a stressful job.

Some things I do:
    For years, I thought I had to be available to the kids all the time.
They came into my room during my lunch, my free periods, before school ,
after school.....
   Now I make sure I go someplace where there are no kids for my lunch. I
refuse to stand up gobbling down my lunch getting ready for the next group
to in. And I eat a good lunch, not pizza and chips like I was getting
accustomed to.
   And, I have my own coffee machine and cookies to sneak when they aren't

   This year, for the first time, I forced myself not to do work at home.
Every day I load up my car with stuff to do, but there it stays (most of the
time). If I can not get done at school in the time I am paid to be there
then it gets put on hold 'til it gets down in that time. They will ask for
more and more if we keep using all our own time for more and more.

   I keep track of hours I spend outside of school on school and the money I
spend from my own pocket. When you look at the numbers, you will certainly
say no more! I was spending incredible amounts of money on school related
items. I'm still paying in stress for that.

   I try to go out for dinner at least once a week. Especially you women out
there. You cater all day to children's need, you come home to your own
children's needs, your husbands needs, ask to be needless for dinner at
least once a week.

   At home, limit the amount of time you bitch and moan about school. Get
it out and be done with it.

   Recognize how smart and capable you are and just how much you know. For
the past few years I have spent way too much time on the computer searching
the internet for ideas and resources. And then more hours putting on the
"show." I think I was a better teacher before all the bells and whistles.
I have lots of years as an artist, fewer as a teacher, but I've decided that
standards and objectives will not overtake what I know kids should get from
art. Trust yourself.

   Learn something new. Two years ago I started to pursue something I never
thought I could do. It took me 2 years, but I got a private pilot's license.
It was very hard for me, and I learned much about learning. And now every
Sunday morning I go off into the sky where it' s only me and the plane and
my competence and all of god's wonder. And when I can't fly, my stress goes
SO find something challenging to do, something you didn't think you could
do. See it through. I'll tell you, I have a greater appreciation for
students who struggle now.

   Remember why you are in the classroom. Remember your favorite teachers
when you where a kid. What is it that they gave? Remember who you responded
to most and why. And model yourself from them, not some ideal that may exist

   One more thing, when you need a sick day or personal day TAKE IT. I have
hundreds of sick days piled up because I find it harder to make plans than
to stay home. But guess what? When you are not there, it still goes on no
matter what. You are not indispensable and you are replaceable.

We can only be good for the kids if we are good to ourselves.
Now all of you----
Use your summer wisely.