As educators we can be our own harshest critic. That little voice in our head is often critical.
“If only I’d done this differently….”
“If only I’d said….”
“Next time I’ll….”
“I should have said this…!”
“I should have done that…!”
At times we are guilty of “shoulding” all over ourselves!
Many of us are guilty of trying to be all things to all people. We are seldom satisfied with a lesson, a meeting or what we achieved on a particular day. We are always on the look out for improving things and making them better.
Our training in education emphasises problem solving. We spend time looking for and identifying problems. We look for problems that individual students are having in their learning. We look for problems that a group of students or our whole class is experiencing and consider options that we can provide to address the problem. We look for problem behaviours and plan ways to address them. We look at data for evidence of problems and then plan strategies that will solve the problem.
Once we have identified the problem or weakness we then plan how we will address it. The ability to identify and solve problems is one of the key attributes of an effective teacher. 90% of teachers are committed to continuous improvement and that is a REALLY good thing. However, constantly looking for improvement opportunities can lead to unhealthy levels of stress. We are rarely satisfied and immediately start looking for the next problem to solve or issue to fix.
As a consequence of our training, we don’t spend enough time celebrating our successes. We tend to quickly brush over our accomplishments and achievements.
I believe that early years teachers have the most rewarding roles in schools (and the most challenging too!) The progress of young learners is most visible in the early years. You can almost see daily improvement in children who are in the ‘learning to read’ phase. This is especially rewarding as the children’s progress is clearly evident. Running records and writing samples show clear evidence of progress.
As the age of the students increases the evidence of their learning can be less visible or less dramatic. However taking the time to reflect on the progress that they have made and the difference that we have made, is no less important. It is vital that we regularly pause and take the time to reflect on what we have achieved, before we delve into the next phase of identifying and addressing problems.
Are You Burning Out?
Working in schools is demanding. We have a lot to do every day and with limited resources, we are expected to do more with less. When the demands placed on us exceed the resources we have available, we experience stress.
The American Psychological Association’s David Ballard, PsyD describes job burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”
“A lot of burnout really has to do with experiencing chronic stress,” says Dr. Ballard, who is the head of the APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. “In those situations, the demands being placed on you exceed the resources you have available to deal with the stressors.”
If it isn’t addressed, burnout can wreak havoc on your health, happiness, relationships and job performance. To prevent burnout and address it early, it’s important to know what to look out for.
Dr. Ballard lists the following 10 signs you may be experiencing burnout:
Exhaustion – feeling tired all of the time
Lack of Motivation – when you don’t feel enthusiastic about anything anymore
Frustration, Cynicism and Other Negative Emotions – feeling that your work doesn’t matter that much any more, you feel disillusioned with everything or your are more pessimistic than you used to be.
Cognitive problems – find it difficult to pay attention and concentrate on anything.
Slipping job performance – compare your job performance with a few years ago
Interpersonal problems at Home and at Work – you’re having more conflicts with other people or you are withdrawn.
Not Taking Care of Yourself – unhealthy coping strategies.
Being Preoccupied With Work..When You’re Not at Work – expending mental energy after hours mulling over you work interferes with your ability to recover.
Generally Decreased Satisfaction – tendency to feel less happy and satisfied with your career and home life.
Health Problems – health problems like digestive issues, head aches, depression and obesity.
Dr Ballard recommends taking the following actions to avoid burnout:-
Take relaxation seriously – truly think about what you’ll do to relax (listen to music, read a book, take a walk, visit friends, go to the movies, meditate etc) and make time to do it.
Cultivate a Rich Non-Work Life – find an interest outside work that you are passionate about.
Unplug – whilst laptops, email and smart phones can aid productivity, they also encroach on our time for destressing. Set boundaries and stick to them.
Get enough sleep – sleep is essential in renewing our reserves. Having less than 6 hours of sleep per night is a major factor in burnout. Seek specialist advice in improving your sleep habits.
Get Organised – clear your head, collate a to-do list and prioritise. Identify key things to achieve each day – be realistic.
Stay Attuned – be alert to your body’s physical signs that you might be under too much stress eg tight shoulders, headaches, stiff neck, more frequent colds, slower recovery time etc
LOVE Teaching Again Workshops
Stress levels in schools often peak in semester 2. Staff run out of energy and reserves. This is evident in diminished enthusiasm and increased staff illness. Little incidents that wouldn’t normally rattle them, are blown out of proportion. The end of the school year is a busy, demanding time. Finishing strong is important for student outcomes as well as staff morale and welfare.
At Happy School we have put together a professional development session especially to equip staff to finish the year well.
The session helps staff:-
- Remember why we teach
- Increase the satisfaction they get from teaching
- Improve their Work – Life balance
- Establish a positive mindset and
- Finish the year well
There are two options for you to consider
Schedule a PD session for your staff
Cost of $1900 + gst includes all of your staff
You provide afternoon tea
Host a PD session for interested staff from your school and surrounding schools
Only pay for teachers from your school who want to attend ($49 each or $39 for 10+)
You provide the room
Session made available to teachers from nearby schools
We pay for afternoon tea
Email us now to check available dates for hosting a LOVE Teaching Again session at your school email@example.com
Need a Pep Talk – watch this 3 minute video
National Tour – Parenting Workshops
with Bruce Sullivan and Michael Grose
Being a parent is no easy task! Demands on us as parents and our children seem to be mounting continually, placing stresses on our relationships and in our confidence that we are “doing the right thing”. If this sounds familiar then you need to read on!
Popular parenting educator Michael Grose is joined by relationship-specialist Bruce Sullivan for a rare morning of learning, loving and laughter. They are on an Australian wide tour and for ticketing/venue details please click here http://www.parentingideas.com.au/newsletter/VIP_Saturday.html
This very special morning will help parents:
* Build strong, caring & co-operative family relationships
* Reclaim your energy and your focus so you enjoy family-life more
* Raise kids to be resilient including those with special needs
* Discover the parenting style that’s needed to raise children in these changing times
* Develop a common framework for raising modern kids so they feel more confident and assured as parents
BRISBANE – July 20
MELBOURNE – August 3
ADELAIDE – August 10
PERTH – August 17
SYDNEY – August 31
Early bird tickets of $55 still available only until 15th June so to book, click here http://www.parentingideas.com.au/newsletter/VIP_Saturday.html
Planning a School Review?
School reviews are part of a cycle of school improvement. It is essential that reviews gather information that helps to steer the school on the path to continuous improvement. We have developed interactive surveys of Students, Staff and Parents to assist schools to effectively do this. Visit www.SurveyMySchool.com.au for further information.
The surveys not only provide data about levels of satisfaction, they also identify specific issues that can be addressed to increase school effectiveness. Identifying and overcoming barriers is the fast-track to school improvement.
Contact us if you’d like to set up surveys as part of a benchmarking or a school review process in 2013.
Happy School articles this month include…
- Competing Priorities and Managing Your Time
- Beware that little voice inside your head!
- Overcoming fears by Natasha Zuvela
If your school is not currently subscribing to receive the weekly articles, click here and become a subscriber today. For less than the cost of ONE supply teacher day you can provide a weekly article to boost staff morale and reduce teacher stress.
We are all aware that PEOPLE make the difference in schools. Therefore investing in your people needs brings the best returns. Professional development sessions for your staff are available on a range of topics. These are ideal for student free days or twilight sessions. Email to check availability of your preferred date and book now.
Which topic does your team need most?
Increasing WORK-LIFE Satisfaction
Building Trust – Essential Skills
Thriving in Times of Change
Gr8 People are Part of Gr8 Teams
Feedback – Helping Teachers Be the Best They Can Be
7 Secrets to Motivating and Engaging Students
Conferences and Work With Schools
In coming months I’m looking forward to working with …
- International Confederation of Principals’ conference in Cairns
- Catholic Education school leaders throughout Qld through the ACSSQ Traveling scholar program – Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba and Brisbane
- Early Childhood educators at the ECTA State Conference
- Education Queensland Aspiring Leaders
- School leaders throughout Qld through the QASSP Webinar series
- Leadership teams at Ferny Grove SHS, Woodridge North SS, Mabel Park SS and Corinda SHS
- School staff at Bundamba SS and Sprinsure SS
- School leadership teams at Meandarra on Establishing a Feedback Culture
If you’d like me to present at your conference or work with your staff, email me firstname.lastname@example.org