A Stress Reduction Tip for Teachers

Teaching is one of the most satisfying yet stressful professions, which is why teachers often yearn for some solid stress reduction tips. A common classroom problem (and thus stressor) is when a student continually blurts out/or and argues with the teacher.

For any kind of impulsive behavior, the first course of action is always to try helping the impulsive student (such as one who keeps blurting out) by establishing a procedure that will help the student control impulses. Here is a real-life example of how this works.

Procedures Aid in Stress Reduction

A teacher I know helped a grade four student who continually disrupted the class by blurting out. Obviously having a student continually interrupt class is stressful. The teacher had the boy stay in at lunch to teach him a procedure. She gave him some poker chips that were in the math manipulative bins.

The procedure was simple. Any time he wanted to say something to her, he was taught to move a chip from one side of his desk to the other side and then raise his hand. Having a pile of chips on his desk made the process very concrete, and the secret to the success was the eight times of practice.

She explained that the brain needs at least eight times of practice to learn a new habit, so they would need to practice many times. She pretended to teach to the class in various subject areas (math lesson, punctuation lesson, etc.). He practiced moving the chip over and raising his hand before speaking.

It was noncoercive and the boy had a good enough relationship with the teacher that he was willing to try something that she asked of him. Establishing a good relationship with the most troublesome students is well worth the energy. She also focused on how much better he would feel about himself if he could show the same self-control the other kids his age were able to exhibit.

In this way, his blurting out was shown to be what it truly was: IMMATURITY RATHER THAN MISBEHAVIOR. He didn’t like the idea of being immature. Even young people would rather think of themselves as mature rather than immature, so he decided to change what he was doing. Ultimately, the entire class benefited from this, and the teacher, especially, experienced some much-needed stress reduction.

If you’re looking for stress management advice, check out the book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. It’s available as a print book and as a Kindle download.