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Teachers Try to Manage Stress

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Mrs. Davies and her orginization system.

Mrs. Davies and her orginization system.

Mrs. Davies and her orginization system.

Van Hmung and Arion Peterson

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Many people go into the teaching profession because it’s something for which they have a passion, and they love working with kids. However, many don’t intend for teaching to be as difficult as it can be. Many teachers may face challenges in their job which compromises their health, sleep, quality of life, and overall teaching performance. Since many people aren’t teachers, they are unaware of what they encounter on a daily basis. So what are the main causes of their stress and how do they cope with it every day?

At CHS, there are 106 teachers in total, and majority of them encounter stress from busy schedules. Items like the new grading policy, large class sizes, and student behavioral management, as well as many responsibilities beyond actual teaching, cause them to feel like they never have enough time to get things done. Teachers must find a way to cope with it, or they end up quitting their job, losing time with their families, and/or even experiencing effects on their health because they can’t find a solution.

According to Keith Hillman, the author of Journal of Stress Management ,”As a teacher it is your responsibility to help craft children into functioning adults with a repertoire of social and educational skills under their belt. This is a lot of pressure for anyone who genuinely cares about how well they’re doing their job.”

Work-related pressures can create considerable wear and tear on a teacher’s body. Physical effects can include headaches, fatigue, ulcers, upset stomach, and insomnia, as well as more serious nerve disorders, increased heart rates, and cardiovascular disease.

One thing that has stressed many teachers is the new grading policy. On top of grading many papers for over 100 students, the new policy now requires them to re-grade assignments that students want to re-do. This causes a larger workload on teachers beyond their daily busy schedules.

Math teacher Diane Wack, has been teaching at CHS for 10 years and says that the new grading system is very stressful for teachers to keep up their work since students are increasingly coming in after school to re-do their assignments.

Some would fail an assignment and request to re-do it the same day. That’s too quick of a turnaround for teachers, and it doesn’t even make much sense to her.

“When are they going to figure out how to learn the material, between today and afterschool?” she questioned.

It also worries that it isn’t good for them and their outlook.

“[The grading policy] changes the student’s work ethic. It used to be that students worked harder than the teachers to keep up with their grades, but now, with the new grading policy, the teachers have to do more work than the students,” Mrs.Wack commented.

English teacher Marie Thrailkill has been teaching at CHS for 16 years. The English department which is very involved in CHS activities, supporting the school theater program, the literary magazine, yearbook, and newspaper, as well as many sports teams, clubs, and the Writing Center, already does a lot of work outside of the classroom. Changes in scheduling from semester to block, as well as changes to the grading and discipline policies, have significantly increased her workload and her stress level.

She sacrifices her free time and gets less sleep.

“On top of my plans for my classes, I have to do additional planning for a Professional Learning Community and the Faculty Council,” Ms. Thrailkill explained.

Teachers  have different ways of coping with their stress. Some teachers try to manage things and stay ahead of demands or even use exercise to decompress, whereas others try to remind themselves why they are here, which is for the kids.

Social Studies department chair Courtney Fleming has been working at CHS for two years. She explains how her job as a teacher can be quite difficult.

“As teachers you stress about grades or how you want to implement a lesson,” she said.

To cope with her stress, she says “I try to stay really organized and work out a lot to relieve my stress.”

Everyone knows that teaching is one of the most stressful jobs there is. In fact, according to a lot of research and studies, it’s actually the single most stressful job there is.

Psychology teacher Yetta Nowak says that teaching is one of those careers that can take over every part of your life if you let it. So to prevent it from taking over her life, she tries to balance her job, eats with her colleagues, and remind herself that it’s not just about the paper work.

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Teachers Try to Manage Stress