Friday, May 09, 2008

Fourteen Tips to Help Special Educators Deal with Stress.

Organize Your Time and Your Activities
1. Set realistic and flexible professional goals and objectives. Don't set expectations that will be impossible to meet--that only results in failure, frustration, and guilt. Sharing those inflated expectations with others (e.g., telling regular classroom teachers you can consult with them twice weekly while you are carrying full time direct service responsibilities) creates additional pressure that results in stress. Setting expectations too low, on the other hand, can create lethargy and lack of motivation.
2. Establish priorities. Each day there seem to be many jobs which must get done. It is helpful to establish priorities to deal with needs in the order of importance. As one job at a time is successfully tackled, a sense of accomplishment can develop. You may discover that low priority items may not have to be done at all.
3. Leave your work at school. One of the major problems educators face is bringing work home after school. This causes problems in that schoolwork never seems to be finished, and it often interferes with personal and family life. One way to break that cycle is to avoid bringing work home. Some educators have found staying at school later in the afternoon may be required. Another alternative is going into school very early in the morning to grade papers, do planning, and set up the classroom. Staying in school until as late as seven or eight o'clock on a Friday evening may allow you to enjoy the remainder of the weekend without having schoolwork hanging over your head. Planning a late dinner on Friday night (candles, wine, and children in bed--all optional) may be very therapeutic.
4. Pace yourself. Managing time is certainly a key to dealing with stress. Approaches to help avoid wasting time and prevent procrastination include setting realistic time lines, getting high priority work done early in the day (when we tend to work most efficiently), and including time for yourself in each day. Do not try to do everything at once. If you are a new special educator you should not expect to master every aspect of the profession immediately. Nor should you expect to be able to meet everyone else's needs in terms of consultant services, diagnostic evaluations, and so on, while providing direct service to children. It is necessary to pace yourself, not only each day, but for each week and each year. The social worker or psychologist who wants to revise the entire placement team process or modify the role of special services personnel should expect that goal to take considerable time to fulfill. Small steps to achieving those goals should be identified and cherished.
5. Use available human resources. Use the available human resources to their maximum potential. Take the extra time necessary to train an aide or secretary to handle more responsibilities independently. Training students or parent volunteers as classroom aides can result in greatly increased instructional time without increasing your workload.
6. Organize your classroom. Improved classroom organization can save time and increase professional productivity. Setting up a catalog system for materials, tests, and instructional techniques can make these resources more accessible to you and to other professionals who have need of them. Similarly, developing a general filing system or computerized management system so that diagnostic information, IEPs, student performance data, and curriculum objectives are available can improve classroom efficiency. Organizing the classroom so that students can function independently by preparing work folder learning centers or student contracts may free you to attend more directly to individual student needs. Giving students access to classroom materials such as books, paper, pencils, audiovisual equipment, and self-correcting materials, and training them in their use can likewise improve the learning environment.
Be Open to Change, Innovation, and New Opportunities
7. Change your environment.
8. Keep yourself motivated.
9. Consider career options.
10. Seek out personal learning experiences
Be Positive About Yourself and Your Profession
11. Allow a "moment of glory."
12. Look for the "silver lining."
13. Become directly involved.
14. Remember the children you serve.

1 comment:

Instant Healing said...

Nice little points here.Of course a happy life depends on the balancing act of a body.The balance between work and home,relationships,and every other thing is what matters.

Promethean Planet


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