The ripple effects of the pandemic are still sending tremors. Students continue to struggle, and teachers are left to deal with the aftershocks. The stress is real, and only those who’ve been inside a classroom can truly understand the intense pressure educators and students face.
Most of you have read myriad ways to de-stress – go for a walk, breathe deeply, find time to meditate. But let’s face it – you don’t have time to go for a walk. There are lesson plans to write, papers to grade, layouts to check and yearbooks to sell so you can pay the bill.
Let’s look at the checklist for stress as it applies to yearbook and publications teachers. Rate yourself using this quick assessment:
If you checked mostly 4’s, you’re stressed to the max
If you checked mostly 3’s, your stress level is high
If you checked mostly 2’s, you’re headed toward burnout, but life is still manageable
If you checked mostly 1’s, your home and school life are balanced (until that
If you checked mostly 0’s, tell us your secret to managing everything(!)
Here are a few realistic suggestions to regain balance and a sense of
Your space. Clean off your desk before you leave for the day. Facing a
messy desk in the morning starts your day off on a frenetic note. Make sure
you sit down in the morning to a calm work space.
A cut-off spot. Choose a place on the commute home – a building, a tree,
a bend in the road – and that’s your cut-off point. Once you reach that spot,
you can no longer think about grades, deadlines, assignments, etc. Leave
school behind and concentrate on your home life.
Reward yourself. There will be bumps in the road – when you overcome
them, give yourself a star. Use a plain coffee mug to keep pencils and pens
on your desk. When you achieve a goal, put a star sticker on the mug. As you
see those stars accumulate, pat yourself on the back and keep going!
Quiet time. Teens need quiet time as much as you do. Buy some
miniature holiday lights and string them along the back wall, credenza, etc.
Designate one day a week as “No Talking Day,” and have staffers work
quietly. Same goes for you. Use the time to proof spreads, check photos, etc.
A support system. Join or form a support group of other yearbook
teachers in your district or online. Compare notes with how they’re handling
stress. No one else on your campus understands what you’re facing every
day. They think you have the fun job taking pictures all day!
Stress is part of life and every job. The key to managing stress is learning
how to control it, and not letting it control you. (Now, on to that first deadline...)