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Job stress tips

Quick Ways to Relieve Job Stress

  • Make sure you get and keep mental and physical activities in your life that you enjoy. Make these pastimes separate and apart from work.

  • Don’t work in a vacuum. Get together formally in groups or informally with co-workers and colleagues. You can identify problems and exchange solutions and strategies. Share the load, and you’ll find you lighten the burden.

  • Know your own individualized reactions to job stress. Ask the people who know you the best to describe in detail what you do when under job stress. … Once you can produce the symptom on command, you have the power to control it.

  • The best medicine is to take care of your self. Don’t let problems control you.

  • But if you cannot come up with a strategy to effectively deal with your job stress or problem, get professional help

Joe Pastore, Manager JSH

How teacher education students cope with stress on the practicum

Personal Coping Strategies

Five specific strategies were identified under the category of Personal coping strategies. Personal coping was represented in:

  1. Cognitive strategies such as positive thinking, setting realistic expectations, pragmatism, and blocking the negative, and included comments like: “I concentrated on the positive aspects more than the negative” and “Telling myself that I am not an experienced teacher and cannot expect to perform like one”.

  2. Physical strategies, some of which were active (recreation, sport and general exercise) while others were passive (listening to music, watching TV, reading).

  3. Behavioral strategies. These included the reported practice of engaging in routines, like walking the dog, doing housework, activities that did not require thought. “I coped with stress by having a can of coke and a biscuit at recess times.”

  4. Emotional strategies included use of self-deprecation, a capacity of students to laugh at themselves: “If you make a mistake, like writing a word incorrectly in front of the class, it shows you are human”, and trying not to be hard on themselves “I just did the best that I could.”

  5. Rational/Time Organization strategies were identified by students in the way they clearly defined their priorities for work and free time: “On weekends I spent some time not thinking about anything involved with teaching.” Students commonly stressed the importance of making time for themselves during the teaching practicum. Finding the time to relax, either passively or in a physically active way, was a widely reported strategy.

Professional Coping Strategies

Being well prepared for lessons as well as for the general responsibilities associated with life as a school teacher were seen as important strategies in avoiding stress. Three specific Professional coping strategies were identified:

  1. Knowledge of the curriculum and what they were expected to teach and knowing the structure, organisation and culture of the school helped students feel comfortable in that environment.

  2. Use of self-management skills such as preparation, planning and organizational skills were reflected in comments like “I tried to be well organised to prevent a last minute panic. I used detailed lesson plans and programmed the day in detail. On the home front I also tried to be better organised.” Some students used self-reflection. “I’m here to learn to be better so I have to face all challenges” while others reported techniques for managing school related problems.

  3. Professional qualities were classified as strategies where they were clearly adaptive. “At least one lesson a week I would plan something I enjoyed as much as the kids, such as music and drama.” Students generally did not emphasise the role that a sound grasp of the curriculum or an awareness of school organization and culture might have as coping strategies. However, it might be that these are assumed elements of ‘being prepared’.

Social Coping Strategies

Turning to family and friends in times of crisis or simply for conversation and reflection was widely reported as a significant coping strategy. Involvement in social events such ‘partying’ and general socialising away from their practicum school were seen by the students as important. Thus, social coping included:

  1. Discussion with people who were identified as friends and family: “I never had any stress. I made sure of this by socialising with staff and other students at a cafe after school” and

  2. Involvement in social events: “After school socialising, general socialising and partying.”

Institutional Coping Strategies

Within this category were human and system-related strategies involving both the School and the University. Considerable emphasis was given to the importance of talking to, and learning from, supervising teachers. Having other student teachers in the school with whom to share experiences was also regarded as helpful.

  1. At the school level, the support of the students’ supervising teacher, other teachers, and student teacher peers provided a human contact in times of stress. A system-related school strategy was exemplified by use of non-instructional time which provided ‘breathing space’ in a hectic week.

  2. At the University level, the University supervisor provided a human point of contact while contact with the University Teaching Experience Office was identified as a system-related coping strategy.

Murray-Harvey, R., Slee, P.T., Lawson, M.J., Silins, H., Banfield, G., & Russell, A. (2000). ‘Under Stress: The concerns and coping strategies of teacher education students’, European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol 23 (1) 19-35.

7 Habits of Effective People

Stephen Covey offers advice on how to manage your overall work life effectively, especially the section on ‘personal management’:

  • Be Proactive.
  • Begin With The End In Mind.
  • Put First Things First.
  • Teamwork.
  • Cooperation.
  • Communication.
  • Renewal, creating an upward spiral of growth.
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