Firstly I need to preface this with the fact that the highest percentage of my anxiety clients are teachers. They hide it behind a plastered on smile, a careful conversation and an understanding nod.
I have been witness to so many stories and for that I am truly grateful as it gives me a much deeper understanding of some of the common drivers.
Teaching is much more complicated than you would care to imagine and I know that ignorant opinions are polarising.
What if we just shed a little light on the job so that we can understand more and judge less.
These are the top 3 discussions that I have in clinic.
Teachers, please feel free to add your own! Lets have a conversation about it.
Right now, these men and women are dusting off their super suits and getting ready to weed, seed and feed the minds of the next generation.
What every parent should know before we start another school year and what I know to be true of the teachers that I see.
1- They are ALL heart.
Teachers got into this gig because sculpting young minds totally lights them up. They love it when your child finally gets a concept that they have been working on, very patiently I might add.
They celebrate the joys as your child makes a new friend, over comes a fear or in our case, manages to walk into the classroom unassisted.
They create lesson plans around the best way to engage your child.
They bring in their own art supplies, they buy ingredients to bake and they never stop researching and planning.
They care. Sometimes to their own detriment!
2- Teachers give every last ounce of themselves.
Possibly one of the biggest drivers in anxiety in the staff, comes from sheer exhaustion.
Between lesson planning, correcting and report writing, lets throw in data collection, professional development and the politics with working in such a big team.
They signed up to teach developing minds, but first they have to navigate the minefield that is a government job. The hand ties, the red tape, the expectation versus reality…. all often coming from those not even in the classrooms anymore.
3- They are in it WITH you.
This would be the biggest hurdle. I have witnessed this issue at both ends and I have to say that more often than not, the parents often become quickly defensive.
THE TEACHERS ARE IN IT WITH YOU. They want what is best for your child. You are a team, WORK TOGETHER.
Lets not lay blame, lets just have some adult conversations about what is best for your child. There is no need to feel judged, it is not personal. You are not solely responsible for what is happening in the classroom, but you can definitely be active in creating change.
I personally believe that our children are here to teach us too and quite often they are amazing at triggering our insecurities! Lets just be adults and show our children how we tackle difficult conversations with an open mind and an open heart.
While many teachers have asked me to talk about this topic and what they can do to feel better within themselves, it actually starts with the parents.
As parents, I wonder if our expectations are too high of both our children and our teachers. It is not the teachers responsibility to teach your child morals and ethics, this starts at home.
I dont want to sign off before at least recommending that our super heroes in the classroom become aware of a few of the tendencies that drive their anxiety further.
If you are not getting enough, you are leaving yourself open to a plethora of issues. Sleep is a little like shutting your computer down once in a while. It functions better! Close the laptop and get to bed a little earlier so that you can start the day refreshed as well as have a little more patience!
Nope, coffee is not breakfast! Nor is it morning tea! Come on, you can take a little time to eat and snack on something with a little sustenance. Why not get a little group of you into creating a decent morning tea snack. (You do Mondays, they do the other days….) Bliss balls, mini quiches, rice paper rolls with a little protein like chicken, egg or left over roast. Its not just young minds that think clearer with the right fuel!
Want to skip that afternoon slump, have something decent for lunch! What goes up, must come down! If you are settling for refined carbs for lunch, you are going to be tired and cranky by 3 pm!
I know, you are on your feet most of the day!
What if you started of the morning with a quick walk to get the blood flowing and the mind active! I can almost guarantee that you all have ore energy throughout the day.
Exercise would be the most underused anti depressant available and its free!!! (A word of warning, don’t go all out straight away! Start slow and begin as you plan to go on. Even 20 minutes will create a change for you and you can even nut out those lesson plans as you go. I find that I have great ideas when I am walking.)
Yes, you have heard this before, I know, but have you ever truly practised it?
Just like teaching young minds, we can retrain our mature ones. We can decrease the time spent in “anxious mode” and practise “calm mode.” In fact the more frequently you practise these techniques, the quicker and easier it is to switch off that anxious brain, to reset and to take the next step. These days it takes me just a couple of breaths to readjust and reset my default setting (which is incidentally anxiety!)
I want to finish this off with a huge THANK YOU. The work that our teachers are doing does not go unnoticed. While we do not know the every day things like how you have wiped our childs tears, reassured them for the 100th time or celebrated with them when they finally “got it.” We do know that our children love and respect you and I am eternally grateful to have you in my tribe, my community and essentially as part of the family.
I would like to offer all of our teachers a chance to get a little personalised help. Below is a link for a FREE 20 minute chat to really focus on your particular driver. While there are many interventions that we can make at a cellular level, I can get you started on a few things right away.