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From Our Members: Diffusing Stress

From Our Members: Diffusing Stress

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We asked you answered! Stress management is just as important for your students as it is for you. Here are some tips from our members on how they diffuse a stressful classroom atmosphere.

“HUMOR always works! Whether I call myself a “”Grumpy Gus””; grab both cheeks, bulge my eyes and invite the kids to join me in a “I’m Home Alone!” face; or maybe walk backward and make a rewind garble sound with my mouth…
When the pressure is on, it’s usually in place for me and for good reason. Without a little pressure, many students won’t push themselves so I help them understand the importance of what they are doing and apply some pressure to always do better. When I realize that I’ve pushed too hard, my release valve is humor as I gently apologize for possibly being too tough. It’s good for all of us and yet we can keep on ‘pushing’ toward our goal with a bit less stress. -Donna Davis

We laugh! There can be humor in all different parts of your day! I teach little ones so it is easy to find humor. Funny stories, funny songs, funny responses. Laugh! Laughter is good for the soul and receives so much stress! I don’t know what I would do it I didn’t laugh a thousand times every day! – Tracy Taylor

To diffuse a stressful atmosphere in our classroom, we do something called a Town Meeting. Students each have a turn to share celebrations or things they need help with. We use the protective practice of never using names when being negative and offering advice only when it is asked for. It truly is a beautiful thing! 🙂 – Shannon Berghoff

“In a secondary classroom where the students have both individualized education needs along with a disciplinary sentence stress is something that I deal with minute to minute every day. There are three general elements to how I handle classroom stress. First and foremost the adult staff in the room remains calm and consistent at all times. Understanding and intentionally communicating and developing a relationship with the students, and being consistent and structured. The intentional and structured relationship allows me the opportunity to sense where the stress is as a result of their choices that landed them in the disciplinary setting, academic demands, home environments and life in general that leads to classroom stress. One additional thing that I do every morning is to have eye to eye connection with each student to find out how he/she is doing. My “good morning” may be the FIRST ” good” thing they have encountered since they left my room the day before. This allows the students the opportunity to voice their stressors and for me to have that initial opportunity to de-escalate a stressful situation before it even happens and to separate the student that is stressed and acting out from the rest of the classroom. I intentionally listen and watch and truly interact with my students so that I can catch the stress EARLY.
The last general step that is critical to help alleviate stress in my room is that I am consistent with classroom management, behavior, and expectations of the students. They learn from day one these classroom expectations and it allows them the structure to be able to focus on academics in a safe and structured atmosphere. – Marnie Reppert

If it’s a class thing…we stop and do karaoke. If it’s a kid, the counselor has a “Stress Box.” I let the student go in the hall with the box for 5-10 minutes. – Paula Burkhart

I have a mindful jar in my classroom. It is made with glitter glue and water in a pint mason. When I can tell my students are stressed I let them shake the jar and then as they watch the glitter fall, they are supposed to imagine all of their stress melting away and all of the stressors falling with the glitter. – Stefani Pulley

Usually if there is stress in my room it’s because of someone/something outside of this classroom & it typically manifests itself as someone being grumpy. So, I keep a note on my desk asking me “who sprinkled you with grumpy dust?” Several of my 8th graders have noticed it & when someone is grumpy we give them a copy & ask if we can help….. Since it is done out of concern & trying to make other people happy, it gets a lot of laughs. – Cathy Schultz

I teach Kindergarten so when things get really stressful we just take a brain break and either do a gonoodle.com or I put on a color song and we do a little singing and dancing. – Pam Lowe

Fight stress with awesomeness! Many of my amazing students are battling colds this week and weren’t their happy selves upon arrival. I asked them to each share something awesome with me. This simple question brought smiles to their faces and we enjoyed hearing what they had to share. – Erin Hillsman

When we’ve had stressful days in the community or schoolwide, that tends to spill over into my classroom. I absorb the stress of the students. In the mornings before school begins, I have been putting live feeds from the beaches of Hawaii on the large screen in front of my classroom. The waves are audible, and the scenes are so beautiful one can’t help but relax a little. – Valerie Naas

Fall was a very stressful semester in our autism special education classes. Another special ed teacher and I revised our schedules and implemented some regrouping of students and co-teaching sessions. It’s more manageable, and students’ needs are being better met. We are also training paras to do more data collection and recording, which should help the end of quarter stress at progress reporting times. I’ve been able to leave earlier in the evening every day. It’s like a whole new year in the middle of the year. What a relief! – Jean Lawson

I diffuse essential oils in my classroom every day!! I use peppermint, Wild orange, oil blends that encourage cheer or peace, and sometimes even oil that wards off sickness!! – Noelle Horner

One way is to use humor. Sometimes it can be just acting silly and out of the ordinary to break up the stress. Other times allowing movement of a bathroom break or mini music and dance break helps. It really depends on the day, the student and the stress. – Alicia Gracey

“My diffusers for stressful times are:
1. a reflective bell ringer Example: What surprised you the most at the clinical site?
2. a game
3. cookie project I pick an organ from a body system and bake cookies shaped like it. Then the students frost and design the internal parts using different colors of icing.” – Ernema Boettner

We start every class period with 10 minutes of reading. It’s scientifically shown to reduce stress! After reading time, we work on the rest of the lesson with a clear, calm brain. I only have 42 minutes a day total in high school English, but how we spend those first ten minutes makes a world of difference. – Laura Latall

I start praising the good behavior of other students. Verbally with praise, classroom tickets and other rewards. – Vickie Gilbert

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