Cheers to our Teachers!

KUDOS to teachers, professors, school administrators, staff,

and IT personnel!

During this unsettling time with the COVID-19 quarantine, our teachers and professors have shown such amazing flexibility, skills, and talent! Teachers are pioneering through this imposed “distance-learning” in an incredible way.  Our educators have flipped over to online/remote learning in 4-7 days!  IT staff have been working around the clock to get this set up.  Administrators and staff are supporting the fast-paced changes in a remarkable way. Congratulations! YOU ARE AMAZING!

One mother sent a picture and description of her son on his first day of an online “distant learning” gathering. (Thanks to Jen and Frank.) The whole class was so excited about seeing their teacher and their classmates.

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In Fontana, CA, this young man was able to meet with a few of his teachers and about 30 of his classmates. The Principal and his Assistant Principle also joined in for a few minutes. The excitement of the students was palpable. They were so excited to connect with their teachers and peers.

At College Credit Connection (CCC), the Coordinators quickly converted their Face-to-Face classes to online/hybrid classes. After teachers get their distance learning programs set up, and if they have a bit more time on their (freshly washed) hands, it might be a good time to take some extra professional development classes. CCC has opened up the cap for credits per semester from 15 to 18 credits. Online learning is a great way to gain additional professional development units. In the last two months, CCC has added 22 new courses to the over 400 courses available.

Congratulations to all the teachers, professors, administrators, staff, IT personnel, as well as to the parents and students! You are making a difference in this difficult time.

Read on for some recommendations on how to deal with the stress of this time.


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Great ways to manage stress during the COVID-19 quarantine.

It is incredibly important for everyone, especially those who are working so hard under such unusual circumstances, to practice physical and emotional self-care. Teachers, professors, administrators, staff, and IT personnel are stepping up to the plate with incredible skill. But all these changes can cause undue stress and anxiety. Stress and fatigue are big factors in stripping one’s immune system, so we all need to practice extra tender self-care. The following are 10 tips to help you get through this stressful and unusual time:

  1. Sleep. Rest helps restore one’s body and mind, thus neutralizing the damaging effects of stress. Take care to get adequate sleep. Turn off your phone, computer, and television an hour before you are going to bed. Quiet your mind (see #7 below) before bed, and you will likely sleep better.
  2. Hydrate. Drink a lot of water. There are reports that if you drink water every 15 minutes, the chances of any virus entering your lungs is drastically reduced. Also, hydration helps flush out toxins. Our brains and organs need water and will function at a higher level when hydrated.
  3. Hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time. Avoid touching your face. Wipe down surfaces. Fill a spray bottle with a bit of rubbing alcohol and water, and use a light mist to spray your clothing, money, mail, and/or anything that has been touched by others.
  4. Exercise. Movement is vital for maintaining healthy circulation. The lymph system is crucial to support our immune responses, and it requires movement. Also, exercise can help ward off depression.
  5. Social distancing. Avoid going out if possible. Try to maintain a distance of at least six feet. But do NOT avoid connecting with people! Skype, FaceTime, Zoom … CONNECT! It is so important for us not to isolate during this time. Call someone you haven’t spoken with in a while – reach out to seniors and those who may be alone. You’ll feel better and they will too! Try to call or video conference if possible, as it is so much more connecting than texting or emailing. But, whatever the method, do something to connect with others.
  6. Outside time. Step outside for at least 15 minutes a day, particularly if you can do it when the sun is shining. Sunlight has anti-microbial effects and stimulates balance in the pineal gland, which supports immunity. Sunlight also provides a rich source of Vitamin D3, which has shown to be effective for the immune system, bone health, and emotional health. Ever notice how you feel better after taking a walk in the sun?!
  7. Quiet time. Many studies indicate the benefit of meditation and/or prayer for a person’s physical and emotional health. You don’t have to “do it right” – just do it! Take a few minutes throughout the day just to clear your mind. Connect with what is meaningful for you. Practice some yoga, chi gong, tai chi, take a bath, light a candle, take a quiet walk, or just sit for a bit doing nothing! Take the time to nourish a connection to what matters to you. Quiet your mind from all the worries and stresses, and you will have a better chance of feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
  8. Nutrition. Try your best to eat healthy. Your body and brain need good nutrients to operate at a high level. Supplement with high quality vitamins and minerals. A few recommendations for health and immunity are Vitamin D3, Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin C.
  9. Reduce stress. Listen to some music, read a book, take a walk. Keep your cool. It is important to take precautions and act wisely, but panic is never helpful. Breathe deeply and allow calmness to enter. Count to 10 before you speak in anger. If you feel panic or anxiety coming on, take deep breaths, then tune into the following (saying them out loud if possible): focus on 4 things around you that you can see; focus on 3 things you can touch; focus on 2 things that you can smell; and focus on 1 thing that you can taste. This helps to ground a person and often times helps to dispel panic. Stop and smell an orange, a flower, some food, a pet, or anything that will bring your focus outside of yourself.
  10. Be kind. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others. Reflect on things for which you are grateful. Upon waking and before bed: list 3 things for which you are grateful. Try it – it can make a difference on your outlook. Reflect on love and beauty in self, others, and the world. Be gentle with yourself.
(Compiled from a variety of sources.)

This is also a great time to take an online class and potentially move forward in your salary advancement steps. Check out the classes that College Credit Connection has to offer.

What special things are you doing for self -care right now?  Comment below!

 

 

Teacher Burnout and What to Do About It

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Walk into any coffee shop and you can almost immediate recognize a fellow teacher. They probably aren’t wearing scrubs, an official uniform, or have a certain hairstyle. No, you recognize them because they are grading papers and possibly look a little discouraged because the students did not perform well on the last assessment.

You recognize that look and empathize. The demands on a teacher are never ending. The hats teachers wear are too numerous to count. Your school just rolled out a new curriculum and changed the grading system. Parents want to discuss their children’s grades and behavior. You lost your temper right before lunch today. Administration did not handle that last disciplinary situation well. Colleagues complain about other incompetent teachers. Last week’s teacher meeting went on forever while you thought about all of the bulletin boards that needed updating, progress reports you needed to finish, and parent calls you needed to make.

Teacher burnout is nothing new, but the conversation might be shifting. In an article by Tim Walker, he discusses with Doris Santoro ways that morale can be revitalized. When teachers are constantly being told what they are doing wrong without being told the correct way, it is demoralizing. Santoro suggests school leadership bring teachers together to problem solve for the well-being of the students. She also suggests looking to unions for community and collaboration.

So what does a teacher do in the midst of discouragement, fatigue, and demoralization?

  1. Change your mood

You’ve probably heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine. An intense power struggle with a student can often crumble with a joke (especially if you teach middle school!). Recognize your frustration and deliberately choose to shift the mood. Try to find the humor in the situation! Check out Bored Teachers for inspiration.

  1. Try something new

If you are having fun, your students probably will, too. If you are passionate about the content, share it with them. If you are not passionate about the lesson, go on a quest to make it more fun. The internet has so many ideas! Attend a conference, take a professional development course, or ask a fellow teacher how they approach the subject. Make the learning meaningful for the students by using real-world examples.

  1. Hold students responsible

Give your students choice. Help them chart their learning levels and set goals for themselves. Revisit those goals and progress regularly.

  1. Take care of yourself.

Exercise (take a walk in the outdoors! You know…that place outside the walls of your classroom and home). Give yourself a bedtime and stick to it. Eat your veggies and fruit. Drink water. Each healthy step will help you tackle the bigger problems inside and outside of the classroom.

Dear teacher, here’s a well-deserved virtual high five. Your dedication to your students makes all the difference. You invest in the future before and after the bell rings. Thank you for all that you do!

Do you have any advice to deal with teacher burnout? Comment below with your suggestions!

Back to School!

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Back-to-School Stress

Parents, children, and teachers tend to feel a lot of emotions and stressors when summer is coming to an end, and school is about to begin.

Parents are likely thinking about adjusting their schedules; students are likely thinking about seeing their friends AND having their summer freedom aborted; but teachers are likely stressing the most about getting ready for a new school year.

Psychologist Gail Kinman offers advice on how to reduce stress and prepare for the new school year.   Among other suggestions, she advises becoming in touch with your feelings, listening to your body, doing a bit of planning, and getting extra rest.

Researching advice from psychologists and teachers, five top tips emerged for relieving “back-to-school” stress. They are as follows:

  1. Practice self-care. Get in the habit of taking care of yourself so that when the onslaught happens, you are already in the habit of taking some time for yourself. Remember the flight attendants’ instructions: “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting the person next to you.” If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have the energy to take care of anyone else, particularly a room full of students!
  2. Meditate and/or pray. There are multitudes of studies showing that meditation and prayer lower According to a University of Pennsylvania research study, just 30 minutes of daily meditation improves the ability to prioritize and manage tasks and goals, re-focus attention and stay alert to the environment. Even 5 minutes helps. Close your eyes for 5 minutes and breathe deeply to get back on track.
  3. Be prepared. Just a little bit of preparation can reduce your stress before it even starts to build up. Spend a little time organizing yourself before school starts and you will likely feel more relaxed. Make a list of what you want to do, then prioritize the items on your list. Don’t try to do everything at once. Feel free to cross off a few things on your list. Accomplishing the top few items can relieve a lot of anxiety.
  4. Use your mind. Take a few minutes to visualize yourself making a positive impact on your students. It is amazing how much this little practice can change your mindset and reduce stress.
  5. Get moving! Studies show that exercise reduces stress and releases endorphins. When you think you are too busy to exercise, it is often the times you need it most. It doesn’t have to be a full workout – just a quick walk or some stretches will do the trick. Yoga is also highly recommended.

(Reduce Back-to-School Anxiety Naturally)

Additional links are as follows: Back to School Tips, Back to School Preparation.

Summer and school breaks are great times to work on professional development classes. Flexible, online classes can be helpful for busy teachers.

So, take some deep breaths, and welcome the start of the school year!

If you have some good tips for reducing back-to-school anxiety, please comment below.