This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, a time to thank a teacher and let them know how grateful we are for their work. It’s also a good time to reflect on the unique stressors and challenges that come with the profession.
Teachers have a very high burnout rate. Between 40 and 50% of new teachers drop out of the profession within the first five years! Managing stress is key if we want to ensure the future of our education system and the presence of a high quality, resilient workforce.
So, this week I picked up a copy of The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide: 77 Proven Prescriptions to Build Your Resilience by Jack Singer. As promised, the book provides 77 “prescriptions” or tips for combating stress. They include everything from changing negative thought patterns through positive self-talk to relaxation exercises to showing gratitude.
While the tips are good, I wouldn’t call any of them particularly ground breaking. What I liked more about this book was the in-depth explanation of what causes teachers stress.
If you are reading this book as a stressed out teacher, you will find validation. You will understand that chronic stress and burnout are common, that you are not alone, and that prevention is a skill that can be learned.
A major focus of the book is understanding how our own thoughts impact our stress and anxiety. It discusses common cognitive traps and distortions and how to address them. The personal stories of teachers at the beginning and end of each chapter are useful in understanding how stress and burnout develop in real life.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The “Action Plan” tables scattered throughout give a good format to begin implementing some of the stress management techniques and setting personal goals. The prescription list at the end provides a quick reference guide for stress management techniques.