California Educator

August 2014

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e l i s s a R o g e r s r e c o m m e n d s identifying factors beyond your c o n t ro l a n d c h o o s i n g n o t t o worry about them. Next, identify anxiety-provok- ing things you can control and take action. "If your district is behind in Common Core implementation, take proactive steps without waiting for your district to tell you what to do," advises Rogers, Mountain View Teachers Associa- tion. "Form a support system to help you with the new standards, classroom management or things you are struggling with. Start feeling more empow- ered and in control of what you do." Go to your happy place You spend more waking moments in your classroom than at home, so create a pleasant classroom environment, suggests Rogers. "Dark colors are soothing, and fabric looks nicer on a wall than butcher paper. Playing music during the day is also relaxing." Find a way to transition between school and home, she advises. Stop for a cup of coffee or herbal tea or spend 20 minutes browsing in a bookstore before rushing off to pick up your kids or cook dinner. It may be easier said than done, but you'll arrive at your next destination in a better frame of mind. Other ways to unwind? "If you've not been introduced to the wonders of a $15 foot massage, that can be an invaluable resource," she says with a blissful sigh. When the walls seem to be crashing in, take a deep breath or a time-out. "Stay centered as a teacher by focusing on what's best for kids. Allow students to relax once in a while with activities that are classroom-appro- priate and educationally sound that give everyone a break when you've been pushing the academics hard. Leisure reading and doing Sudoku puzzles are good options. Or try a change of venue. A math assignment under a tree is a pleasant experience. When students are happy, they behave better. That makes me a happier camper." Take care of your health Kindergarten teacher Nancy Glenn and sister Barbara Sakota, a nutritionist and homeopathic health care provider, have teamed up for CTA's Good Teaching Con- ferences to help educators reduce stress naturally. "Teachers tell me they don't have time to go to the bath- room, but it's important to drink water to stay hydrated," says Sakota. "Eat foods that are healthy for your body. A high intake of sugars and carbohydrates increases glucose levels, which trigger anxiety and stress. Also, vitamin B and fi sh oils have excellent calming properties for the body." Exercising or walking 30 minutes daily relieves stress and provides vitamin D, says Glenn, San Bernardino Teachers Association. So does stretching and taking slow "calming breaths" that you hold in for six seconds before exhaling. When stressed, monitor your pulse. Anything over 100 beats per minute indicates a danger zone. It can be helpful to talk to a mental health professional Teachers say they don't have time to go to the bathroom, but it's important to drink water to stay hydrated and to eat healthy foods to maintain energy, say sisters Nancy Glenn and Barbara Sakota. Learning Best practice 42

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