On the Toughest Part of Teaching, Ed Week Talks to Jennings
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On the Toughest Part of Teaching, Ed Week Talks to Jennings

Education Week spoke to Tish Jennings about how teachers can cope with the tremendous challenges of teaching.

“The social and emotional demands of the classroom are staggering. The teacher must build supportive relationships with 20-30 young people, with their own individual needs, desires, fears, and concerns, while these young people are learning how to manage social relationships between and among themselves, working through their emotional ups and downs, friendships and conflicts. Add to this the fact that there is no privacy in the classroom and everyone is a virtual captive–none can leave without adverse consequences, especially the teacher. This lack of privacy and sense of being a captive, creates an added level of stress–it can sometimes feel like a pressure cooker. To top it off, when students go off task or interfere with lessons, a teacher can become frustrated and annoyed but must manage her feelings professionally without losing her cool. In other work contexts, when something frustrates us, we can take a break to cool off. Teachers don’t have this luxury.

Teacher preparation programs rarely address these issues and most teachers enter the workforce ill equipped to perform well without additional professional development and coaching. The good news is that more schools of education are addressing this need. At the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, my elementary education students learn strategies to manage these demands in the classroom management course I teach. They learn about emotions, the stress response and why the classroom can be so stressful. They learn tools to monitor and manage their stress as they work so they can avoid burnout that is taking a toll on our teaching workforce.”

Read the full article: “Response: Teaching can be Tough, but We’re Also ‘Lucky