Teaching kids day in and day out is a rewarding career, and many
teachers will tell you that they love their job. After all, as
a teacher you get to make a direct impact on the kids that you
teach, and hopefully instill some values in them that they otherwise
might not get. On the other hand, teaching a classroom of kids
can also be quite stressful. We all know there are always a handful
of students who will make your job a little more challenging than
you expected. The key is in knowing how to reduce your classroom
stress, and refocus your students on the lesson at hand. Here
are 10 things that you can do to reduce stress in your classroom
1. Add laughter to your classroom.
Laughter is good medicine. It tends to unplug stress in you and
your students, and gives your students a sense of togetherness,
as they have your sense of humor in common. There is a delicate
balance to adding laughter to the classroom and having that laughter
get out of control, so be ready to bring your students back into
2. Build self-esteem in your students.
Students who suffer from a low self-esteem will sometimes opt
themselves out of even trying to learn in the classroom. If they
live in a home environment where all they hear is that they are
stupid, they will start to believe this, and the effort will dwindle.
Try some activities that help build a child's self-esteem, such
as looking for ways that students can have leadership roles in
the classroom, talk to students one-on-one and show an interest
in their work habits, and incorporate easy questions into tests,
in-between harder questions, so students with a low self-esteem
can feel good about their answers.
3. Provide effective discipline measures.
When dealing with the topic of discipline in your classroom,
you should have effective discipline measures. You may have rules
for behavior in your classroom, but may quickly come to find that
not every rule works with every child. You have to learn what
discipline strategies work for different students. This will make
the classroom less stressful. For instance, sitting in the back
of the classroom may work for "Johnny" because he doesn't like
the negative attention that is drawn to him, while it won't for
"Jake" who thrives as the class clown. Perhaps giving "Jake" an
extra writing assignment will work best for him.
4. Add creative movement to your classroom.
When it looks like your class is about to get out of control,
come out of the blue with a movement exercise that will get them
out of their seats for a moment or two. You might be surprised
at how much better they will listen when they sit back down. Quick
movement exercises might include: " 10 jumping jacks " Quick jog
around the classroom " Deep breathing exercise It can be anything
that just gets the body moving for one to two minutes.
5. Keep paperwork organized.
As students are handing in their homework assignments, tests,
permission slips, and other classroom paperwork, have them write
the number that corresponds to their number in your grade book
in the top right corner on their papers. This will save a lot
of time in keeping your paperwork organized.
6. Post a Top-10 List.
Keep students motivated to keep their attention on lesson plans
by developing a Top-10 list every week. Simply post the top 10
students in your class for the week based on their test/quiz scores,
consistency in handing in homework on time, participation in class,
and any other factors you want to keep track of. The reward for
being on the Top-10 list for a given week can mean that those
students can choose their own seats or have a free night of no
homework the following week.
7. The Scrolling Marquee Technique.
If you want to reward those students who are well behaved in
your class and set an example for other students to follow, try
this unique method. Set your classroom computer to a marquee screensaver
and display a child's name who is doing well in class. Change
the name every day. Kids will be wanting their name to be on the
8. Use hand signals.
Nothing distracts a class more than interruptions. The use of
hand signals is a popular method among teachers to communicate
with students without interrupting the class. Simply have students
raise their hands to answer a question as usual. If a student
needs to use the bathroom, they can raise their forefinger in
the air. If they need to get a tissue, they can raise two fingers.
You can come up with your own system, but it works well. To answer
the child you can shake your head "yes" or "no," and that will
be the end of it.
9. Incorporate "Do Now" activities.
In order to keep kids focused during class, take five minutes
to have them perform a "Do Now" activity. This is where you write
a quick assignment on the whiteboard. It can be an assignment
that reviews a past lesson, or whatever you want. Give the students
five minutes to complete the assignment, while you time them.
It will help you assess your student's knowledge of a lesson,
and it gives them an incentive to get the work done.
10. Make an attitude adjustment.
When you feel yourself becoming stressed in the classroom, try
to think of the situation as a challenge. Keep a positive attitude
and realize that you cannot control everything that happens in
your classroom, but you can react to situations proactively. Students
will eventually follow your lead when they are in your room.