This past week our school’s fifth graders began their transition to sixth grade with a field trip to the local middle school. If you’ve been reading Being Teacher a while, you may remember that this time of year is bittersweet for me. I’m happy they’re growing. But I’m sad to see them leave.
We all know that change equals stress, whether we’ve chosen it or not. And a teacher’s life is full of it, from updated curriculums to new students every year. I’ve had teacher friends I adore retire or leave and at the end of a school year. Let’s face it, colleagues and students feel like family.
If change is in your forecast—which is highly likely—here are the top 5 research based-strategies to get you through those transitions.
5. Accept the change. Many times we get so caught up in denial of change that we don’t actually deal with it. I’ve seen this many times with new curriculum changes or with new teachers coming into a team.
Denial in any situation isn’t healthy. Stepping outside of yourself and saying, “Things are changing, and it will be okay” goes a long way towards maintaining happiness and emotional balance.
4. Know that stress can even come from good change. Good changes, like having a baby, still feel stressful. And remember that stress is just your body’s natural reaction to change. It’s okay to feel stressed even when something good has happened. It’s normal!
3.Keep your foundation strong. As things may be changing around you, keeping those regular routines keep the foundation of your life strong. A foundation is a reminder that some things are still the same, and they give your brain a rest.
2. Accentuate the positives. I’m all about gratitude and the appreciation of what’s all around us. We have so many things for which to be grateful, including the new opportunities that changes bring. Write down all the positive aspects of the transitions occurring in your life.
1. Get proactive. Being proactive means taking charge and working preventively. So figure out what steps you need to take before something happens. Being reactive means you wait until something has happened and then you take action.
Don’t wait to react to your changing situations. Make a list of the positives, keep your foundation strong, and accept the changes. If you need a little extra support, find those people who can help you through any challenge.
I have lots of changes coming this year for me. What about you? If you’re a change master, what ideas do you have to add?