Being an early childhood professional can be very stressful. Between the parents, children, and all of the requirements it can be demanding. The early childhood field can be a profession that is very overwhelming and cause so much stress and anxiety that makes it difficult for educators to want to stay in the field.
Educators come in eager to teach the next generation and get a raff of inconsistency, high expectations, and no understanding of what to do because they get thrown into a classroom or have new children that they are unfamiliar with and become overwhelmed. Today’s young child doesn’t always come into a new classroom with respect and concern for others. Many children come in with no knowledge of working with other children, what rules are, or how to take direction from adults. Which can cause a lot of disruption for teachers and other professionals?
Some of the most intriguing aspects of the profession is getting to work through some of the stressors and see the difference that you make in a child’s life. But more and more expectations are put on a professional that a lot of times the small milestone accomplishments are lost. Even though the field of early education is very demanding and stressful the real professional works through all of the problems and provide an environment that is loving, caring, and educational for each individual person that is in the classroom.
Directors of an early education facility have a hard job as it includes making sure that your teachers are able to properly care for the children and make sure that they are completing the expectation of the center. Stress may not be apparent in some of the teachers because of the number of other items that need to be taken care of, or you know that they are stressed out, but you just aren’t for sure on how to help them because you have the same problems your self.
If you notice teachers that are feeling overwhelmed, tired, gaining or losing weight, feeling sad, or frequently feeling sick, then they may be staff that is stressed and needs some coping skills. Here are just a few examples of ways you can help your team stay less stressed and be able to provide more appropriate care for the children that they care for.
1. Communicate with your staff. If they are left in the air and don’t know what’s going on, then they are going to be stressed and have a lot of anxiety because they don’t know what’s going on.
2. Consult your employees. Talk to them about the work that they are responsible for and help them come up with a timeline that is reasonable on making sure that everything is complete and help them work through what they need to do.
3. Avoid unrealistic deadlines. Setting the deadline together will allow both people to fee the responsibility of getting specific things done.
4. Offer rewards and incentives for hard work. We use to do you’ve been spotted award where the teaches would get a paid day off, and this would be awarded monthly to one teacher that would do an outstanding job and was caught doing so.
5. Cultivate a friendly social climate by providing opportunities for social interactions among employees. Do potlucks at meetings or have a staff Christmas party. Something that makes them feel apart of a team and a family. Opportunities that they can vent and be comfortable about venting to be able to cope.
Provided opportunities and reminders that you are there for them and that there are ways to cope with what they are going through. Here are a few ways that teachers can help work through stress and deal with what is going on around them.
1. Accept Help. A lot of times with teachers we want to show that we are superheroes and that we can do it all which causes a lot of unneeded stress. Accept it, It’s ok. It’s not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you want the best for your classroom and you want everyone to be involved.
2. Focus on what you are able to provide and do. Focus on what you can handle and do well. Sometimes you need to figure out what the priorities are first and then worry about all other things that need to happen. The time management training that ECTC offers will help you designate what priorities are and how to work through those stressors.
3. Set realistic goals. I am the worlds worst to say oh yeah I can have that done in no time and then when reality hits I really needed about another three days to be able to fit it into my schedule. SO give yourself time, and a buffer just in case life happens. Doing that is ok.
4. Get connected. Get with either other providers, teachers, or directors that know what you are going through and have time together where you can bounce ideas off of or just even vent to one another so that you can let a lot of the frustrations go.
5. Set personal health goals. It is imperative to keep yourself healthy. You can do this in many different ways, but I promise it is the most significant area of self-growth that we allow to diminish when in all reality it is the most crucial aspect that can keep us sane and health at the same time. So many frustrations can go because you feel better and your body can withstand the stress better. Healthy body Healthy mind.
I hope that you will think about working with your staff and see where things can be done in-house to help not only you as a director but your team which will in turn help enhance the environment for the children and families.