Let’s start with this:
Step One: On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your job, with 10 being “I Love What I Do and Can’t Believe I Actually Get Paid to Do It” and 1 being “I Hate What I Do and Would Change Jobs Immediately If I Had ANY Other Opportunities.”
Step Two: Write the two most stressful things about your job. In other words, if you could only change two things to move you a few points up on the one-to-ten scale, what would those two things be?
Keep those two things in mind as I talk about stress. Stress is energy your body produces when you wonder whether you can deal effectively with a given situation. Ultimately, you will use that energy to either run from the source of your stress or attack it (think back to Psychology 101: fight or flight). I use the terms “engage” for fight and “disengage” for flight. Neither option is necessarily right or wrong—it just depends on how we are engaging or disengaging.
We can engage in ways that are helpful or not helpful. Here are some examples of ways to engage that are helpful: 1) connect with someone who has been through this before to find support and direction; 2) assert yourself appropriately; 3) anticipate problems and have a response plan ready. Here are some examples of ways to engage that are not helpful: 1) verbally attack others; 2) criticize others; 3) create divisions among staff.
We can also disengage in ways that are helpful or not helpful. Here are some examples of ways to disengage that are helpful: 1) reflect, and ask yourself what you are doing to contribute to or sustain the problem; 2) keep perspective (i.e., Is too much of your identity tied to your vocation? Is your sense of urgency in the classroom actually impeding rather than helping you?)
Okay, so back to the two things you listed that you would like to change about your job. How have you managed the stress that those two things produce? Have you engaged in ways that are helpful or not helpful? Have you disengaged in ways that are helpful or not helpful?