It's All Perfect
Feeling stressed out? Are you experiencing regular hassles with your students, administration, and/or colleagues? Does it feel like you’re under increasing pressure as you move through your teaching day? Does the word “burnout” seem like more than just a cute term? Not to worry. Help is on the way.
Stress occurs because our interpretive minds
view situations as bad, terrible, and awful. When we think
things should be a certain way and reality does not match
our mental model, we create stress for ourselves. The solution
to the teacher stress problem is simple. It lies in helping
educators view situations differently. In fact, the best stress
reduction technique currently available to professional educators
is the "it's all perfect" belief system.
If your students are making five-minute speeches and they listen respectfully to each other, it’s perfect. If they are disrespectful to each other, that’s perfect, too. It’s the perfect time to debrief the situation with your class, helping them examine their behavior and how it’s affecting their classmates. You can’t find a more perfect time to help students take a look at their choices concerning listening to others, and learn from those choices.
If your students get started quickly after you give an assignment, it is perfect. On the other hand, if they take several minutes to begin, they are giving you the perfect data you need to design a lesson to teach them how to get started quickly. Can there be a more perfect time to help them learn how to get started quickly? Hardly. It is perfect.
Did you overhear two students gossiping about another student? It’s not awful. It’s not disgusting. It’s perfect—the perfect time to confront gossiping and to teach about this form of abuse.
Did one of your students fail to get her work in on time for you to sign her eligibility slip so she could play in the weekend volleyball game? Resist the urge to see the situation as terrible. Refrain from viewing her as lazy or unmotivated. This is the perfect time to help her learn about the responsibilities that go with being a student athlete. It is the perfect time to help her appreciate the cause-and-effect relationship between her effort and the results that follow. You cannot find a more perfect time to help her learn these lessons.
Did one of your second-graders cry all morning because her dog died last night? This is the perfect time to show her and all the other students in your class the power of empathy. It is the perfect time to demonstrate how you honor feelings and refrain from talking children out of them. It is the perfect time to teach the power of allowing by allowing her to grieve, to be with her feelings, and to be honored for where she currently is emotionally. What a perfect time to demonstrate all those important lessons.
You can choose to see events that unfold in your classroom as awful or as perfect. The choice is yours. See them as perfect and you create less stress for yourself, enabling you to handle whatever events arise more effectively from your true center. Perceive them as awful and that is perfect, too. It’s the perfect data you need to show you how you are choosing to interpret the events of your teaching life. It’s the perfect time to change your mind and see it all as perfect.