The Leesville English department gathers for some food and some much needed quality time spent with colleagues. Spending time with others who understand the struggle can help to relieve a lot of stress. (Used by permission of Heather Dinkenor)
Every day, high school students face stressful situations and have to manage anxiety in order to be successful in their academic careers. Balancing homework, athletics, and life outside school can cause a large amount of stress. Being a high school student is not as simple as it’s made to be, but teenagers also have access to many different ways to relieve anxiety and stress as well. Extracurricular activities or spending time with friends and family can be a distraction from the difficulty of the academic atmosphere. Students have access to tons of stress relief, but what about the other half of the equation?
The teachers of Leesville are masked heroes, working vigorously day and night to properly care for their students. Teachers have to stay on top of planning, develop new lesson plans, deliver engaging material, and meet the needs of every student as best as they can. Understandably, large amounts of stress accompany juggling so many responsibilities.
To be fair to all working adults, there is stress from each and every job. Doctors are responsible for their diagnoses, servers are responsible for their customer service, and lawyers are responsible for their ability to convince a jury.
Teacher stress, however, is “compounded by the energy of motivation,” as Mrs. Dinkenor, Leesville English teacher, puts it. Teachers must instruct for the day, but when the day is over, it truly isn’t over at all. Going home does not mean a teacher is free of responsibility, as they oftentimes must grade papers, create lesson ideas, and tie up loose ends from the workday. Sometimes, the stress “is exacerbated by sheer exhaustion,” said Dinkenor.
On top of everything else, a teacher must renew themselves and bring a positive attitude to motivate and help their students every morning. Teachers are responsible for developing and maintaining positive relationships with willing students. Teachers are motivators, leaders, and caretakers.
More often than not, that is much easier said than done. Leesville, however, continues to implement various forms of stress relief for teachers. As Ms. Tabron, English teacher, said, there is not a “one size fits all” to help teachers out. Every teacher has their preference in how to relax but having the support of colleagues is perhaps the most beneficial.
Mrs. Dinkenor has worked at Leesville for 25 years and over time has developed strong connections with other members of the teaching staff. She says it feels nice to be surrounded by people who “‘get’ it” because they experience the same pressures. An outing as simple as dinner can be extremely relieving, illustrating that a teacher is not alone in their worries.
The administration of Leesville hosted a party in December for teachers to gather, relax, and celebrate their success as the first semester came to a close. The school has also hosted a book club and multiple yoga sessions in an effort to introduce and implement new styles of stress relief. Unfortunately, the state budget is restrictive and does not give schools much wiggle room in what they can provide for teachers.
Being a teacher is not easy, end of sentence. It takes extremely hard work, dedication, and passion for teaching to be a successful educator. However, being good at something does not mean that it comes easily. Many teachers put in years of commitment and enthusiasm in order to properly take care of their students, and this should never go unrecognized.