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Coping With Teaching Stress: Guest Post

 Everything I read about the brain tells me that stress keeps the brain from working properly.  Today we are lucky to have a guest blogger to share her books that might help cope with the stress of teaching.  If you're not already familiar with Angela Watson, here's a bit about her:  Angela Watson of TheCornerstoneForTeachers.com was a classroom teacher for eleven years, and currently works as an instructional coach and educational consultant based in New York City.  

(Doing my best Ed McMahon imitation....) Heeeere's Angela!

Thanks so much for inviting me to share about my books, Sally! Teaching is an incredibly stressful profession, and there is a huge need for resources to help educators deal with all the challenges we face on a daily basis. I wish that I could tell you that there is some miracle solution that instantly reverses teacher burnout. But, I learned just about everything the hard way! There were so many days when I came home from school in tears, exhausted and feeling hopeless about how I could ever solve all the problems that were piled on my plate. It was a long process, but eventually I learned a better way, and started to enjoy our profession again. When kids misbehaved, I learned not to take it as a personal attack and instead responded calmly. When my principal shoved yet another task on me and wanted it done by the end of the day, I practiced responding in a productive way that didn't raise my blood pressure and cause me to become resentful. Basically, I learned how to have a more positive, flexible, and resilient mindset-- and I wrote a book to share how I did it. Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching provides simple steps to help you feel peaceful and energized no matter what’s happening around you. Drawing upon principles of stress management, cognitive behavioral therapy, spiritual truths, and personal experiences, Awakened helps you develop thought habits that produce an unshakable sense of contentment, motivation, and purpose. You can learn how to take a fresh approach to the challenges of teaching!

The Awakened Devotional Study Guide for Christian Educators

I also just released The Awakened Devotional Study Guide for Christian Educators. This workbook is designed to deepen Christian teachers’ understanding of the principles in Awakened, elaborating on what the Bible has to say about renewing our minds. For each Awakened chapter, this guide provides an opening reflection, devotion, further scripture reading, application questions, “to do” challenge, and a prayer that invites God to help you in applying the principles to your life. You can click here to get a special discount on both books together, or here to learn about eBook discounts.
        Thanks for letting me share this with you today. I hope that Awakened and The Awakened Devotional Study Guide help you maintain your enthusiasm for teaching this school year, no matter what daily challenges come your way! You can find all sorts of free teacher resources on my website, or check out my blog of free devotions for teachers. Enjoy!

Angela has offered to give away a copy of either or both of these books to one reader of Elementary Matters! Here's how the contest works:

Leave a comment (including your email) telling about one of the sources of stress from teaching, (Yes, this is your chance to "let it out"!) and which book interests you. The winner will be chosen randomly from the comments on Friday Sept. 21st!


  1. Both these books sound great! One source of stress in my job as a Reading Intervention teacher is lack of funding!!!! I never seem to have enough resources AND there are not enough hours to help all the students who need help!
    I will have been off for a year this December due to breast cancer. I return in January 2013. Unbelievably there was less stress in my life this past year even though I was dealing with cancer! I was AMAZED that my job, that I LOVE, was SO stressful!!
    Thank you Sally for sharing Angela's wisdom.
    Thank you Angela for writing the books to help us deal with the stress.

  2. I work in a school where an administration reluctant to confront hostility has made hostility the norm in the school. Lack of communication adds to the problems. Awakened sounds like the book for me!

  3. Oops--anonymous above is h_erlandson@hotmail.com

  4. I teach special education grades 9-12, or up to the age of 21. I started a Life Skills program last school year where my students study in a mock apartment setting to learn how to live independently and a classroom setting to use technology and study/reading skills. I have been supported by my principal, our special education coop, and most parents. Notice, I said most. The stress and tears of my year is a mother who is a great advocate for her son however, she makes my life, my para educators lives and my principals life miserable. She comes storming in the school yelling and swearing accusing us of things that are absolutely not happening. Without having an adult conversation she is very accusatory. It is really hard to deal with and give all of my other students the attention and teaching they need on a daily basis. It is also hard to come home and shut her off, shut the guilt and worry off and get my attitude ready for the next day. I would be interested in The Awakened for the simple fact that I count on devotions for a lot of things. I could use a devotion guide for my demanding career so I continue to love it as much as I do. embydal@hotmail.com

  5. I am a current graduate student working on my MAT in Middle School Education. I taught four years at a private, International school before moving back to the USA to obtain my initial certification. I have yet to begin teaching in the USA, but I am already stressed by the high-stakes testing, meeting AYP, and wondering how to become the most effective teacher when so much depends upon the test scores of my students! Yikes!!! I think I would greatly benefit from the book Awakened as I will begin my new teaching career next year. Thank you for this blog and for introducing us to Angela Watson and her books.


  6. One of my biggest sources of stress is testing and the role it plays in teacher evaluation. How does a highly effective teacher go to developing solely based on test scores? If that's not enough, what do you do with a student that can't control his temper and throws chairs? Karenr843@gmil.com

  7. I am really bothered by the politics in school. I cannot believe we have lawmakers who haven't set foot in a real classroom. Ones who went to private schools and came from affluent families. I work in a Title 1 school where 85% of our students come from poverty. These lawmakers need to come to these schools and see what we really deal with. Whew! That' felt good. =) I NEED any book that helps me reduce stress.

    Emily @ Second Grade Silliness 

  8. I think that both of the books would be great and are exactly what I need this year. I come home almost everyday in tears and exhausted. I have a difficult child who has very angry and violent fits in my classroom almost everyday. i am also constantly getting new things shoved on my plate from my principals and our county for the new teacher evaluation system that ties in with Marzano and pay for performance. This year has been such a challenging year and each day I try so hard to keep a positive attitude. Sometime I get sick of my own complaining so I know other are too. i need to take a step in the right direction and start enjoying my job again!

  9. Oops I forgot my e-mail it is ramblingaboutreading@gmail.com

  10. Other teachers stress me out with the constant complaining about struggling students. Instead of helping them they expect them to conform to their way.

  11. One source of stress that the teachers I work with and I have noticed is when the district adds something else on our plates and doesn't take off something.

  12. Angela Watson of TheCornerstoneForTeachers.com was a classroom teacher for eleven years, and currently works as an instructional coach and educational consultant based in New York City. mindfulness mavericks


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