Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Positive Strategies to Avoid Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout

Editor's Note: This blog post, co-authored by Marcus Conyers, originally appeared on Edutopia.

Teaching is important and rewarding work, but it can also be extremely stressful. Excessive stress may lead to burnout, which is characterized by exhaustion, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed and isolated. Other common symptoms of burnout are a loss of creativity, good humor, patience, and enthusiasm for life all of which are crucial attributes for effective teaching.

Fortunately, the human brain has tremendous capacity to change and grow. We can train our malleable, dynamic brains specifically, the left prefrontal cortex, which figures prominently in emotional outlook to become happier and more optimistic through deliberate practice.


5 Positive Strategies

Research suggests that happy people are more likely to have positive relationships with family, friends, and colleagues; to perform better on the job; and even to enjoy greater physical health than those with negative outlooks.

Monday, March 14, 2016

I'm Proud to Be Presenting at the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators Annual Conference

I am pleased to be presenting and making new friends at the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators Annual Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Yesterday, I was happy to present a preconference session on “The Impact of Research from Education, Psychology, and Neuroscience on Policies, Procedures, and Practices” with a group of state and district administrators from across the USA. My session was facilitated by NAFEPA Past-President Debra Baros. In attendance was Executive Committee Member Anita Farver from Little Rock, Arkansas.

This morning, we are hearing from John King, the acting Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education. Dr. King, a former teacher, will be confirmed as the Secretary of Education very soon, and it is interesting to hear his remarks in light of current changes in federal policy.

A high point from Dr. King's presentation is that we have a higher graduation rate currently than in past years, but we have plenty of work to do to ensure equity with the Every Student Succeeds Act. The measure of our work is in the amount of change we can create in our students, especially those with learning challenges.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Don’t Lose Sleep over Daylight Savings Time

In most of the country, Sunday marks an annual ritual: setting our clocks ahead for the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST). When we “spring forward,” many of us lose an hour of sleep. However, we shouldn’t be so quick to give up that 60 extra minutes of snooze time—on the first day of DST or on any other day.

If you don’t think that one hour of sleep deprivation is a big deal, consider this: Experts have identified the Monday after DST as a vulnerable time for traffic accidents. This tie between adequate sleep and overall alertness underscores just how important sleep is to proper functioning in general.

As we report in our book, Thinking for Results: Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement By As Much as 30 Percent, lack of sleep has a significant impact on cognitive processes. Most adults require a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep per night, while children and teenagers need even more.