Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Spring Break countdown:
Tuesday, 12:10pm - 3 days, 3 hours, 20 minutes...

The check list:
-One after-school meeting
-One grad school assignment
- One after-school meeting
- Two grad school assignments
- One St. Patrick's Day celebration
- One Preschool Rodeo
- Laundry
- Pack for Spring Break

The Post:

So, I attend a conference last weekend and one of the sessions was about adult stress in early childhood education. In this session, I learned that stress and adrenalin were actually intended as a brief surge as a response to danger - fight, flight or freeze.

Example -
We are walking down the street and a wildebeest crosses our path and begins to charge. Your body creates adrenalin, your blood floods your muscles and prepares you for the fight, flight or freeze response. The entire physiological response is meant to last about 20 minutes. If you've ever been in a car accident, this might ring true from your memories. There is a big event and you don't remember the events very well -- your blood was flowing to your muscles and your brain wasn't registering many details... you responded to the situation... and over time you calmed down. Your body regained a state of equilibrium. The adrenalin surge looks much like a steep bell curve up to a peak and then a gradual slope back down to equilibrium.

In our present-day society, we don't meet many situations that are actually life-threatening and dangerous. As a result, our bodies have begun to produce adrenalin and become stressed for events that are not actually life threatening and are re-occurring in our life.

Example -
As a teacher, I become if the students in my class are fighting in the morning (knock-down, drag-out fighting). This is a stressful situation and must be handled. If, in my classroom, this becomes the routine - my students fight every morning (first of all, I have some serious classroom management issues) but I start anticipating this stress before it actually occurs. I anticipate that every single morning, I am going to be stressed because my students are or will be fighting. When my body is producing consistent adrenalin for this daily stresser, my body never actually regains equilibrium of an unstressed-state. The experience is more of a wavy line above the resting point of healthy, unstressed equilibrium. Now, my students fighting in the classroom is not life or death (at least, not for me the teacher...). The experience is not a present danger like meeting a tiger or a wildebeest.

These lessons made a lot of sense to me. I don't want adrenalin pumping through my body on a daily basis when none of the stressers I meet are actually threatening danger.

I am trying to manage my stress by the realization that my paperwork, grad school deadlines, lack of sleep, a preschool rodeo, even antagonizing colleagues are not causing me immediate danger. They do not warrant the same adrenalin as a wildebeest.

Spring Break countdown:
Tuesday 12:38pm: 3 days, 2 hours, 52 minutes.

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  1. I sit at a desk all day...and found my best time to exercise is after work. Its a great stress reliever!

  2. I wonder what preschoolers have to fight about (perhaps the stupidest things), but maybe I'm too grown up at this point. Makes me miss the good old days of corporeal punishment...

    I feel you on the stress - its wholly unnecessary and i wonder why I'm just mentally exausted when I come back from work and I really wasn't taxed or anything. Out of curiosity - are you allowed to leave the school grounds during your lunchbreak, et al?


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