Journaling Techniques and Strategies to Reduce Stress and Burnout, and Increase Teacher Effectiveness

Recording Observations
Teachers are instructed to document the factual details related to meaningful events using the following guidelines:
  • The date, time, location, participants or anything else such as unusual weather or fire drill etc.
  • A description of the behavior of the person or people involved in the event, for example, what was said, body language, facial expressions etc. (before, during and after the event).
  • The context, for example, environment, circumstances, surroundings, motive, mindset, frame of reference, conditions
  • If applicable: The directions or activities given by the teacher (before, during and after the event)
  • If applicable: The response of the person or people involved. 
Recording Reflections
When recording at least one specific observation at least once per week, the teachers are also asked to reflect on the events with focus on their reactions to the event or behavior. Specifically, teachers were asked to record:
  • Their perception of the event, including feelings, speculations, ideas, hunches, assumptions, development of theories etc.
  • Their perception of the other person/s behavior
  • Thoughts on what function the other person/s behavior served
  • Personal reactions to the event or the other person/s behavior
  • Thoughts & opinions about the teaching strategy or intervention used (if applicable)
  • Thoughts & opinions about to what extent the teaching strategy or intervention used was efficient (if applicable).
In addition to recording observations and recording reflections teachers are encouraged to record and reflect on the following:
Defining the problem
  • What is the most important problem I want to solve?
  • What would make a lasting difference and not just a temporary one?
  • How does this connect with my overall objectives and values in life?
  • What could I do differently to better align my responses with my values?
  • Is this a one time issue for me, or have I been struggling with this a lot?
  • Do I need to change the situation, or do I need to change the way I respond to it?
  • What do I gain from responding this way? What does it give me that I need?
  • What are my expectations in this situation? Are these expectations serving me well or frustrating me?
  • What in this situation is within my control, that I can realistically change?
  • What do I believe about my own ability to change in this area?
Identifying obstacles
  • What is my worst case scenario here? What is the fear behind that?
  • What is driving my responses?
  • What believe is behind my responses? How well is that belief serving me?
Overcoming obstacles
  • What are five options for how I could overcome that obstacle?
  • What resources do I need to overcome that obstacles? Where could I get them?
  • What am I afraid of? What’s the thing I don’t want to happen?
  • What in teaching gives me lasting satisfaction?
  • What have I done as a teacher that I would like to do more of?
  • What accomplishments would have alternate significance for me?
  • What are some of my core values?
  • When making decisions what are the values I base them on?
  • Why am I drawn to teaching?
  • How was I drawn to becoming a teacher?
  • Where in my body do I feel strong emotions?
  • Where in my body do I feel the first signs of stress? Of anxiety? Once I become aware of that body part, can I relax that part and let go of any tension?
  • What happens in my body if I acknowledge the stressors and then mentally let them go?
  • Cited References

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