TM4T - The TM4T Perspective on Stress Management

[This material has also been published as A Teachers' Guide to Stress]

If you've read the TM4T Stress Management Basis here you will know that we separate the issue of 'Stress' into two distinct aspects that we call WISE (Working in a Stressful Environment) and SFS (Suffering from Stress).

Some of the issues, in other words, relate to the school; others relate to the individual teacher.  At TM4T, we do have a perspective on the environmental issues - click here for more details - but we are not a management consultancy. Our focus is on helping individual teachers cope with their jobs.

From the perspective of Mr Bigrush (see graphic above): he doesn't care how much stress is generated by Stresstown Comprehensive and its incompetent management - he just needs techniques which help with SFS.

For Mr Bigrush - and for any overworked teacher, it is vital to understand how stress arises, and the relationship between stress and pressure. The good news is that most teachers - in fact most human beings - thrive under pressure.  Up to a certain point, that is. The graph below shows how.

As the demands of work increase, most teachers' capability increases to respond - they rise to challenges. At some point, though, the demands exceed the individual's capability to respond, performance declines, and 'pressure' turns to 'stress'. The exact point at which this happens, of course, varies from indvidual to individual.

This idea of a 'creative peak' at the top of the graph is clearly quite important - in fact this 'middle' part of the graph is fundamental to the TM4T perspective. Let's look at the Work Demands axis in a different way...

In the green part of the graph, there is not a problem. The conscience of the individual - an the motivational powers of management - will ensure hard work and achievement. The red part of the graph - and this is important, dear readers, so understand it well - the red part of the graph is NOT dealt with on this website. The red part of the graph represents a medical condition which requires medical expertise.

This website is about the bit in between - being able to cope with high work demands without heading towards burnout.  We call this 'Managing the Middle' and it is an important skill for most teachers.

In order to avoid the red part of the Italian flag, you need a Stress Armoury which is here.