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LA Unified offering new teachers a course in stress relief

Mike Szymanski | July 16, 2015

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teacher stressAcknowledging the challenges facing new teachers with the aim of helping them have long careers, LA Unified is offering classes this month to help freshly-minted teachers learn how to deal with stress.

The district is offering a the New Teacher Summer Institute, a five-day series of workshops, with about 1,800 teachers expected to take the courses. The program was organized by Suzanne Silverstein, founding director of the Psychological Trauma Center at Cedars-Sinai, who initiated the course for LA Unified last year.

The workshops include guest speakers and information covering employee benefits and classroom management.

Silverstein lectures at the seminar and explains ways to focus and slow down. She uses listening sticks and Tibetan singing bowls to help perpetuate a sense of calm. Students use the sticks (which they make themselves) to pass around, and only the stick holder can speak.

The idea is to create a quiet working environment for the students, which also relieves stress for the teacher. There are also seminars such as “Addressing Student Behavior” and “Writing Objectives.”

In the face of anticipated teacher shortages, LAUSD continues to look for new teachers, and as many teachers say, it is important to keep them happy and well-trained for their job. Some say stress is the biggest reason for teachers leaving the profession, and a large percentage of new teachers leave the profession after only two years.

A link to the course registration for is here.

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