Teacher Social Groups
A Way to Relieve and Prevent Stress
by Dave Melanson
As teachers, I am sure many of you spend hours each day (some of them on your own time) preparing lesson plans, correcting, researching, and volunteering your time for after school activities. One thing I have come to realize after working in the field of inservice training with elementary teachers is that for the most part, there are very few teacher social groups organized to allow colleagues to do various activities together on evenings and weekends.
Here in Montreal I am a member of the Quebec Geography Teachers' Association (QGTA) headed by Mr. Camerine Gray, geography teacher at Lindsey Place High School. In spite of its name, the group has become in the past 40 years of its existence not just an interest group confined to geography teachers but a social extension for teachers of all levels and subjects who merely want to get together and enjoy the many weekend and evening activities this group plans on a monthly basis.
For example, Mr. Gray organizes trips to restaurants of different cultures where we have the opportunity to sample foods from all over the world. Following the meal there is often a guest speaker who gives a lecture on that country that we have just sampled the food from. We also often go on day trips. In January we visited a Sikh Temple. This month visited a black church, sampled a meal from Barbados, listened to a lecture and watched a video about that country. We are also planning to tour an asbestos mine and we visit many museums and art galleries as well.
I believe that such social activities are good for morale and spirit. Teachers are given the opportunity to socialize and chat and at the same time attend an informative educational and enjoyable event.
Mr. Gray has often stated that these types of outings and get-togethers are excellent stress relievers where the everyday hustle and bustle and frustrations of the classroom can be forgotten for a little while and can be replaced by laughter and excitement.
For me personally these social events have helped me to network, and have also been a wonderful way for me to meet many friends in the teaching community.
I see our yearly Teachers.Net gatherings as being the same sort of positive way to forget about the many frustrations and stress that teachers face in the classroom. My sincere thanks to anyone who has ever decided to host a Teachers.Net gathering as I am well aware that these gatherings take many, many hours of planning and organization. But the reward always comes when that day finally arrives and we all finally have the opportunity to meet each other personally after keyboarding for months, sometimes years, with each other.
Maybe next time when you are feeling stressed, "down" or frustrated, try to think about that next upcoming Teachers.Net Gathering or plan a social event with your colleagues. Lunch, dinner or karioke, these are things we can all look forward to as a well deserved break from the everyday grind.
David Melanson, frequent contributor to the Teachers.Net Gazette,
has just self-published Integration: A Rewarding Experience, a manual for educators on the topic of working with sight-impaired students. As a sight-impaired person whose parents persisted in having their son placed in "regular" (public school) classrooms, David's experiences, perspective, and advice are particularly interesting and helpful. The manual is interesting and worthy of reading even if one does not currently have a sight-impaired student in class.
The cost in the U.S. is $10 plus $2 .45 for postage. In Canada: $15 Canadian plus $1 .45 postage. Money orders are preferred. To order the manual, contact Mr. Melanson by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you have difficulty reaching Dave directly, contact Kathleen Carpenter email@example.com with "Melanson Manual" in the subject line.
To access monthly chats on the topic of working with sight-impaired students, moderated by David Melanson, visit the Teachers.Net Archives.
Sight Impaired Students, December 12, 2001
Integration Of Visually Impaired And Blind Students Into The Regular Schools
Accommodating the Visually Impaired Child
Working With the Sight Impaired Students, Sept. 21, 2000
Working With the Sight Impaired Students, December 6, 2000
Working With the Sight Impaired Students, February 15, 2001
Working With the Sight Impaired Students, May 7, 2001
Working With the Sight Impaired Students, July 19, 2001
Working With the Sight Impaired Students, August 6, 2001
Working With the Sight Impaired Students, October 23, 2001