chat center

Latest Posts Full Chatboard Submit Post

Current Issue » Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 3 Number 11

A new museum dedicated to exploring the role of visual art in children's literature from around the world will open in Amherst, Massachusetts in November 2002...
A Class Size of 500 Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Suggestions For Motivation Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
Stress Relief for Teachers Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Benefits of Homework Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Dealing with the Back Stabbers and Happy Haters The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
Sites For Grades 4 to 8 The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Thinking About Your Curriculum 4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
November Postcard from Planet Esme - News from the world of children's books by Esmé Codell
November Articles
November Regular Features
November Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber...
Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber are a mother-daughter writing team who share a passion for teaching and writing. This is not an "overnight success" story--they have been writing together for eighteen years. They are currently developing new educational products to be released by publishers this spring. They have written and sold over one hundred fifty educational products to publishers which are sold worldwide.

Barbara is a former teacher who was employed by Frank Schaffer Publications from l980 to l996. She developed and presented curriculum seminars nationwide for K-6 teachers. Barbara was involved in product development and was a freelance writer exclusively for Frank Schaffer Publications. After "retiring," she wrote a series of idea books for teachers for The Mailbox. Practice and LearnRight is the publisher of a series of best-selling word wall products. Barbara and her husband live on a farm in Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, California. She has four grown children and four grandchildren. Barbara earned her M.A. at Santa Clara University in California.

Sue Gruber is a kindergarten teacher who is sharing a teaching contract this year. Working half-time gives her more time with her 18 month old son Cooper. Sue, her husband and son live in Sonoma County, as well. Sue's first experience as a writer was helping Barbara write a science book for Frank Schaffer Publications. Sue has a degree in geology and a strong science background. They continued as a writing team and created dozens of products for Frank Schaffer Publications. Sue and Barbara wrote eight new teacher idea books soon to be released by Practice and LearnRight. Sue taught grades three, four, five and is currently team teaching kindergarten. Sue earned her M.A. at Sonoma State University in California.

Barbara and Sue are are partners in Barbara Gruber Online Courses for Teachers. They personally write each course with today's busy teachers in mind. Teachers can do coursework completely on their own, or, if they wish, interact on line with others. They can earn one, two or three semester units from University of the Pacific. Barbara and Sue present information on a practical level. It can be put into action immediately in classrooms. Barbara and Sue provide instructional strategies and management ideas without creating more work for teachers.

The internet allows Barbara & Sue to do the work they love most—work directly with teachers. They are thrilled with the response by teachers to their courses. They have a fresh, teacher-friendly approach to affordably-priced courses. Barbara Gruber & Sue Gruber have created exactly what today's teachers are looking for! You can find out about their courses at

Best Sellers

The Self-Publishing Manual : How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Self Publishing Manual, 13th Ed)
by Dan Poynter

$13.96 from
More information


Complete Guide to Self Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book (4th Edition)
by Tom Ross, Marilyn Ross

$13.99 from
More information


A Basic Guide to Writing, Selling, and Promoting Children's Books: Plus Information about Self-publishing
by Betsy B. Lee

$4.95 from
More information


Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers...
by Barbara Gruber, M.A. & Sue Gruber, M.A.
Stress Relief for Teachers

The bell rings and your students head out the door at the end of the school day! You need to leave school in forty-five minutes to get to a dental appointment. That should be just enough time to change a bulletin board to go with the theme you plan to begin tomorrow. Just as you tear down the last piece of the bulletin board, a parent drops by for an impromptu conference. Before you know it, twenty minutes have ticked by and the bulletin board is still bare. You dash to the office to get paper for the bulletin board and you are intercepted by the principal who asks how you like the new reading series. By the time you get back to your room, you are left with 14 minutes to complete the bulletin board. You decide it's better to leave it blank than to put up just a portion of it. You tidy up your desk and head out the door frustrated that unexpected interruptions stopped you from completing a simple task! Now what?

  1. You can go to school extra early and finish it prior to the before-school faculty meeting.
  2. You can put up the bulletin board heading before school tomorrow morning and add to it throughout the day, finishing it up after school.
  3. You can postpone the job until after school tomorrow.

All three of these options are possibilities---why not choose the one that is least stressful?

In a perfect world, there would be no interruptions and tasks would always be completed in the allotted times. Reality is that our world is far from perfect. Every teacher knows that the job of being a teacher is fraught with unexpected happenings and constant interruptions. That's why it's especially important for us to learn to adapt, manage and cope with stress---it is essential to our health, happiness and sense of well-being. We can't eliminate stress---we can learn techniques to effectively manage stress. Stress is an inherent part of life for everyone!

What is stress?

Stress does not happen to us---it is something we talk ourselves into. Our stress levels depend on our reactions to events in our lives. We can choose to let people and situations get us angry and upset or we can choose to let it go. We can react in such a way that we do not feel upset by the inevitable stressors that are part of daily life. For example:

At the airport, when a flight is cancelled some passengers rant and rave.
Others react by figuring out other travel options.

In a traffic jam, some drivers furiously blow horns and yell.
Others accept the fact that they are stuck in traffic, listen to the radio, sit back and relax and hope traffic starts moving soon.

Before school starts, teachers forewarn you that you will have students with behavior problems and difficult parents. Some teachers get upset and anticipate having a bad year.
Others choose to assess students and parents for themselves and then do the best job they can.

At a faculty meeting, the principal announces a new requirement of teachers. Some teachers are upset and agonize over how much more work they will have to do.
Other teachers ask themselves what they are already doing that may meet the new requirements. If extra work is required they make time for it by eliminating something that is less important.

Parents suggest how you should be managing your classroom. Some teachers feel stressed and defensive. They rationalize and make lengthy explanations hoping to gain approval from parents. Others listen to the parents' comments while continuing to feel confident about their teaching styles. They thank parents for sharing their ideas and opinions.

Changing the Ways We Think

Life is difficult for perfectionists in our less-than-perfect world. Try your best to let go of perfectionism and strive to be more flexible. If the new learning center isn't "picture perfect," no one will know except you. Your students will like it and that's what really counts. Relax your standards a bit.

Focus less on pleasing others and focus more on pleasing yourself. If other teachers on grade level donate a month of their summer break time to work in their classrooms, that doesn't mean you have to do so. Resist pressure and spend your unpaid days as you wish. During the first week of school involve students in some of the set-up tasks. This builds team spirit and gives children a sense of classroom ownership.

Negativity is contagious! Stay clear of the grouchy complainers and worriers who focus on one negative thing after another.

Surround yourself with upbeat people who are flexible and fun to be around. Energized, enthusiastic teachers know how to handle stress and their classrooms are happy places for children to learn.

Changing the Ways We Work

Organizing your desk and your workspace will make work days less stressful. When you work smart and are organized, there are fewer frustrations at school. Consider taking a course to learn ways to work smarter, not harder. We offer a course that gets rave reviews from K-6 teachers.

Changing the Ways We Communicate

Learning to communicate our feelings honestly is a sure way to avoid bottled up feelings of anger and frustration. Learn assertive communication skills so you can express your feelings and needs in polite, yet powerful ways.

Being able to say no and mean it is one way to reduce stress. At most schools, the same teachers always take on extra responsibilities and assignments. Others seem to fade into the woodwork and avoid participation in extra duties. Give yourself a year off from participating on committees. When asked to take on an extra responsibility say, "No thank you, I've been the PTA representative for two years. Someone else needs to take a turn this year." No matter how you are flattered, coaxed and begged to do it for one more year, stick to your refusal and let someone else do their fair share.

Don't let people and situations put you under pressure. When a parent asks an unexpected question at a conference, tell them:

  • You need time to think about it and you will get back to them.
  • You need to research the answer and will get back to them.

Jot yourself a reminder note so you are sure to follow up on issues and questions.

Establish some emotional distance from your work. Teaching is a profession with work that never ends---there is always more you can do. It can easily take over your life, if you let that happen. Give yourself permission to work reasonable hours and have some time for your friends, family and yourself. When you treat yourself well, you will have more energy and enthusiasm for your job and for life in general.

Ten Simple Ways Everyone Can Reduce Stress

  1. Get up 15 minutes earlier so mornings are less hectic.
  2. Avoid over-scheduling yourself so you have a realistic, calm day instead of a frantic day with an impossible schedule.
  3. Learn to say "No" to projects, committees and social activities you don't have time, energy or interest in doing.
  4. Do a project you are dreading first thing in the morning. Get it behind you so you can enjoy the day!
  5. Learn to delegate responsibilities to others.
  6. Surround yourself with positive, upbeat friends and colleagues. People who constantly worry and complain manipulate others into negativity.
  7. Make sure to get a good night's sleep!
  8. Relax and enjoy a change of pace on weekends. Do some things you truly enjoy. Make time for fun, family and friends.
  9. Forget about multi-tasking and focus on one thing at a time. Complete one task before moving on to the next one.
  10. Focus on today instead of worrying about tomorrow.

When will the stress be out of your life?

Probably never…how you choose to handle stress is what makes the difference. Stress is part of life---there is no way to eliminate it. Choose to cope with stress in ways that are positive. You'll be happy you did!

100 % Practical Ways to Save Time and Work.

Take a moment to look at the course outline at At a glance, you'll see why it's our most popular course.

Barbara Gruber & Sue Gruber
Barbara Gruber Online Courses for K-6 Teachers

Copyright 2002: Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers

Gazette Articles by Barbara Gruber & Sue Gruber:

Browse through the latest posts from the Upper Elementary Chatboard...