Before the school doors open this September, post this checklist on your refrigerator to remind yourself how to manage stress and keep your teaching batteries charged throughout the year.

A

Attitude

Nothing beats a positive attitude. If you think you'll have a great year, you will.

B

Balance

Equal parts of work and play make for a better day.

C

Calm

Count to ten before you act or speak. Take a slow, deep breath at the first sign of tension.

D

Discipline

Enforcing discipline doesn't mean you're a toughie. It means you care about all kids.

E

Escape

Take a five-minute "mental escape" to an exotic place.

F

Flexibility

Plan, but don't be so rigid that you can't change things if circumstances dictate

G

Grow

Do something to expand your mind or tone your body.

H

Humor

Put something that makes you smile in your plan book or top desk drawer.

I

Inoculate

Protect yourself from "stress carriers" - people who gossip, breeding negativity.

J

Joy

Keep a joy journal by recording at least one good thing that happens every day.

K

Knowledge

Know yourself, the kids you teach, and, most of all, your stress triggers.

L

Listen

Listen to yourself, to your body, and to others.

M

Meditate

Take a few minutes each day for quiet reflection.

N

Neutralize

If you can't change the situation, change how you view or respond to it.

O

Organize

Use a planning calendar to organize your activities.

P

Plan

. . . and have a backup plan for when or if your primary plan doesn't work out.

Q

Question

If you're not sure about school rules, procedures, or practices, ask someone who is.

R

Read

Take time to read for pleasure.

S

Socialize

All work and no play makes for a dull day.

T

Time

Make the most of the time you have. Ask colleagues to share timesaving tips.

U

Utilize

Take advantage of prepared forms and teaching aids, like the ones in Instructor.

V

Voice

Express your opinions. Pent-up thoughts and emotions create stress.

W

Walk

Get up and move. Walk around the playground or the building. Organize a walkers' club.

X

Exercise

Build in at least five minutes of exercise a day. Use stairs whenever possible.

Y

Yoga

Learn or practice relaxation techniques.

Z

ZZZs

Get plenty of rest. Know how much sleep your body needs and give it that much.