WASHINGTON – Across America we’re seeing many school employees can’t handle the pressure of accountability so they’re cheating on standardized tests for students. Or they’re outright refusing to administer the tests altogether. We’re also seeing collective freak out sessions over any sort of weapon, including guns made out of paper or Legos. The psyche of the American education system is in near-meltdown mode.

So the solutions offered give us a glimpse into how the problems are likely to get worse before they get better.

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Anthony Cody of Ed Week offers some solutions to cope with the stress:

  • Start leaving encouraging notes for other teachers in their boxes anonymously. include messages that focus on the teachers’ effort such as “you worked hard to plan that great math lesson yesterday.” Hopefully it will catch on as a trend and will continue to build moral and be something unexpected. Even statements such as “you are appreciated,” can go a long way.
  • Do something to get the emotions out in a shared way such as painting or drawing together. Clay is another good medium for this too.
  • Have a bubble wrap popping fest, use each bubble to get out a new frustration- having sensory things really helps with releasing especially when in the presence of others
  • Do something in school that is fun. For example, go to the gym and do a 3-legged race, that will association more positive memories and re-create joy within the work environment
  • Try to find a quiet space (even possibly in a janitor’s closet or the staff bathroom) where you can keep a container of sand (or rice if you are worried about it spilling) to run your hands through, this creates a soothing sensation kind of like a zen garden and is easy to access if you need a quick break
  • For me, my greatest source of encouragement has always been the communities of people I find myself in. I seek them out, and work to strengthen them.


Somehow, it’s hard to understand how having a “bubble wrap popping fest” or running one’s fingers through sand in the janitor’s closet is going to help American students better compete educationally with the Chinese, or even Icelanders, for that matter.

If these are the best solutions, we’re doomed.