Teaching in a pressure cooker

Posted: 21 February, 2019

By: Marieta du Toit

Section: Education

Pressure cooker

In this beautiful country we love to call home, we too often see the destructive consequences of prolonged stress and bottled up emotions:

  • High frustration levels
  • Anxiety
  • Passive-aggressive behaviour
  • Violence

It saddens me to realize that our schools have also fallen prey to this emerging epidemic. Anger outbursts from educators, learners and parents are becoming more prevalent. We desperately need to address this cry for help before the pressure cooker’s lid blows off yet again.

Approaching an epidemic by focusing on the symptoms and outcomes, might have some advantages, but the effect thereof is often short-lived. To successfully fight (excuse the pun) an epidemic, the main focus should be to determine the cause of the problem: address the reason behind the behaviour.

What sets our methodology apart from the rest, is our bottom-up approach to behaviour. Research has shown that your innate threshold for input from your environment plays a critical role in how you react to the world. In order to self-regulate:

  • Individuals with HIGH thresholds for sensory input needs MORE stimulation and input from their environment: louder, brighter, faster, etc.
  • Individuals with MEDIUM thresholds for sensory input can mostly cope with their environments.
  • Individuals with LOW thresholds for sensory input needs LESS stimulation and input from their environment: softer, dimmed, slower, etc.

The reality is that we live in a world that is already overloaded with sensory experiences, whether we can handle it or not. When we do reach our thresholds’ limits, our bodies react by going into FLIGHT/FRIGHT/FIGHT mode. This happens on a subconscious level:



  • You remove yourself from a particular situation
  • Escape behaviour
  • Become distractible
  • Become bored


  • Become reluctant to try new experiences
  • You withdraw/hide
  • Become fearful
  • Crying, clinging, “I can’t”


  • Become frustrated and aggressive with outbursts
  • Acting out
  • Resistance
  • “I won’t, NO”

At Sensory Intelligence® Consulting we guide individuals towards self-discovery and self-awareness. We explore and determine specific strategies to manage overload and stress, catered to each individual’s unique sensory assess, before an overload becomes externalized as behaviour. Our target group includes (but is not limited to):

  • Educators
  • Learners
  • Parents

By knowing yourself better you can reduce stress and live a healthier, happier, calmer life.

By getting to know your colleagues/learners/parents better, early warning signs of potential overload can be identified and a flight/fright/fight reaction can be prevented. Team cohesion and relationships can improve and our beautiful country can be a hopeful rainbow nation again.

Let’s turn down the heat,                                                                     
                                    reduce the stress of education and                                             
                                                                                    replace it with some insight and understanding!

Do your Sensory Matrix™ and discover sensory strategies to reduce stress and help you cope best.

Who has benefited

Sensory Quiz™
Sensory Matrix™
Senses on Call™
Social media
Sensory Intelligence®