I’m concerned about the wellbeing of teachers. The fact that we, Learners Edge, have a course category called Educator Wellness indicates that my worry is valid. The fact that we need to encourage teachers to learn about happiness, resilience and recharging tells me many teachers are sad, burned out and tired. I’ve read articles lately questioning whether teacher burnout or demoralization is the reason for good teachers leaving the profession. Or maybe it’s secondary traumatic stress. There are numerous reasons teachers are struggling with wellbeing, but regardless of the reason, I’m concerned.
Sydney Jensen shares my concern. Take a look at her TED Masterclass Talk: How Can We Support the Emotional Well-Being of Teachers?
So, what is the solution? How do we help each other “hold the stapler”? Here are a few methods we can use to support the emotional well-being of our colleagues and teacher friends.
- Learn about secondary trauma and compassion fatigue together. Talk about these issues, realize the impact, and problem solve with your colleagues about how to overcome them together.
- Make space for conversations that matter. Talk about what is going well and what is really challenging. Encourage discussions about emotions and how teachers are feeling about the things they cannot change or control for students. And then…LISTEN to each other! Really listen.
- Work together to ensure mental and physical wellness opportunities are available at school. Develop a Wellness Wednesday! Bring in yoga instructors, learn about mindfulness together, and encourage healthy lifestyle choices related to eating, moving and sleeping. Students and teachers all benefit this way. Identify community and school-based resources that could be helpful, highlight them, and encourage colleagues to utilize them. Decrease the stigma related to asking for help or using support systems.
- Check in! Ask your colleagues how they are doing. Sometimes all that is needed is someone to listen.
- Send a handwritten note to a colleague! Share your gratitude. Be specific about why you are thanking them. Tell them what they do well. Remind them they are making a difference every day in their work with students. Believe it or not, they will keep these notes, and they will go back and read them on the most challenging days.
Regardless of how you help each other “hold the stapler,” remember that you are all in this amazing, rewarding profession together!
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