The Wellbeing of Teachers is in crisis

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More and more research continues to show that teachers are struggling. We are tired of the meetings, tired of the paperwork and tired of the accountability measures that take time away from planning engaging lessons. Whether this be beginning teachers, experienced teachers or school executive, we are in crisis.

As  a teacher and speaking to teachers across Australia, teaching has changed. People who I know are outstanding teachers are on stress leave because they have been depleted of their own inner resources. Pre-service teachers who I send on prac come back with stories of teachers falling a sleep in class, disengaged and cranky. This is not a criticism of teachers but an indication that good teachers are simply giving up.

The research is clear, teacher wellbeing is in crisis – see the statistics for yourself

So, now what?

Crisis is an opportunity for change, an opportunity to do it differently, an opportunity to stop doing what we have always done and practice new habits and routines. This means the once-a-year school BBQ is out, and weekly mindfulness in staff meetings is in. It means the one-hour staff training in wellbeing is out and coaching and mentoring is in. It means supporting staff on an individual level, faculty level and whole school level. It means using evidence to inform decisions and being just as strategic with teacher wellbeing as we are with students wellbeing. It means developing scope and sequences, reflecting on what is working and giving people both the time and skills to make lasting, positive change.

To put this another way, we know we don’t improve fitness by going to the gym once and then reading a book about it. We have to actually form new habits, no matter how small, and repeat them often. We may need a trainer to help us get started, we may need people around us to make it fun and we need to acknowledge there will be good days and bad days. The same goes for wellbeing of our teachers. We need policies and procedures that encourage new habits, that support new routines and allow for people to have new connections and conversations that promote a culture of support, strength and recognition. We are too hard on ourselves and too hard on each other.

Its time to turn crisis into an opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniela Falecki

Director of Teacher Wellbeing

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