Spring is approaching and conversations about mental health, well-being, and how to manage it in the upcoming months, are taking now priority. Despite the great weather and the school breaks, spring is actually the season associated with the highest rates of depression, anxiety, and stress.
According to Anna Dabrowski of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), teachers were already in danger of burnout prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic worsened educators’ mental health as they started experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, isolation and uncertainty. Even as the world moves back to normal, teachers continue to share their desire to leave the profession due to stress, disrespect, and unmanageable workload and the education system is experiencing staff shortages.
School leaders need to recognise and dedicate effort to support teacher wellbeing to ensure school staff are operating at the best of their abilities, so they can deliver quality education and support and safeguard students effectively.
Here are our top 5 ways to support teacher mental health and wellbeing this spring
- Ensure teachers receive the training they need. During lockdown, the majority of teachers started leading their online lessons unprepared and without the necessary technological skills. Now, with students back in the classroom, some teachers still need to lead part of their lessons online and teach the rest of their classes in-person which makes their job even more difficult to manage. Providing educators with training for new technologies and other new skills they need will decrease their levels of anxiety and uncertainty when balancing their teaching responsibilities.
- Promote better work/life balance. Teachers have been overwhelmed and their workload might not always be manageable. Schools need to make sure teachers have a clear set of priorities and that administrative work does not take up all of their time between classes. Furthermore, school leaders should promote a healthy work/life balance and serve as an example of such. Monthly gatherings and occasional treats for staff are a good start, however, providing some flexibility in the working hours and in managing personal demands for teachers might be most beneficial.
- Ensure teachers work in a supportive, friendly environment. Teachers who experience anxiety and stress will not perform well and this will affect student success. Being a teacher is a very social job and schools should seek to create a friendly, open environment. Schools can encourage good relationships with colleagues and teacher wellbeing can be done by scheduling weekly or monthly staff meetings that are not work-related. Also, encourage teachers to collaborate, share ideas, and support each other.
- Encourage teachers to be open about the challenges they are facing. Open and constant communication is key to ensuring all staff members have a safe space to share the challenges they face. This can increase collaboration and trust between teachers,making it easier for them to overcome their troubles and find better solutions.
- Support teachers with the right software. Teachers need an easy, reliable tool that can help them with the increased amount of workload and support them in safeguarding students effectively. Impero Classroom is our fully cloud-based classroom management software that is designed by teachers, for teachers. Our solution supports teachers during classes by allowing them to see their students’ screens, limit distractions by blocking and allowing certain websites, and having complete control over the lesson. Learn more about how Classroom can help and support teachers by booking a demo here.
If you see a colleague struggling with their mental health, reach out to them or refer them to a professional. Find a few good resources for supporting your colleagues here:
- Mental health resources by Mental Health First Aid.
- Supporting staff at the workplace.
- Contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for the US and , dial 116 123 for the UK.