The Importance of Teacher Wellbeing
If you are someone that typically finds yourself putting others’ needs before your own, you are likely to have been told by family, friends, or even colleagues to be careful, because “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Whether they used these exact words or another symbolic phrase to remind you to take care of yourself, you likely didn’t give it much thought. If you’re like me, you may have shrugged it off or even responded with “It’s fine. I’m fine.”
Well, the truth is, it’s not fine. If you are in a position in which other people rely on you, especially young people, it is not okay to sacrifice your own wellbeing in hopes to deliver more to others. Although giving up an hour of exercise one day to complete a task, like grading an extra stack of papers, does feel like the best choice at the moment, consistently ignoring your mental and physical health will eventually result in a decrease in the quality of your work and could lead to unhappiness, increased stress, or job dissatisfaction.
While employee wellbeing is important for all industries, it is exceptionally important for teachers.
Ever heard of the phrase “Happy wife, happy life”? Well, it should be “Happy teacher, that’s a keeper” because teacher unhappiness is one of the main drivers behind high teacher turnover around the world, which is currently estimated to average around 50% within the first five years of teaching.
Teacher turnover not only creates more work for school administration due to the hiring and onboarding process, but it also can create discontinuity within a school and cause students to feel abandoned by someone they trust.
In addition to the consequences after a teacher leaves, an overworked, over-stressed, or unhappy teacher can have supremely negative impacts on students and school culture while they are still in the classroom. These teachers are a disservice to student learning because they are likely not teaching to the best of their ability, and a detriment to student wellbeing because they are not fostering a warm and welcoming learning environment.
So what do we do to prevent this situation?
Proactively focus on teacher wellbeing
What is it teacher wellbeing?
As defined by Acton and Glasgow (2015), teacher wellbeing is “an individual sense of personal professional fulfilment, satisfaction, purposefulness and happiness, constructed in a collaborative process with colleagues and students.” Put in other words, teacher wellbeing is ensuring teachers feel happy, purposeful, and respected by students and coworkers.
How do we determine it?
Research suggests that teacher wellbeing is predicted by teachers’ social relationships in the workplace (to students, other teachers, and administration), the nature of their performance evaluations, their attitude toward their role in the workplace, and their ability to minimalize and manage stress.
Why does it matter?
Teacher wellbeing is directly related to teacher mood, student-teacher relationships, and teacher work ethic. While it cannot be evaluated exclusively, teachers with greater wellbeing are more likely to have positive relationships with their students and have a greater percentage of students achieve their course’s learning intentions.
More importantly, happy teachers are a key element of the Student Wellbeing Framework. Without invested and caring teachers, students will are unable to receive the support they need to reach their maximum learning potential.
How Leaders of Evolution Supports Teacher Wellbeing
At Leaders of Evolution, we fully recognize the role teacher wellbeing plays in student education and do our best to assist the facilitators of our online e-learning courses every step of the way.
We pride ourselves in supporting teacher wellbeing in the following three ways.
1. We create lesson materials
Every moment of a teacher’s day is sacred, so at Leaders of Evolution, we do anything we can to make to respect that. To do this, we provide all materials necessary to incorporate our online e-learning programs into an existing curriculum. From detailed lesson plans to a complete student guidebook, facilitators will not need to dedicate any time to the creation of materials.
2. We plan with facilitators
The relationship between teachers and Leaders of Evolution does not stop once materials are delivered but continues for the duration of the program. To start, facilitators are given access to their own online e-learning course, the Teacher Intro, to gain a better understanding of what to expect from the course and our staff along the way.
This course includes helpful tips for using the resources provided and qualifies for professional learning hours. Our goal is for teachers to find our online e-learning courses easy to implement and a joy to facilitate.
4. Our lessons foster positive student-teacher relationships
All Leaders of Evolution lessons are created to directly relate to the current and future lives of students. When students find content relevant to their lives (skills for the workplace, sports skills, or leadership skills) they are naturally more engaged in activities. This engagement can lead to deeper class discussions and a feeling of connectedness to all those involved, including the teacher.
In addition, lesson topics are in direct support of the Student Wellbeing Framework. While students are building leadership and sport skills, they are gaining a better sense of self-awareness and becoming more resilient. These skills strengthen student mental health and ultimately their overall wellbeing.
Just as a teacher’s mood and tone can be read and felt by students, teachers can also take on the feelings of their students. This mutually dependent relationship can be positively enhanced while completing one of our online e-learning courses.
In summary, teacher wellbeing is essential for maximizing student success inside and outside the classroom and building a school culture that positively impacts all stakeholders. Without a doubt, it should become a priority for school systems around the world.
For more resources to support the wellbeing of teachers at your school, click here to check out our 21+ free Tools, Templates and resources.
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Leaders of Evolution are passionate about education. We expertly design and deliver technology enhanced e-learning courses focused on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches and the wider community.