Teacher Wellbeing

I created this page as a result of reading many comments by teachers who were struggling with the demands of the education profession. My main advice would be to talk with someone you trust, whether that is a colleague, friend, family member, or health professional. I hope this collection of resources help.

Inspiration- connect with your purpose

“We’re educators. We’re born to make a difference.” Rita Pierson

 

Advice from experts

Tips for teacher wellbeing 

  1. Reconnect to your purpose
  2. Adopt a growth mindset in your teaching
  3. Focus on kindness and gratitude
  4. Create clear boundaries between home and school
  5. Set up effective debriefing and mentoring structures
  6. Establish good sleeping habits
  7. Build up your emotional resilience
  8. Keep focused on your goals
  9. Reward yourself
  10. Build new connections and relationships
    How to implement the above tips: https://schools.au.reachout.com/articles/tips-for-teacher-wellbeing

Advice for reducing stress and helping colleagues under pressure:

  • Practise mindfulness
  • Identify what’s making you stressed: Write a list detailing all the things that are causing you stress right now. Divide your list into two columns: things you can control and things you can’t. Now focus on finding solutions for the things you can control.
  • Don’t get bogged down by the small stuff: don’t forget the joy of teaching. Try to take one day at a time. Remember that many things will happen in the classroom that are out of your control and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Talk about stress with colleagues:
  • Begin your day calmly: eg. Sit for two minutes before your pupils arrive in the morning and play some relaxation music. Take full deep breaths.
  • Set realistic targets
  • Prioritise: Make a list of the things that are important to you and decide when you are going to give them some time.
  • Say no: Tell people firmly and politely that you won’t have time or be able to do something at work.
  • Take a step back: Remember, you may enjoy it, but school is work. If you keep on putting that extra effort in, you will start to resent it, and so will the people around you.
    More information: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/nov/06/teachers-beat-stress-10-ideas

Advice from Glasgow’s (2016) book Teach, love, life: From stress to success.
1. sleep – get at least 8 hours a night
2. exercise – and eat regular meals. 60 minutes of exercise (i.e.
walking) three times a week is enough to release stress
3. share – lesson plans, marking, and reporting with other teachers.
And, delegate at least one household chore to another family
member
4. make time for relaxation, hobbies, and meditation (p. 31).
Click here for more…

Teacher Mindfulness 

What is mindfulness?
“the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” Definition by Jon Kabat-Zinn. 
https://www.mindfulschools.org/foundational-concepts/what-is-mindfulness/

Benefits of mindfulness include: 

  • reductions in stress, burnout and anxiety
  • better mental health including less distress, negative emotion, depression and
    anxiety.
  • greater wellbeing
  • increased kindness and compassion to others
  • better physical health
  • increased cognitive performance, including the ability to pay attention and focus, make decisions and respond flexibly to challenges.
  • enhanced job performance

Reference and full list of benefits: https://mindfulnessinschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Evidence-for-Mindfulness-Impact-on-school-staff.pdf

Guided Meditationshttps://www.smilingmind.com.au/ 

Excellent book on mindfulness, written by a teacher: 
“Teach, Breathe, Learn” by Meena Srinivasan.
I highly recommend buying and reading this book. I try to avoid sharing/promoting resources which you have to pay for, but this book is worth it.

Practice being ‘aware’. Will you react or respond? between.png

  1. Notice our body response / scan the body
  2. Notice our thoughts: Are they helpful?
  3. Stop
  4. Attention to breath

Reference: Jan Carey, Director & Facilitator, The Mindful Classroom

Smiling Mind Meditation Example

Mindful exercise: Yoga or Tai Chi. See video for an 8-minute Tai Chi for beginners.

 

Impact of mindfulness:

Mindfulness teacher courses in South Australia:
http://www.themindfulclassroom.com.au/

Click here for resources which support teachers to integrate mindfulness into classroom practice

 

Empathy- connecting with colleagues 

c_0C1Mwf.jpgReference: https://www.good.is/articles/support-and-positivity

 

Dr Brené Brown

 

 

My Suggestions

In addition to the recommendations from experts, here are some practical things you could do, to support your (and your students’) well-being.

  • Talk with a trusted colleague or your line manager
  • Start each day with an inspirational or funny quote on the board.
  • Have ‘brain breaks‘ throughout the day with your class, for example: dances or yoga on www.gonoodle.com; Simon Says; Silent Ball.
  • Integrate mindfulness into your daily routine. Examples include:
    • Start each lesson with a breathing exercise that you do with your students, eg. ‘five finger breathing’ or ‘take 5 breathing’.
    • After lunch, have ‘relaxation time’. This is a silent time for transitioning from lunch time to learning time. Put on relaxing music from YouTube. During this 10-15 minutes, students (and the teacher): write 3 things they are grateful for today in their gratitude journal; write a note to put in a peer’s bucket (the teacher also has a bucket) and this note needs to be specific and kind, acknowledging their peers’ success or showing gratitude; students can then read or draw.
    • Smiling Mind meditations at a time that suits you, such as after morning break twice a week. I recommend putting it in your timetable.
    • Put a small picture near the entrance/exit door in your classroom. This should be a picture you find calming, eg. the ocean. Every time you pass it, take a deep breath and/or practise being ‘aware’ as described in the below teacher mindfulness section.teach breathe learn
  • Make a list of 3 things you are going to do to support your well-being.
  • Buy this book: “Teach, Breathe, Learn” by Meena Srinivasan. I try to avoid sharing/promoting resources which you have to pay for, but this book is worth it.

Ideas for developing pedagogical skills and knowledge, so you are able to manage the demands of teaching. 

  • Find a mentor at your school
  • Observe teachers at your school with outstanding pedagogical practice.
  • Organise for teachers/leadership to observe your teaching and get feedback
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues
  • Discuss with colleagues how they plan and manage their time
  • Participate in professional development courses
  • Have realistic expectations- you can’t do everything, for every student, all the time.
  • Look at these (mostly free) resources, so you don’t ‘reinvent the wheel’, by creating all your own resources… I may have done this in my first years of teaching. This is the resource list I wish someone had given me. Click here to view. 

Funny Videos and Pictures 

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Quotes…

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1 malala

1 success not seen

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book pic
Picture shows a page from the book “Notes on a Nervous Planet” by Matt Haig                       ***Note: I’ve edited out a sentence.

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