Teaching is the best job in the world. Watching your students grow and blossom is the reward for hours of prep, marking, and meetings. The sad thing is that the “juice” is often squeezed out of teachers and teaching. The pressure of targets, exams, duties dilutes the magic that is the very nature of a great teacher.
The stress on teachers is obvious and easily recognized. A stressed teacher will be more likely easily agitated, less tolerant, quick to judge, and of course, feel fatigued and run down. They will often be rushing or at least feel rushed inside. Not only their body is stressed, but their mind will also be full and turbulent too.
According to the Health and Safety institution, teaching is among the top five occupations affected by work-related stress, with 70% of teachers saying their health has suffered because of their job. “Depression, anxiety and burnout have become the teacher’s diseases…”
Unlike many other professions, teachers are constantly exposed to emotionally provocative situations and have limited options for self-regulation. This is enormously draining, emotionally and mentally.
Quality teaching is the result of having an underlying structure that supports both the learner and the teacher. If the structure does not allow space to breathe, we suffocate. Well-being for teachers is not a luxury. And it should not be seen as something extra. Well-being in schools is fundamental for healthy, constructive, and productive quality teaching and learning. Both students and teachers need to be SUPPORTED, fit and well to be inspired and inspiring.
How can a school support staff? Well, the school should be non-judgemental towards all, teachers should be encouraged to be reflective in their approach to others, the positive staff well-being such as wellness programme or a social and emotional learning programme for teachers and last, but not least, the support from the senior leadership team.