I do a fair bit of reading about Teacher Stress. It’s not chiefly because I want to complain or even advocate on behalf of any particular Teacher that I know. It really isn’t even so I can “see I told you so” to anyone who might want to throw rocks at the apparent holidays or 3.30pm daily knock-off (yeah right!). All worthwhile work is taxing.
I look into Teacher Stress studies and evidence because they tell us a huge amount about the health of our systems – both independent and government. Teacher Stress indicators let us know where the areas of strain and breaking point are and what supports we should provide in order to mitigate risk against the broader system completely collapsing.
In one such study, they tracked the times of the year when Teacher Stress is at its best and worst. And it seems that right now, we’re in the bad times. For a variety of reasons including NAPLAN/exams, the commencement of report writing and even the onset of colder weather in most parts of Australia – May is when we’re at our collective lowest.
And while there are Principals out there who intuitively notice this and throw on a special morning tea or a couple of free Friday arvo drinks, this good intention falls short of improving collective morale. But don’t blame the Prin for that.
We are the ones with the greatest opportunity to improve morale and to outsource this to a school leader is ineffective. We are the ones, through small and repeated actions, who have the power to improve morale most. This reminded me of a sporting locker sign I saw recently which sums up the approach to both destroying and building morale.
This May – come together, look after each other and talk about winning. For a start, it just feels better than focusing on problems. In May, you need and deserve a few wins – which taste better than the no-name sausage rolls that your Prin shelled out for anyway!
Free WEBINAR – The Truth About Bullying
Programs are useful for compartmentalising. You can, for instance, teach robotics on a Wednesday afternoon to decent effect. But bullying is not a compartment of our students’ educative experience. It’s everywhere – it’s cultural!
So it stands to reason that no compartmentalised program will ever achieve more than a ‘sugar hit’ when it comes to feeling better and safer at school. So what do we do?
In this webinar, we’ll unpack for you:
- the imperative for whole-school approach over program when it comes to bullying.
- the whole-school approaches that have worked globally.
- the behaviours and artefacts evident in schools where bullying is low.
- the immediate changes that Teachers and Leaders can make for drastically improved “return on investment”.
- the proven benefits of shifting model, language and practice to something more effective and less stressful.