I recently watched a TEDtalk about supporting the emotional well-being of teachers. The speaker began by discussing links and said we are all connected to each other. The issue, however, is that because of that connection teachers suffer from second-hand trauma meaning that teachers take on the trauma of their students. Teachers often have a hundred students or more a year and take on the trauma of each and every one of them – homelessness, a dying parent, an incarcerated parent, or an undocumented parent who is deported are just a few examples given in the TEDtalk by Sydney Jenson. This is all on top of education being one of the most stressful jobs because “61 percent of educators find work “always” or “often” stressful (source).
Supporting teachers is critical but it doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be quite simple. Write a thank you card for the teacher down the hall. Check on a teacher daily whom you know is going through a difficult situation or has a student going through a difficult situation. Create a weekly five-minute check-in with the teacher next door to quickly share one high and one low from the week. Say hello. A smile goes a long way when someone is struggling. Basically, be kind.
Also, remember to take care of yourself. Teachers cannot be all things to all people. Life is a seesaw. Sometimes we can lift people up and other times we are the ones needing a lift so take steps to ensure your own mental well-being. See a therapist when needed. Take a thirty-minute walk in the evenings to clear your head or take a walk break with a coworker to let off some steam.
The important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Teachers make a difference together and together is a beautiful place to be.
Interested in learning more? Check out the websites below for great information.
- How Can We Support the Emotional Well-being of Teachers
- We Need to do More for Teachers Who Are Exhausted, Stressed Out and Burned Out
All sourced information is hyperlinked as applicable above.