Caring For The Wellbeing Of Teachers And School Staff

Find out why and how you can help improve the emotional wellbeing of your staff and teachers to help deliver better support to the pupils in your care

Caring For The Wellbeing Of Teachers And School Staff

When you’re caring for the emotional wellbeing of others, it easy to forget your own. But to fully support the pupils in your care, you need to make sure your own staff are cared for too.

The high demands on teachers have been shown to result in stress among teachers.

Therefore, addressing the wellbeing of teachers is a vital step to addressing the wellbeing of pupils because engaged, cared for teachers are better able to care for pupils.

The causes of stress among teachers

There are a whole host of factors which can cause stress at work, including:

  • Emotional demands of the job
  • Physical demands of the job
  • Parents’ behaviour
  • Excessive workload
  • Workplace bullying
  • School environment (air quality, lighting, state of classrooms, staff rooms)
  • Lack of professional learning opportunities
  • Low morale
  • Excessive change
  • Culture of blame
  • Teachers striving for perfection
  • Poor communication

How to support wellbeing in your school

In teaching, there are many things out of your control such as targets and inspections dictated by education authorities. But there are also many things you can control, so it’s best to focus your efforts on areas such as:

  • workload efficiency
  • autonomy
  • opportunities for professional learning
  • addressing professional isolation
  • rewarding achievement at work

How you address these is down to you and will depend on various factors, some of which will be unique to your school.

However, the following 2-stage process should provide you with a great framework to start addressing the wellbeing of teachers in your school.

1. Nurture Resilience

Start by creating an environment where staff feel able to seek help from one another. You can do this by encouraging them to form groups or pair up with a buddy.

This can help create a mutual support network where staff can influence outcomes positively and work towards solutions as a tea.

Another key factor in this step is training. Make sure you offer staff at every level continuing professional development (CPD) - it’s been proven in many studies to increase job satisfaction and contribute to wellbeing and resilience.

2. Address Stress

Once you’ve identified sources of stress in your staff, there are many ways to address them. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Work-life balance - make sure the day isn’t only dominated by work and ensure your staff have time off for eating and can fence off set times in the day for their families. This way, the burden of the workload can be broken up and make it more achievable.
  • Tackle the environment - make sure you have a good environment for your teams to work in. Simple things like essential repairs, tidying and de-cluttering are easy and affordable changes to make to do and can enhance the workplace to help reduce stress.
  • Discourage perfectionism - nobody’s perfect, but the desire to be can be overwhelming. So make sure you encourage your staff to be the best they can be, but don’t put unrealistic demands on them - these can offer spill over into their personal lives too and are a major contributor to stress and anxiety.
  • Focus on happiness - rewarding achievements, sharing success and encouraging your staff to spend time in reflection whether it’s prayer, meditation or contemplation have all been shown to improve happiness. So look to encourage these practices and consider running classes for your staff to help promote them.

Book our Staff Resilience in School Training

A bespoke, 1 day course suitable for all school staff. Find out how to build resilience in yourself and others; and how resilient systems can help young people. 

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