A tired or burnt-out educator is not in the best mental state to help students. They are not much more productive than a teacher on sick leave. To prevent problems, leaders should prioritize teacher wellbeing seriously to avoid mental health issues, departures, or worse situations.
A recent study from Education Support showed that the wellbeing of school staff in England is at its lowest level since 2019, scoring 43.44. This score, calculated using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, is significantly lower than the national average of 51.40.
The Index reported that a staggering 78% of all teaching staff are experiencing 'stress'. It noted: "There has been a surge in stress levels across the sector compared to 2022. School teachers have seen a big increase, and more people in the workforce are experiencing insomnia.
While these figures and studies are specific to the UK, it doesn't mean we should disregard them. Mental health is a global concern that we need to address and support. So, what measures can schools feasibly implement to alleviate staff stress?
Establish a supportive culture
Promote wellness by fostering an environment that upholds mental health and balance between work and personal life. Facilitating transparent communication avenues enables educators to voice their worries and ask for help when necessary. Mentorship programs and support systems help teachers share experiences and manage stress, fostering a sense of unity.
Professional development opportunities
Continuing to grow professionally helps teachers become stronger and more confident in the classroom. Provide training for staff to manage stress, build resilience, and improve time management skills to handle career challenges.
Flexible working arrangements
Flexible work options can reduce the stress of balancing work and personal responsibilities. These options include working fewer hours, sharing roles, or working from home. By providing this flexibility, individuals can improve their mental well-being.
Wellbeing initiatives and resources
Encourage all employees to adopt healthy stress management strategies, like participating in mindfulness training, yoga classes, or utilizing mental health support services.
Fair compensation and recognition
It's crucial to guarantee that teachers receive just remuneration for their commitment and effort. Rewards for great work can enhance morale and motivation. But, rewards shouldn't depend on employees going beyond their job duties to be successful.
Achieving balance in educators' workloads is vital for their overall health. It's important for employers to evaluate and simplify administrative duties, allowing teachers to concentrate on their main role. Using time-management techniques and technology can help reduce administrative tasks and improve work-life balance.
Mental health support services
Providing confidential mental health assistance is a forward-thinking approach to tackle the emotional difficulties that educators might encounter. This could encompass therapy services, hotlines, or collaborations with mental health experts. To promote wellness, it's important to create a stigma-free environment that encourages seeking help.
Stress in education has increased due to the pandemic. Fixing it will take time, planning, and money. Teachers retire early due to poor health and unsatisfaction, highlighting the need for standardized procedures to support teachers worldwide.
Naturally, the ultimate objective for every institution is to achieve maximum wellbeing. But, if we can balance work, assign non-teaching tasks, and invest in education, we will have a tough challenge.
To find your next role in education or to hire new staff at your school, get in touch with our experts.