The past two years have put more pressure on teachers than ever before, and educators have experienced so much––both personally and professionally. Teachers have been asked to take on expanded responsibilities during remote and hybrid learning, including creating curriculum, managing multiple classes, and supporting their students emotionally and academically. All these factors combined have had a negative impact on teacher wellbeing.
As administrators, it’s critical to find ways to acknowledge teachers’ struggles, celebrate teachers’ successes, and support them through it all. It all starts with self-awareness, meaning that teachers need to focus on their social emotional learning (SEL) before they can put their energy into supporting others. Administrators have a key role in supporting SEL for teachers and doing so can have a positive effect on teacher wellbeing.
Here are five ways administrators can support SEL for teachers:
- Hold Check-ins with Teachers
The 7 Mindsets SEL curriculum can help administrators develop formalized structures to check in with teachers, including beginning-of-the-year teacher surveys. These surveys can help identify and gauge different factors that affect teacher wellbeing, such as levels of trust within your organization, relationships among stakeholders, and teachers’ perceptions of their own capabilities.
- Provide Safe Spaces for Discussion
A big part of SEL for teachers is having spaces where they can express themselves without fear of being judged. In meetings, create space for teachers to lead conversations about how various factors are affecting them professionally and personally, both of which can have a substantial impact on their wellbeing.
- Practice Mindful Leadership
As an administrator, it’s important to connect with and listen to teachers, not only in terms of their academic and professional needs, but also their social and emotional needs. Getting to know your teachers on a more personal level makes it easier to identify the best thing you can do to support them, even if teachers aren’t sure what they need. The goal should be making sure everyone made it to work okay and that they’re in good spirits and ready to tackle the day.
- Empower Teachers to Set Boundaries
Administrators should encourage teachers to set boundaries for how long they will work each day and how much work they will bring home. To be their best selves at school, teachers also need to take care of themselves and their families at home. Empowering teachers to set work boundaries gives them the space they need to focus on their personal needs.
- Provide Professional Development on Self-Care
In supporting SEL for teachers, it’s important to provide professional development on adult self-care and recognizing when this needs to happen. Showing teachers support and helping them understand that it’s okay to feel the way they do when they’re stressed or frustrated is critical to teacher wellbeing. Professional development can be a great tool to provide coping mechanisms to use when those feelings and challenges arise.
As administrators, it’s easy to forget about your own needs while supporting the needs of your teachers and staff. Scheduling certain times throughout the week to protect your personal wellbeing and communicating these needs to teachers and staff helps create important space for your social emotional needs while modeling self-care to your school community.
Read more about supporting SEL for teachers in the SmartBrief article: 5 ways administrators can support teacher well-being
This article originally appeared on the SmartBrief website.