COVID-19 has been challenging for educators, students, and schools not only in terms of academics, but also in terms of managing emotional wellbeing and positive mental health. Teachers in particular have had to juggle significantly increased stresses both professionally and personally––ensuring their students receive the academic and emotional support they need, while simultaneously managing their own families’ needs.
This has resulted in many educators forgoing nurturing their own wellbeing but supporting teacher mental health may be the key to improving the wellbeing of the entire school community. Emerging evidence indicates that promoting teacher well-being and mental health reduces stress and anxiety. By addressing their own social emotional wellness first, teachers are more successful in impacting the social emotional wellness of their students, changing school cultures for the better.
With this evidence in mind, here are five reasons to invest in teachers’ social emotional wellness by using a social emotional learning (SEL) program with teachers:
- Using an SEL program with teachers before they teach it to students helps teachers build a mental framework of the SEL curriculum, enabling them to employ it in their teaching and lives. This helps teachers better deliver the curriculum, modeling the social and emotional mindsets they want students to learn while helping students build their own mindsets.
- Teachers gain confidence in their ability to be more effective after completing an SEL program. As teachers grow more confident in their abilities, they are less likely to experience feelings of burnout or thoughts of leaving the profession.
- Investing in teacher wellbeing first helps develop a common language and mindsets across a district. Teachers can use their social emotional knowledge and language to communicate to students on a daily basis, creating a foundation for students when they begin the SEL program and further solidifying their understanding of the curriculum as they learn it.
- Schools are the heartbeat of many communities, particularly those in rural districts. Using an SEL program with teachers and students helps to change how schools approach mental health and wellbeing, leading to new mindsets in the community as a whole. SEL programs help produce good, empathetic citizens, which can lead to big changes in a community.
- Teachers are often wired to think about their students first and focus a lot of energy on addressing their students’ needs. By investing in teacher wellbeing, school communities create a culture where teachers are able to recognize their own vulnerabilities and take the space necessary to attend to their own needs.
The research is clear in its recommendation that investing in teacher SEL is necessary in order to maximize effectiveness for teachers, students, and school culture. The 7 Mindsets SEL program nurtures the mindsets of both students and educators, helping them develop attitudes and perspectives that positively influence thoughts, feelings, and actions.
7 Mindsets is anchored on a leadership development and coaching process to promote healthy school environments, analyzing school culture and climate needs to inform professional development and instruction plans. By utilizing the 7 Mindsets program, schools invest in teacher wellbeing by fortifying the social and emotional competence of their teachers and staff. This is the foundation for creating a positive school culture rooted in relationships that models social, emotional, and cultural competence throughout the entire school community.
To learn more about investing in teacher wellbeing with an SEL program, read the white paper: Investing in Educators’ Social Emotional Wellness Fosters Student Success and Improves School Culture.