Why does teacher well-being matter?
Posted by Karabo Kgophane on 15 October 2021 2:00 PM SAST
Teachers are increasingly faced with the pressure to provide educational experiences that prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing society. In addition to meeting curriculum requirements, teachers are almost always expected to lead and implement numerous initiatives to better equip students and increase educational outcomes.
While these initiatives are well-intentioned and provide moments for both personal and professional impact, they can leave teachers feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Heroically and typically alone, teachers try to handle increasingly complex and challenging working conditions, all while trying to look after their well-being and that of their students.
A supportive environment leads to teachers feeling safe to openly discuss and share their ideas, give and receive constructive feedback, and collaborate to solve any perceived challenges in the workplace.
Supportive school communities recognize the stresses associated with juggling the multiple demands that teachers often experience while striving to encourage work-life balance by establishing clear boundaries between work and home life, coupled with supporting those who are experiencing stress and/or burnout.
Focusing on well-being can help teachers shift beyond a sense of merely surviving the challenges and difficulties in their work to seeing the ways they can thrive in their workplaces. Teachers who are well are equipped with skills and coping strategies to better manage and respond to stress.
Encourages innovative practice
Teachers who feel secure to explore innovative teaching practices can provide students with deeper learning experiences in ways that promote their curiosity and creativity. What’s more, when teachers have the flexibility to try new things and adapt promising practices into their classrooms, they are more engaged and excited about their work, which contributes to their sense of well-being.