Do I preach self care, yoga, meditation, breathe work, and journaling? Yep, I sure do, but I think it’s completely ridiculous and naive of us in the wellness industry to solely think these practices alone can help support our teachers!
These practices are a piece in the puzzle, but it’s a big puzzle. To simply expect them to journal or breath their way through teaching during a pandemic is irresponsible on our part and acting as though we’re not even listening to what teachers need!
Our teachers are quitting and burning out at an all time high.
A survey of U.S. public sector workers released in October found that K-12 public school educators were the most likely to report higher levels of anxiety, stress and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's obviously no surprise.
In another survey by EdWeek Research Center, 60% of teachers say they experience job-related stress frequently or always. When asked what effects job-related stress has on them and their work, teachers commonly said they have a harder time sleeping, they’re less able to enjoy their free time with family or friends, and their physical health suffers.
As a yoga and meditation teacher and self care expert I think we need to open our eyes and be more supportive of our teachers right now! I asked my friend, Adrienne who is a teacher what she needs and what is going on, "We need time to plan lessons. Our days free of kids are spent in professional development but I don’t need to be developed any more because I don’t have time to implement the things I already have. I need a day off every on d in awhile where I don’t have to teach students online but can actually just have a day off. We have no subs so I can’t even plan doctor appointments because my colleagues will have to cover for me. We are told to practice self care but I don’t even know what that looks like. Right now I’m physically getting sick to my stomach because I haven’t planned out any lessons for the week but I’m so burned out that I can’t physically bring myself to sit down and do it."
So how can parents help?
1. In the season of giving please let your teachers know how wonderful and valued they are! Give a card and let them know how much you value them, if you don’t have the means to spend money on a holiday gift write a thank you card.
2. Write to your government and state officials about your concern with teacher burnout. Write to your district too. School and district leaders need to hear us.
3. If you can offer free yoga, meditation, self-care or donate your time talk to the school board.
4. If you are able to spend money on gifts for you kids teachers, please do so.
5. Support educators. Show them your support. Ask them what they need, listen, and take action.
Teacher burnout won't be solved overnight, but by addressing it, it's a step in the right direction.
Can administrative add advances in self-care practices, can policy makers add it and add workshops to help prevent burnout? Can our educators have mental health days? These are all things we need to look at and see if it can be implemented.
I don't have the answers as to how to help but I know I will keep researching and trying.