| By Nicole Albrecht |
I recently read an article by Anca Stefan, titled I Want Teaching to Matter. In her article, Anca stated that for teacher appreciation week she did not want candy, gift cards, or apples—she wanted, “…a career that feels solid. I want a daily schedule that feels sustainable—that allows me to plan and teach and reflect and learn. And rest. And live.”
The last part is what struck a chord with me. “And rest. And live.” Teachers want and need the same things that all people do within their careers and within their own personal well-being, but the demand that teaching takes on educators most often leaves them frazzled and fizzled out by year end. Their own mental health is something they don’t have time to devote to, which is why it is important for administrators, and teachers, to have the tools and support they need to feel like they matter everyday and not just during teacher appreciation week.
Gale has noticed and increased focus over the past few years on mental health and wellness, not only for students but teachers as well.The latest PD sub-collections from Solution Tree and Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. focus on helping teachers integrate social and emotional learning into their classrooms as well as into their own lives. These sub-collections also have titles perfect for administrators looking for ways to help teachers feel mentally and emotionally supported in their school and careers.
Solution Tree sub-collection 7 features titles such as, Take Time for You: Self-Care Action Plans for Educators, by Tina Boogren, which offers educators a range of manageable research-based strategies, self-care surveys, and reflective teaching questions that will guide them in developing an individualized self-care plan that promotes mental health and well-being. Robert Marzano’s popular title, Managing the Inner World of Teaching: Emotions, Interpretations, and Actions, explores cultivating a positive mindset and choosing productive actions by examining your emotions and interpretations in the classroom. It presents three management phases—awareness, analysis, and choice—that can influence a teacher’s interactions with students and learning a process for ensuring positive outcomes. It includes strategies and activities that enhance classroom practice and impact student learning. There are also titles in Solution Tree 7, that cover supporting English Language Learners, how to create mindful assessments, effective leadership and change management as well as different ways to promote mindfulness in all schools.
In the new Dave Burgess sub-collection 5, the pirate theme continues with a mental health approach in Balance Like a Pirate: Going Beyond Work-Life Balance to Ignite Passion and Thrice as an Educator, which offers insight to navigating the constant demands that come with being an educator that can create the conditions for burnout with practical strategies and tools to thrive in every area of life. Sanctuaries: Self-Care Secrets for Stressed Out Teachers, by Dan Tricarico, would be great for the author whose blog I mentioned in the beginning of this post. This book provides insights and strategies for making space in the busy lives of teachers. These include giving oneself permission to take a break, practicing mindfulness, being truly present, and developing systems that make life more manageable. Titles in Dave Burgess sub-collection 5 also cover topics in shattering the myth of being a perfect teacher, simplicity and tranquility in the classroom, cultivating a community through kindness, honesty and compassion as well as emotional tools specifically for administrators.