Under normal conditions, teachers are under considerable pressure to provide students a strong education in challenging environments. Due to the continued threat of the coronavirus, this pressure is heightened tenfold. Our teachers are not only worried about their own and their family’s safety, but they are tasked with the enormous responsibility of running a socially distant classroom in-person, virtually, or in a hybrid model. With this in mind, social and emotional support of our teachers is more imperative than ever. Here are 4 ideas to help reduce teacher stress as discussed in our K-8 community conversations on supporting the social and emotional needs of our school communities.
Hold a weekly Google Classroom for staff that focuses on fun and positivity.
This is a great way to build rapport, bond as a staff, and release tension. Have teachers report on their hobbies, present pictures of their family and friends, work together on fun challenges, or hold a virtual party.
Set aside time during staff meetings to focus on uplifting information.
During staff meetings, have teachers report out on something positive that happened in or out of the classroom. If no one is speaking, spark conversation by focusing on small achievements and building on those.
Create a google doc to share comments and advice.
A collaborative journal of sorts, this allows teachers to vent their thoughts and ideas quickly if they don’t have the time to physically talk to someone. Encourage staff to comment on what others have said to build rapport, give advice and share solutions.
One-on-one conversations between teachers and leaders can be very powerful and, with Zoom or Google Meets, are easy to set up. Just pick a time and place where both parties feel comfortable and let teachers unload about their struggles and frustrations and help them problem solve. These one-on-ones will convey to teachers that you value them and the work they are doing.
All of these tips can be done online, and some can be adapted for a socially distant, in-person get together (such as individual one-on-ones). The time and empathy you invest in taking care of your teachers will benefit the entire school community.
Want more information about supporting your school community’s social and emotional needs? Visit this link! CASEL