Last week I wrote asking, Who’s Looking After the Teachers? and the response was astounding.
By far, it received more comments than any other column I’ve written for Generation Next – which leads me to think it struck a chord.
As well as the overwhelming majority of comments agreeing that staff wellbeing needed to be addressed, I invited teachers to share what their school did to maintain staff morale and wellbeing.
One reader said that a former principal would offer himself up as a raffle prize, with the winner being able to have the lesson off while the principal took it.
Another said their principal would give the staff chocolate, whilst others suggested notes of thanks, verbal appreciation, subsidised meals and chats with the school counselor or chaplain could help.
All of which are great suggestions, but in the face of such an institutionalised issue, perhaps we need to take a more institutionalised approach.
There is a great deal of research that shows staff wellbeing is the best predictor of productivity and workplace engagement, but how seriously do we take this in schools? Well if we measure what we value, it appears not very.
I argue that schools should measure staff wellbeing – either formally or informally – with the same enthusiasm they measure student outcomes, then work openly with staff to enhance it.
This may be challenging for school leaders and staff alike, but it is crucial that this topic is tackled head on and it is seen as a professional challenge, not a personal one.
Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler