There are still a couple of weeks before most teachers in Australia will be returning to work. Many will not have given it a second thought as yet, and hopefully most will be looking forward to it, but some teachers will be dreading the return to the classroom.
Burnout and other mental health related issues are higher in teaching than most other professions and it is something that school leaders are increasingly becoming aware of.
One strategy for enhancing the wellbeing of staff could be mindfulness.
As with most approaches to wellbeing in schools, there are quite a number of mindfulness-based programs for students, but not so many for teachers.
But last year, the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds studied the impact of an eight-week mindfulness course developed specifically for teachers.
As well as measuring its effects on the teachers’ emotional well-being and levels of stress they also evaluated its impact on their performance in the classroom.
The study found that teachers who completed the course felt less anxious, depressed, and burned out.
In addition – and this should not be understated in a system that tends to value achievement over wellbeing – these teachers ran more productive classrooms after completing the course and improved their ability to manage student behaviour.
The study also shows that stress and burnout levels actually increased among teachers who didn’t take the course.
You can read the full research article here.
Author: Dan Haesler is a teacher, consultant and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars. His website is: http://danhaesler.com/ and he tweets at @danhaesler