Liv·a·ble (adjective): worth living; enjoyable
Every Livable Lesson will encourage you to prioritize your own health and happiness by:
1. Sparking inspiration from a quote/research.
2. Connecting the quote/research to what you deserve as a teacher.
3. Promoting accountability with related actions to implement inside and outside your classroom.
4. Encouraging reflection with a related wellness question.
“Allison Miller, a Miami University student studying to become a teacher…said she appreciates her professors’ honesty about the challenges that come with teaching. But despite her passion to make a difference, she’s scared of burning out in her first few years on the job.” – Cincinnati Enquirer
What You Deserve
I’ve come across countless articles that discuss a variety of solutions to address burnout concerns like the one above:
Recruit teachers in high school and provide financial assistance
Waive tuition of student teaching semester
Lower teacher license renewal fees
Consider more flexible school schedules
Build inclusive, supportive school cultures
Mentoring programs between prospective and current teachers
Reduce the cost of certification testing
These solutions are great and should be implemented— maybe some more than others (hello increasing salaries!). However, consider what would happen if every single one of these strategies was implemented. Wouldn’t teachers’ day-to-day experiences still be the same? Wouldn’t there still be meetings during planning periods? Compassion fatigue? Decision fatigue? Classroom management stressors? Stunted creativity? An increase in pay is deserved and necessary, but will that paycheck you receive be the magic solution to eradicate the realities of the job? No.
The anxiety, stress, unhappiness, impatience, burnout, and exhaustion felt by many, many teachers every single day will still be there. This is because the solutions above are simply putting a band-aid over the very real emotions felt by teachers; they’re not actually getting to the root of the problem.
So, it’s time to rip off the band-aid and find actionable daily solutions for teachers to manage their day-to-day experiences.
What does this look like?
It’s ALL about well-being. Schools must provide opportunities for teachers to learn simple wellness strategies to implement inside and outside the classroom. There’s truly no other way to thrive in a career like teaching.
Prioritizing one’s health and happiness day in and day out is truly the only way to “rip off the band-aid.” No other solution will deeply impact individual teachers so that they feel empowered, rejuvenated, and balanced enough to face the emotional and physical stressors of this profession long term.
At School:Try something new to invite calm into your classroom. For example, play meditation music as students work, dim the lights/use lamps, or implement a new classroom routine. Doing so will positively impact your classroom environment, which impacts the moods of you and your students.
At Home: Try something new to invite calm into your evening routine. For example, turn off the TV an hour before bedtime, set a timer to get off social media, or go on a walk after dinner.
What is a “solution” that your school or district has implemented to address burnout? Has it worked? Why or why not?
In health and happiness,
Founder of Livable Learning