A study from the American Federation of Teachers was released on Monday of this week, revealing that teacher stress is on the rise, and remains at rates startlingly higher than the general workforce population. Almost 5,000 respondents took the opportunity to reflect on tensions in their workplace, some randomly sampled from the AFT’s union membership and most voluntary respondents through social media channels. Cumulatively, 61% of these educators find their positions to be “always” or “often” stressful. More than half of the respondents reported a full week’s worth of poor mental health days every month, perhaps because they are being “bullied” by administrators or students (27% report incidents of this nature). On the whole, educators feel they have less impact on policy decisions and professional development content, and less control over their classrooms. They see more instances of verbal aggression among students and the majority of them do all of this on 5-7 hours of sleep a night.
At the start of our Programs & Services area staff meeting yesterday, I stood at the head of the table – pausing, looking and listening to the incredible team getting settled – checking in, laughing, sighing, deep breaths – taking a few moments to be together and recognize that we are in the fall season that brings a demanding focus and intense service to schools, agencies and communities. Significant work is already accomplished and it’s only the beginning of the new school year!
As teachers and staff come back to their classrooms this month, we know that so much of your focus is on what you can do to make your new students feel right at home in their classroom. In the bustle of arranging desks and equipment, creating beautiful bulletin boards and planning fun first-day-of-school activities, here are ten quick ideas to increase social and emotional learning in your classrooms this fall. Most take less than 15 minutes to implement.
Pretend you’re six years old… then think about what you want to be when you grow up. It may be a professional athlete, whatever your parents do for a living, or something you see on TV. Your imagination is limitless – maybe a circus performer, a cashier at Wegmans, or even a truck driver.