Figures show nearly one in five teachers are now leaving within their first five years in the profession, exacerbating a recruitment and retention crisis in the state’s public school system.
While low pay and recognition are cited as some of the top reasons teachers are leaving, there is no question that soaring workloads are seeing burnout teachers leave in droves.
Happy School is one organisation helping principals and teachers manage stress management, anxiety and staff morale. The company’s founder, Steve Francis, said the importance of staff morale and wellbeing have never been as significant as they are in these challenging times.
“In high functioning schools both morale and wellbeing are a shared responsibility of both the leaders and the individual staff member. It isn’t up to leaders to ‘fix’ the wellbeing of staff, but they have a huge impact on ensuring a positive school culture that supports staff,” he told The Educator.
Below, Francis shares five tips for staff in schools to improve their own wellbeing.
- Set your golden rules
Setting boundaries is important to limit the impact that schoolwork can have on the rest of your life. The rules or boundaries that you put in place are a personal decision that depends on you and what works best for you. Here are some examples of golden rules:
- Limiting the checking of work emails to 10 minutes (set a timer) and only Sunday to Thursday nights
- Don’t take work home
- If you have to do some work at the weekend – specify the time and stick to it. Don’t wreck the whole weekend!
- Sit down at the dining table for dinner three times each week with your family (no phones allowed)
- Leave school at a reasonable time (early for you), one day per week and do something for you
- At the end of the day appreciate what you got done, not what still needs to be done.
- Sit and eat lunch each day and drink 8 glasses of water each day to look after your voice
- Make exercise a priority every day, especially when you are busy.
Many people STOP exercising when they are busy at school (eg report writing time). However, taking a break and getting some exercise is the most important thing they could do for their wellbeing AND their effectiveness.
- Try to avoid multi-tasking:
This can be done by identifying the MOST important thing you should be doing with the time available and getting that done, rather than trying to do multiple things at once. Try the Pomodoro technique, which uses a timer to break down work into intervals (traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks).