Happy, healthy people are more effective teachers and more productive members of society. Yet, an increasing number of teachers are suffering stress-related illness and burnout. Some of these educators struggle through at a reduced capacity, but quite a lot just leave the profession altogether. Many educators put everyone else's health and happiness before their own, because they just want to make a difference. However, it backfires because the external expectations and demands of the job keep increasing regardless of the dwindling reserves of teachers. This podcast aims to facilitate and contribute to the conversation about teacher wellbeing, positive schools and burnout prevention, to inspire and empower educators of all kinds to take back control of their health and happiness by being proactive about their wellbeing, and to give teachers permission to put themselves first, so that they can go on making a difference long into the future.
My favourite episode: The Invisible Work of Teaching (Replay)
The Teacher Wellbeing Podcast is turning 4! In celebration of this milestone, I'm sharing a replay of S05 E04 from 2019. This is my absolute favourite episode of the last 4 years, and it's also the episode I've had the most feedback from listeners about. This really resonated with you then, and I think it will resonate with you now too.
The School Wellbeing Champions meetup is on again, on the 10th and 13th of March 2021. Head to selfcareforteachers.com.au/wellbeingchampion to find out more!
Despite the jokes that teaching is 9 - 3 with 12 weeks holiday a year, we know it to be otherwise. We know that the work starts well before 9am, finishes well after 3pm and that large parts of those holidays are usually spent working too. We also know that workload has been increasing over the last 10-20 years. The introduction of new improvement measures such as Professional Standards for Teachers and the national curriculum, as well as the impact of NAPLAN and the My School Website have resulted in more administrative work, much of which arguably has little to do with the actual running of a classroom day to day.
There is a vast invisible workload required of teachers today, much of which isn't only invisible to the general public but it's also going unnoticed and unacknowledged by us too. As well as the administrative requirements of the job, the mental load of running a classroom and the emotional labour inherent in the role are increasing too.
This episode is about that invisible work, and while there are no quick fixes, I offer some steps to take to help survive and practise self-care in the process.
The Teachers Thriving list of Employee Assistance Services
Mental load cartoon by French Cartoonist Emma, in the Guardian
Mental load ABC article by Leah Ruppannah
BBC Emotional labour article
The work hours tracking sheet on the Self-Care for Teachers Freebies Library
Books mentioned: "The Wife Drought" by Annabelle Crabb and "Your Money or Your Life" by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
Creating Happy Schools, with Steve Francis
Today I'm excited to bring you my conversation with Steve Francis from HappySchool.com.au and we are of course talking about creating happy schools! Steve tells us about his teaching and leadership background in QLD and Hong Kong, and how his passion for supporting the teachers that he worked with turned into a Masters researching teacher stress, and then eventually that turned into the Happy School business. We talk about the findings from Steve's research, including the 3 key factors for staff wellbeing in schools and the really important piece of school leaders acknowledging and recognising the good work of their staff.
The School Wellbeing Champions meetup is on again, on 10th and 13th March 2021. This is a virtual networking event for teachers and school staff who are the 'wellbeing person' at work. Find out more and sign up at www.selfcareforteachers.com.au/wellbeingchampions
4 Steps to Shift Your Personal Wellbeing Culture
What is culture?
Two definitions I like are: 'people like us do things like this' and 'ideas, customs, and social behaviours of a particular people or society.'
Many teachers tell me they feel at odds with the culture in their workplace. Or worse than at odds, completely undermined by it.
Well, if that's you, I hear you. I know how challenging it can be.
I also want you to know that you don't have to let it be a foregone conclusion. If your school culture is one of Depleted Teachers and you want to be a Resilient Teacher, then you can shift your own personal culture to move towards that instead.
Here's 4 steps to help you:
- Decide what culture you want
- Identify what thoughts, beliefs and actions enhance and promote, or inhibit and undermine that culture
- Surround yourself with people who get it, support you and will hold you accountable
- Take action, tweak, follow up
Remember, if you're interested in having proactive wellbeing conversations in your staffroom, follow along with the prompts by @flourishingfebruary!
Self-care for First Year Teachers
At the best of times, teaching is exciting, exhausting, scary and rewarding. First year teachers find it is all of this and more!
There are so many new things to learn and so, so much work to do.
Non-teaching friends and family don't really understand the demands of the job, you are still feeling like a bit of an imposter (are they really letting me in the classroom by myself?) and the students can and will test you because you're new.
There are so many expectations to meet, a lot of new names to remember and lots and lots and lots of paperwork.
It is all too easy as a teacher to always put your needs at the bottom of the list.
This is even more of an issue in your first year as you are eager to prove yourself and likely trying really hard to avoid any negative assessments of your abilities.
Here's a few dos and don'ts for self-care in your first year. These are from the following blog posts:
Sign up for the Resilient Teacher program: https://selfcareforteachers.com.au/resilientteacher
Glorification of Overwork vs Proper Preparation and Planning
This episode is the audio replay from an Instagram Live I did on the 15th January 2021. Come hang out with me on Insta, I'm having fun with Reels and things! https://instagram.com/selfcareforteachers
Sign up for the Free webinar: https://selfcareforteachers.com.au/webinar
And enrol in the Resilient Teacher Group Coaching Program here https://selfcareforteachers.com.au/resilientteacher
A New Year Message For Teachers
Happy New Year! You did it, you made it through 2020, the weirdest, hardest year yet. Wherever you are in the world, I want to acknowledge the huge challenges and upheaval 2020 brought and give you a big pat on the back. Well done, it is no mean feat.
So we find ourselves in 2021 and I wonder if perhaps your social media newsfeed and email inbox is filled with messages about how unworthy you are, how you need to punish yourself for any pleasures or indulgences over Christmas and the holidays, and overhaul you entire life by January 14 to be enough.
Well, this isn't one of those messages. Those messages are utterly wrong and completely crap. You are SO worthy, already and always. You do not have to punish yourself for enjoying yourself, even if perhaps you feel you over did it a bit. And you most certainly do not need to overhaul any part of your life by January 14 to be enough. You are enough. Already. Always.
If you'd like some gentle support in being proactive about your health, wellbeing and resilience this year then I invite you to enrol in the Self-Care System Mini-Course and Healthy Habits Planner. We're having a live 2021 Vision Workshop tomorrow, Tuesday 5th January at 10am QLD time.
Enrol here: http://selfcareforteachers.com.au/self-care-system
Whether you're into resolutions and goal setting like me, or whether you think the New Year is just an arbitrary date, please take some time to encourage and nourish yourself this month.
And as always, remember that you are a person first and a teacher second and you are SO worthy of your own care x
Customer ReviewsSee All
I loved the analogy of the falls prevention class and the insights into what really defines balance. This episode let me recall that I have a choice about how to approach my profession, which is really empowering.