Why does School Wellbeing Solutions Exist?

February 1, 2023

You know that feeling when you’re super frustrated and you don’t see the end of the tunnel? Well, I spent about 10 years in that place. I was frustrated because I was training teachers in implementing social-emotional learning in classrooms but the teachers were too upset, stressed out, burnout, or absent to implement what I or others were bringing to them.

Does this sound familiar?

After some time, the puzzle pieces have come together. I realized that with the exception of a few schools, most schools aren’t doing enough to support their educators and staff. I remembered as a burnt out teacher and administrator that no matter what amount of training and resources I got, if I wasn’t feeling good about myself, my job, and my relationships, initiatives were going to fall flat.

So I have focused my attention, experience, and knowledge to support the wellbeing of teachers and staff and in turn the wellbeing of leaders who are supporting them.

As a parent, my child suffers when I am too tired to play or engage with him.

As a teacher, my students suffer when I am too exhausted, stressed, or burned out to implement best practices.

To support students, we need to support teachers/staff. And to support teachers/staff, we need to support leaders.

What does “supporting leaders” mean? We need to go beyond just self-care trainings. We need to help school leaders create conditions that we know decrease stressors people are experiencing.

Thig might look like 1) setting up systems for increased transparency, voice-sharing, and healthy conflict resolution in addition to 2) resilience and self-care training.

Since 2022, working with a districts and schools across the US, from California to Texas, to Louisiana, to New Jersey, we’ve seen the results of this 2-pronged approach have been very promising. The quality of the learning experience and school climate is strongly tied to the emotional and psychological wellbeing of their educators and administrators (see Carroll et al., 2021)

Our aim is to help schools and district leaders create systems and practices that drive up three important factors of wellbeing and retention:

1. Positive Emotion (like calmness, joy, gratitude)

2. Positive Relationships (like celebrating successes, authenticity, and high quality connections)

3. Physiological Wellbeing (like lower cortisol, improved heart rate variability, and other markers of resilience)

SWBS helps school leaders, teachers, and staff build resilience and capacity to do their jobs well and enjoy doing them.

Whatever your mission is, your purpose, whether it’s literacy, equity, happiness, empowerment, justice, people need to be feel good to make it happen.

#startwiththeleaders

 

Article by Martín Blank, MAPP

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