An increase in stress and burnout among teachers have been at the forefront of conversation since the onset of the pandemic. Our systems have directly experienced the implications of such issues, in several unforgiving ways. Combined with the number of additional challenges posed to our schools, and the impact that each issue can have on another, the search for solutions has been an ongoing, yet urgent process.
In working with Wellsville and considering research in developing a district strategy for supporting teachers throughout the 2021-22 school year, a monthly schedule of offerings focused on educator resilience, entitled, “Empowered Educators,’ was created. The sessions are offered monthly, for one hour after school hours and are optional.
Over the past few months teachers have come together during this session to connect, reflect, process and specifically focus on individual resilience building strategies to counter the impact of stress and burnout.
A few of the resources utilized to support this work are “Onward,” written by Elena Aguilar and “Paws to Comfort,” written by Jen Marr. Aguilar’s research focused around the 12 strategies that hold the most leverage for cultivating educator resilience and have been central in the development of specific tasks throughout each session. Marr’s work addresses the significant need for the act of comfort and the gap that exists, as she refers to, “the awkward zone,” in which individuals choose not to respond and comfort due to lagging skills. Both resources are relevant to the present challenges facing teachers, both individually and collectively, and have been invaluable in the work that has taken place thus far at Wellsville.
As the school year progresses, an open invitation to join the monthly sessions exists. In addition, the group continues to work collaboratively to reflect on this model of support, in the hopes to grow and evolve this type of support within their district moving forward.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
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