I think there is something to be said about the different approaches to Teacher Wellbeing across schools. Some are simply aware of it, while for others it’s part of who they are.
This is why Teacher Wellbeing looks so different in each school. There is no simple way to address it, no program to roll out or policy to embed. Just like most things in education, there is not a ‘one size fits all model’. Teacher Wellbeing needs to be addressed in the same way we teach students to inquire and question about a new topic. We need to give our teachers the tools, but ultimately it is up to them how they use them.
Improving wellbeing comes down to one thing – knowing and improving your habits.
I think the quote by Aristotle sums this up nicely:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ”
In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about the need for change to occur as part of our identity. This is the difference between changing performance and appearance and changing a habit. Our habits are what make us who we are. Our habits are our identity.
If we want to change in Teacher Wellbeing, we have to change our habits.
This is why we see so many different approaches in schools. We are too focused on changing outcome and process, when to see change, we need to focus on identity.
Last week I spoke about the need for individual responsibility around Teacher Wellbeing to occur if we want collective responsivity and collective change. This is part of individuals changing habit and identity. Not always an easy thing to do.
This change is up to the individual, and not something a wellbeing coordinator or school leader can be solely responsible for. Individual change, as the word suggests, sits with the individual. No-one is responsible for making anyone else change and no-one is responsible for anyone else’s identity.
If we want Teacher Wellbeing to improve and to change, we need to look closely and empower the individual. This is where and when a collective change in our profession will occur.
Teacher Wellbeing, or even just wellbeing can be broken into different chunks. I have taken this a bit further and organised Teacher Wellbeing into 5 different components, all to do with self; Physical self, Purposeful Self, Connected Self, Learning Self, Mindful Self (more to come on this next week). It is in each of these components of self where we need to start. We need to individually unpack the changes we want to see, our habits and look at our own identity before we can move to collective responsibility and collective change in Teacher Wellbeing.
If you want to know a bit more about this, feel free to get in touch by replying to this email or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure you have a copy of my white paper ‘Teacher Wellbeing – A Matter of Urgency’.