You walk into a school and teachers wear their years in the classroom like a badge of honor, but they also count down to their breaking point where they have to leave or they’ll go insane. Teaching is rarely seen as a life long career anymore and instead of focusing on retention, schools focus on bodies in the classroom and fast results to gain. It’s a live fast, die young life for teachers. Unfortuntely, this too fast, too furious teaching life has left classrooms empty all over the country or with classrooms full of burnout, tired teachers.
So what can we do?
We often forget that teachers are people like students and need to be healthy and supported to perform at their best.Teaching is a tough job that demands a lot of physical and mental endurance and that won’t change, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up and let our teachers burnout. Instead, I propose we start addressing the needs of the whole teacher. The whole teacher is more than the test results, graded papers, and lesson plans. The whole teacher is the mental and physical health of the teacher inside and outside of the classroom. The Whole Teacher Approach is about supporting and coaching teachers more than just in the classroom, but as professionals and humans who need continue support in a difficult line of work.
The Whole Teacher Approach is recognizing that longer hours does not mean better results. In fact, most of us know that by the end of a 14 hour day we are not at our best anymore and we won’t be at our best the next morning either. It also means building a school culture where personal days are respected and teachers are not looked down on for taking them. The Whole Teacher Approach needs administrators supporting healthy habits for teachers and staff and not blaming teachers but collaborating to find solutions to problems. The Whole Teacher Approach also means professional development that gives teachers strategies and training to be healthy, happy people so they can bring that happiness into their classrooms every day.
What it really comes down to it, the Whole Teacher Approach is about recognizing the whole person behind the face of a teacher and fostering the person to be the best teacher they can be. All students deserve teachers who are excited, positive , and passionate and the Whole Teacher Approach aims to support each teacher as they support each student.
If you’d like to find out more about my Whole Teacher Approach, contact me or check back soon for my new course on using the Whole Teacher Approach to have a healthy, happy school year!