Three Essential Questions for Educator WellnessAug 03, 2020
Big ideas and essential questions are the cornerstone of good curriculum design, but how often do educators stop to ask themselves good questions and really reflect on the answers?
Truthfully, in today’s fast paced era of accountability, there is very little time or opportunity for teachers to slow down and embrace metacognition. Never ending to do lists come from having multiple roles, diverse student needs, and a variety of expectations from all angles and they often lead to a level of stress that is unmanageable.
Consequently, schools across the nation are experiencing teacher shortages as people leave the profession early and as young people opt for other careers that promise less hassle, more autonomy and greater respect.
Many initiatives are attempting to put a Band-Aid on this crisis, but the only truly sustainable approach is to go back to basics and support teacher wellness. When teachers can find balance and when they feel supported and encouraged, it is a lot easier for them to maintain a mindset for success in and out of the classroom.
The following “essential questions” for teacher wellness are a good place to begin this shift because they require reflection and foster a sense of empowerment for educators and administrators.
1. What is your “Why”?
This one is definitely the most significant because educators are exponentially more effective and better able to manage challenges when they feel connected to a bigger sense of purpose. Asking them to reflect about why they chose to go into education and getting them to think about how those reasons have evolved allows them to put obstacles in perspective and keep their focus on the things that really matter.
2. Do you balance the increasing demands of your teaching role with your other roles and responsibilities outside of school?
Balance is a difficult feat for many teachers because it is often impossible to leave work at work since there never seems to be enough hours in a school day. This challenge has an immense impact on teacher wellness because, without balance, more obstacles and challenges tend to perpetuate in all realms.
3. What type of social and emotional skills or strategies do you model for your students?
When we are stressed out, it is a lot harder to shift gears to model calm and compassion. Many teachers unintentionally impact their students when they are struggling with stress and negative emotions so this big question is intended to draw attention to energy that is being shared with the students and the indirect lessons they learn from their teachers attitude and behavior.
Obviously, these questions are only the beginning, so I would love to know what other questions you would add to this list. What other areas can educators reflect upon to gain some much-needed perspective and leverage their ability to choose calm, creativity, compassion, and confidence? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
As always, if you are interested in exploring these questions, please sign up for the newsletter to stay in the loop for upcoming workshops and join our Empowered Educator Facebook group to keep the conversation going!
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