We recently wrote about some of the challenges facing school pupils in the modern world and the problems that many are facing with anxiety and other mental health issues. However, it’s not just pupils that need support; teachers do too. This isn’t just the right thing to do on a personal level, providing more effective support can encourage staff to stay with your institution, which is crucial at the moment with shortages biting across the board. Various factors can negatively impact wellbeing, both at home and at work, including low pay, increasing workloads, and the pressure of the modern education sector, however improving teacher morale is a way to offset some of these issues. But how can headteachers support their staff wellbeing and ensure that they’re in a position to provide the best possible educational outcomes to the young people within their remit?
Tailor your support
Everyone is different and while some of your teachers may seek support at a direct level, others will prefer to be autonomous and to manage their own wellbeing. This means getting to know the staff at your school is of paramount importance, as this will give you the opportunity to understand their motivators, and what level of support they might require when things get difficult.
Get your staff involved
In such a busy environment it’s understandable that not every teacher will have the time to appreciate the bigger picture, meaning that getting them involved and feeling like they are an integral part of your institution can go a long way to improving teacher morale. In fact, a recent study proved that morale increases when school leaders respect their staff members. Holding regular staff meetings that focus on the wider goals for the entire school and enabling your staff to contribute to these ideas can make a difference and will likely lead to improved outcomes as your employees may have ideas to address the problems that they or you are facing.
The challenging incidents that teachers face on an almost daily basis can have a negative impact on morale in the long run, so ensuring that you celebrate successes and provide praise where it is deserved can have a big impact. Almost everyone likes being complimented for their hard work and sending a note of support or praising one of your staff members in team meetings can make them feel more supported at work and consequently boost their morale. Equally, celebrating successes outside of the working world can also benefit your teachers so ensure that you have strong enough relationships and a good knowledge of their activities when they’re not teaching to be able to do this.
Teachers, understandably, often feel as if they’re under pressure from all corners which can lead to physical and mental exhaustion which in turn naturally negatively impacts morale. However, by creating a safe and supportive working environment and by protecting staff from harassment from parents and other external forces, you can insulate your teachers and ensure they remain both happy and focused on the task at hand. Enforcing your school policies properly and fairly and involving your teachers in the policy development process will make them feel supported and highlight that you are on their side.
Support their development
Enabling your teachers to develop new skills and expand their horizons can go a long way in making them feel valued at work. It also has a knock-on benefit of improving their ability to carry out their jobs effectively. Rather than just allowing your teachers to source these opportunities themselves, you should also proactively seek training and development modules for them and provide them with the support needed to take on these courses. This can help to alleviate frustration and to spread a more positive atmosphere overall.
Offer career breaks
As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and many teachers in the modern working world will face the prospect of burnout at some point unless their wellbeing is managed more effectively. As we all know, teaching is a stressful and challenging profession and sometimes your staff will just need a break. While this may be difficult for some institutions, offering some of your teachers’ miniature career breaks will enable them to recuperate and improve their morale and will make a significant difference in the long run. However, it will be all but impossible to do this without dedicated supply staff in place that you know you can rely on – so ensure that you work with an expert supplier, like The Supply Register, to ensure that you can call on experienced, skilled teachers as and when you need them.
With so many schools struggling to source the skills they need, managing staff wellbeing isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also crucial to maintaining the effective running of your institution. Speak to us if you’re looking to support your staff effectively and want to ensure that you can provide the best teachers needed to support the development of the pupils under your remit if your permanent teachers are feeling the pressure.
Take a look at more of our insights for teachers and school leaders.