The power of human connection is a transformative element that is deeply wired into our collective DNA. With so many teachers experiencing burnout, I can’t help but recognize a strong link between human connection and the challenges facing teachers today.
Teachers care immensely for their students and cherish the in-person connection that exists in the classroom. But the stresses of the job are taking them away from connecting with students more meaningfully. Teachers feel exhausted and underappreciated, causing them to consider leaving their jobs altogether. A recent National Education Association survey found that “55% of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned.”
While the NEA survey identifies staffing shortages and emotional fatigue as contributing factors, it also mentions that educators are requesting more mental support for their students than is presently available.
Modifying the Environment
Many schools have ramped up social and emotional learning models for students, from add-on curricula to tech-based tools to one-on-one conversations. But even with recent influxes of federal funding, it’s barely enough. Services provided by school counselors, for example, play a vital role in helping students work through challenges, but they are outnumbered 424:1 on average.
Students need more in-person attention—but so do the teachers. They’re tired of simple self-care suggestions to “take a spa day” or “find more time for yourself.” Teachers need practical solutions to help ease stress.