In our article in the Summer 2022 issue of Educational Leadership, my colleague Ann C. Holm and I outline steps schools can take to better protect teachers’ “bandwidth” and sense of efficacy. Schools’ ability to do this will be critical to both educator morale and student learning in the new school year.
Self-care isn’t enough if policies, norms, or culture still drain teachers of the energy it takes to bring their best to the classroom for every student, every day.
Here are three “Reflect & Discuss” questions related to the article that school teams can use to identify and address some underlying causes of educator stress and burnout in their schools:
- Consider the aspects of your school’s work that most sap educators’ energy and bandwidth. Which ones result from policies, practices, or conventions in your school that could realistically change?
- Check the article’s suggestions for ways to “set guardrails” on energy-sapping norms and limit interruptions in order to protect time for concentrated work. Which of these suggestions would be feasible in your school? How could you put them into practice?
- Why do so many schools suffer from initiative overload and fatigue? How could you address the root causes of this in your school or department?