A rising tide lifts all ships.
This idiom carries such truth, doesn’t it? It’s one that rings true in schools. When students are thriving, the adults in the building are happy. Even more, when the adults in the building are thriving alongside the students, everyone flourishes.
Helping School Staff Thrive
School climate is getting more press of late, as schools implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Many accountability plans include school climate, but how do we measure it? What are best practices? You want your school to ooze positivity, and for people to feel this positivity the moment they step through the front doors.
Administrators ask, “What can I do to be helping school staff thrive?”
Teacher Stress Levels are Rising
A recent poll by the American Federation of Teachers reveals that 61% of teachers are stressed out. 58% say that their mental health is not good. In the same poll, more than half the teachers admit that they don’t feel the same enthusiasm about teaching as they did when they began. Chronic stress shows up as irritability, mood swings, exhaustion, and other physical and mental health symptoms. It leads to withdrawal from colleagues, increased absences, and high turnover rates. One study states that almost half of teachers change careers within the first 5 years. Of the ones who remain, 57% are disconnected from their teaching role and their students’ needs. Students feel the impact of teacher stress daily.
On a more positive note, engaged teachers lead their students to higher academic achievement.
Adults Need to Grow their SEL Skills
A CASEL study concluded that schools have better SEL outcomes when they also cultivate SEL competencies in adults. When we’re helping school staff thrive by engaging them in SEL at the adult level, classrooms experience more positive developmental outcomes. This adult learning can also reduce burnout among staff.
5 Radical Minutes not only teaches SEL to the students, we also provided weekly staff prompts to engage your staff in the same manner. When they engage in 5 Radical Minutes for Staff, they learn SEL skills as they interact with their peers each week. This 5-minute time at the beginning of any staff meeting can shift your school climate in powerful ways.
SEL Skills Benefit ALL Individuals
We know that to change habits or to learn new skills, the single most important factor is reinforcing the neurological pathway of that improved behavior or skills. “Practice makes perfect” applies here! 5 Radical Minutes is most effective for students when all adults in the building pair up with a student. This process changes both how adults listen to students and also increases student trust such that they have more courage to approach adults when they need help or want to work something out.
When all staff in the building take part in 5 Radical Minutes prompts, two things happen:
- Staff relationships improve and new or isolated staff come to know others in a way that builds trust.
- Staff experience the effectiveness of the program in the same way students experience the program in the classroom.
If you know an administrator, we’d love it if you shared this article with them! We know they have a huge responsibility on their shoulders. We’ve put together some free resources on our website and a Pinterest board for them.