What about the Educators? How strong is YOUR sense of wellbeing?
I was delighted to see Rhonda Livingstone’s latest ‘We Hear You Blog’ published by ACECQA, encouraging educators to consider their own wellbeing, and the important part it plays in our work with children, families and colleagues.
With the end of the year fast approaching, and with it, Christmas concerts, parties, new enrolments, good-byes to children leaving, and mounds of associated paperwork, I’m thinking personal wellbeing is way down the list of priorities. This probably means that for many of us, personal wellbeing has taken a bit of a battering, leaving us feeling thoroughly worn out and wondering how long we can sustain this crazy busy role!
Hmmm… maybe we need to listen to Rhonda Livingstone and make a bit of time to reflect on how our workplace culture supports us both mentally and physically, so that like our children, we can enjoy a ‘strong sense of wellbeing’. According to Livingstone the research indicates that workplaces that foster a collaborative culture, where administrators support educators, and educators support each other, are best equipped to meet the needs of the children and families.
The good news is, this collaborative and supportive culture can be nurtured in EarlyWorks:
- The Events Calendar can be used by directors and educational leaders to schedule time to chat with educators and find out how they’re travelling. And perhaps acknowledge the amazing work they are doing for the children and families. The research uncovered by Livingstone indicates educator stress and exhaustion is one of the reasons educators are leaving our profession. Noticing the early signs of this stress could be one way of reversing this worrying trend.
- Reflections of Pedagogy can be used to reflect on how the learning environment supports educator wellbeing. For example, does the current daily routine support children’s AND educators’ health and wellbeing? In other words, is it manageable? What changes might be made to ensure that it is manageable for everyone?
- Program Comments might be used by educators in each room to reflect as a team, and share thoughts about not only how the program is working for the children, but how is it working for educators? Are groups manageable? Are there any changes that could be made to make the program run more smoothly for educators as well as children?
It would seem educator well being is important for everyone: administrators, families, children and educators. According to Rhonda Livingstone, when educators have a strong sense of wellbeing, ‘they can be more responsive, thoughtful and respectful as they interact and build relationships with every child.’ And, this is what brought so many of us into this profession in the first place: to build relationships with the children in our care.