As schools set to return on July 1, the pressure to seamlessly transition back to pre-COVID-19 performance levels, achieve targets and manage increased workloads have the potential to exacerbate stress and anxiety in the teaching community, if not properly managed. To this end, the International Baccalaureate (IB) has launched a new series of podcasts catering to Asia-Pacific educators – IB Voices. The series brings together leading minds from the IB’s global network of educators, to discuss strategies for the successful continuation of learning as schools manage the transition.
While many in the global education community will be aware of the strain these pressures can put on their wellbeing and mental health, it can be difficult to manage the effects of this at a time of such rapid change. It’s time for schools to take a proactive stance on teacher wellbeing, not least because teacher wellbeing has a direct correlation to student wellbeing and performance.
One way for schools to prioritise wellbeing during this transition period is to give teachers the space to focus on providing their students with a depth of learning, rather than ensuring broad coverage of content. Schools which are using the current situation to create space for greater trust, and flexibility for teachers, have proven to manage transitions in to, and out from, remote learning with greater success than simply transitioning a full timetable. By giving teachers permission for flexibility, for innovation and for taking this time to take those pedagogical risks and they are able to respond more authentically to the needs of their community which results in better outcomes.
Schools can take steps to prioritise wellbeing during this time by empowering educators to stay true to their education philosophy, and their ethos for learning, rather than encouraging them to bow to pressure to provide excessive work-sheets and busy work.
Learning has got to look at what the needs of the school community are, by finding out what’s important to them and what they value. Parents, students and teachers across a single school can all have very different perspectives of what education should look like on the best of days, let alone when we go to an online home-learning environment. So, it’s important for us to keep in mind that educators need to make the right decisions for the kids from an educational perspective and not necessarily appeasing every single parent and stakeholder.
Another way to prioritise wellbeing, is for school leaders to create space amongst teaching staff, across teams and in school leadership councils, to focus on wellbeing. One simple way to do this is to facilitate frequent and compulsory wellbeing checks across teams and faculties, so that each individual teacher is able to share and access support from colleagues. By being explicit and intentional in the delivery of wellbeing opportunities for everybody to engage with across the learning community, it creates a space for teachers to share the burden of the challenges they are facing.
To hear more from IB Voices as educators from around the world collaborate and share best practice for managing the impact of COVID-19 visit https://www.ibo.org/news/podcasts/
For more information about the IB and its programmes, visit www.ibo.org
This article was provided courtesy of International Baccalaureate.
In 2018, the International Baccalaureate (IB) celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Pioneering a movement of international education in 1968, the non-profit foundation now offers four high quality and challenging educational programmes to students aged 3-19 years old. Through a unique curriculum with high academic standards, IB champions critical thinking and a flexibility for learning by crossing disciplinary, cultural and national boundaries. The IB currently engages with more than 1.8 million students in over 5192 schools across 158 countries.