Why boosting teacher wellbeing at the beginning of the term is crucial

Boosting teacher well-being at the beginning of the term is crucial for ensuring a positive educational environment for students.

According to research from UNSW Sydney, investing in teacher wellbeing not only benefits teachers themselves but also has a ripple effect on students and society as a whole.

Associate Professor Rebecca Collie, a leading researcher in educational psychology at UNSW, emphasizes the importance of supporting teacher wellbeing from the outset of the term to sustain it in the long run. Studies have shown that teachers’ levels of well-being at the start of the term and the quality of their connection with students significantly influence their well-being throughout the term.

Research conducted with Professor Andrew Martin followed teachers over a 10-week term and found that while teachers reported declines in well-being over the term, those with more positive teacher-student relationships at the beginning of the term ended with higher levels of well-being. This highlights the interconnectedness of teacher well-being and teacher-student relationships and underscores the importance of efforts to bolster both.

Understanding teacher well-being involves considering both emotional and functional aspects, such as job satisfaction, vitality, engagement, and professional growth. The research identified declines in all these aspects over the term, emphasizing the ongoing need to support teacher wellbeing.

Despite the rewarding nature of teaching, it can also be challenging, leading to high rates of stress and burnout among teachers. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges, contributing to unprecedented teacher shortages and retention issues. This shortage not only impacts schools but also poses a risk to student outcomes and society as a whole.

Efforts to address teacher well-being are gaining traction, with initiatives such as the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan and the Australian Teacher Workforce Data initiative aiming to tackle these challenges. By investing in teacher wellbeing, we not only support the educators who shape our children’s futures but also contribute to a healthier and more productive society.