Opportunities to Speak and be Heard

By Natalie Irons, Associate Director, Instructional Coaching, UCLA Center X

In a trauma and learning certification course, our work group posed the question, “What ways, if any, do teachers feel supported by their school’s existing frameworks/mindset in regards to educator well-being?” We have analyzed the results of the survey and have some interesting findings.

One respondent wrote, “The topic of educator well-being is a taboo. The school culture is like a social media site where everyone pretends they have everything under control.” Our hunch is that there is so much more below the surface. While 76% of participants have 10+ years of educational experience, the survey indicated that the three most important things not happening in their schools to support educator well-being are more planning time, better communication, and mental well-being check-ins. Even experienced teachers feel the strain of the times.

Based on data showing that 51% of respondents stated that their school has policies and systems that support educator well-being, a conclusion drawn from asking whether the policies and systems help foster well-being is that educators feel more supported intellectually and interpersonally, than they do physically and emotionally, at their workplace.

And, as another participant wrote, “As educators hemorrhage under a continuous assault on their integrity, weekly individual check-ins so support their emotional, physical, and professional needs, plus realistic expectations of their workloads are fundamental to addressing their ongoing trauma. Teachers need regular opportunities to speak and be heard.”

In light of these statements…How might you hold space for teachers, students and community members to be seen and heard? What time is available to have educators feel well-planned? What are some of the various ways you continuously communicate with your teams?