We’re three quarters of the way done with the school year. It’s mandated high stakes testing time. Staff is feeling overwhelmed, fatigued and unsupported. As a result student referrals are up, we’re getting more and more students sent through the disciplinary process, and there are more snide comments and side looks then at anytime of the year. These 3 strategies will help ease the burnout and keep staff engaged.
Take a look at your school calendar. Ask yourself what events will create more stress for teachers. Anything that is outside the regular school day norm are good events for you to stop in and show your face and smile. Your presence at these types of unstructured, non routine events will help ease tensions. The adults will feel supported as you work your way through the student body making commentary and redirecting behaviors before they escalate. Being strategic about these supportive visits will ensure that you’re not overtaxed yourself.
Surprise Community Building
Find a time in the final quarter to do a couple of community building activities. Scrap one of your staff meetings and bring in ice cream and sundae fixings. Discuss the wins of the school year and all the great things that have been accomplished so far. Provide an opportunity for staff members to give kudos to each other for their hard work. I recently made breakfast for the staff before a professional development and the time shared eating was just as beneficial. This type of community building will help energize and reduce the fatigue of staff.
Lead the disengagement
Demonstrate through your own actions that you believe they should have time for themselves. Don’t send or answer emails over the weekend. The work will be there when they get back. Staff won't believe you when you tell them not to take their work home all the time if that’s what you’re doing. Have conversations with them and let them know that you don’t expect that work to be done over the weekend. There will still be staff that works over the weekend, but if they know it’s not expected that alone will help them feel less overwhelmed.
Staff is overwhelmed, fatigued and burnt out. Planning a support strategy over the final weeks, creating opportunities for the staff to get together and share success and leading the disengagement from work will help keep your staff engaged.
I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......