Well-being: A Key to Success
We know that students’ well-being is top-of-mind in our schools, but can the same be said for teacher well-being? For support staff? For principals and superintendents?
Increases in student anxiety, bullying and behavioural issues coincides with an uptick in stress and emotional exhaustion among educators. This results in high stats for stress leave, and stress-related illness. Students and educators spend seven hours a day together five days a week. Their relationships – and our entire school community culture – can’t be healthy if they aren’t healthy.
And while we know more about the challenges associated with mental well-being than ever before, we know less about the solutions to address them. Our Well-being: A Key to Success Symposium is your opportunity to learn from a variety of successful school- and community-based programs and partnerships from across Canada, which provide effective coping and support strategies for students AND educators.
Leading experts will share the latest data on how stress and anxiety affect learning and the workplace factors that can protect and support student and educator mental health and well-being. As a follow-up to our 2016 First Nations Schools First! Symposium, we will also place a special focus on the urgent need to strengthen student and educator well-being in Indigenous schools.
It’s time to shift the conversation from ‘fixing symptoms’ to addressing how we can proactively develop wellness within entire school cultures, because this issue concerns us all.
An EdCan Network Professional Learning Priority
In our 2014 Challenge to Change Report, our pan-Canadian network recognized that, beyond systemic constraints, the social realities that affect the lives of students and families represents a significant barrier to educational change. The community-based social services that our most marginalized families rely on has been downsized and offloaded to our educators, who now often find themselves playing the roles of social workers, guidance counsellors, parents and psychologists all at once – then add school and student performance, rankings and testing pressures that zap energy from the important work of teaching. These pressures are even more pronounced in First Nation schools. It’s no wonder that teacher absenteeism, sick leaves and turnover in the first five years is growing. School districts also face the increasingly difficult challenge of recruiting for senior management positions in an era where quality of life considerations outweigh the stress associated with this profession.
The stakes are high. The role that education systems can play in promoting physical, cognitive, emotional and social well-being – and preventing poor mental health – underscores the value of investigating how successful and replicable Indigenous and non-indigenous programs effectively address these issues, and define what truly makes a healthy school.
Ideas that Can Help Educators Help their Students
Teachers, support staff, principals, teacher candidates, researchers, community health support workers, NGO and education stakeholder groups leaders, and Indigenous educators appreciate our events because of the value we place on affirming, legitimizing and sharing our knowledge and experiences, rather than everyone working in isolation. Our detailed case studies will answer your questions and provide important insights into how your team can embed effective mental well-being programs throughout your entire school community culture.
Schools are not treatment facilities, and they can’t make up for the failings of a fractured system – but they can be an important part of the solution. Focusing on a variety of factors that impact student and educator wellness makes this upcoming event an essential resource in articulating the clear necessity to invest in preventative mental well-being support programs that have the potential to offset the long-term effects of dealing with a crisis after the fact and the impact that this continues to have on our society.