#32 – Refuel, Recharge, and Recover: Teacher Self-Care

Unpacking Education March 24, 2021 19 min

We have experienced a full year of disrupted teaching and learning. Some of us have been completely remote. Others have been teaching in the classroom while social distancing since September. And many more have shifted multiple times between teaching delivery models, as the effects of the pandemic waxed and waned through our communities. The impact of the pandemic on the social and emotional health of our students, their families, and fellow teachers and staff cannot be underestimated.

With today’s episode, we are starting a six-part journey to address social and emotional learning during COVID-19. We talk with Cherie Spencer, a Social and Emotional Learning Coordinator in Galveston, Texas, about how we can help each other recognize and address the trauma of these times.

We begin this series with a conversation about burnout and resilience. We talk about how teachers, students, and their families are impacted, perplexed by grief and anxiety, while also searching for ways to build a sense of normalcy.

Paul Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
Digital Learning Coach
Pamela Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist

Burnout is the result of too much energy output and not enough energy self-invested. In other words, it’s burning too much fuel than you’ve put in your tank.

Melissa Steginus, mindfulness teacher and productivity coach


The following are resources available on AVID Open Access to explore this topic in more depth:

Burnout is real.

Let’s talk about who is most impacted in education. There is no one group that is feeling it more than another. Each group is experiencing new challenges, as their relied upon routines no longer exist to offer familiarity and comfort.

  • Teachers are juggling new teaching modalities, while trying to manage testing expectations and academic standards.
  • Principals have never led a school during a pandemic. They are struggling to define clear and actionable guidelines to keep their students and staff safe, while meeting state, district, and community expectations.
  • District administrators are managing the pressures of changing state requirements.
  • Students are exhausted, confused, and anxious by the ever-changing shifts in their environment.

In this episode, we talk about how to build a foundation of trust to help address the lack of routine and the stress of constant change with practical suggestions—such as a gratitude journal, a pause to breathe mindfully—and teaching best practices to encourage resiliency for both teachers and students.

There has been nothing in my professional life that has been more rewarding as those messages that retroactively obliterated the exhaustion of teaching.

 Elena Aguilar, author