We spend 2/3’s of our lives at work. Students spend almost as much time at school. Let’s consider the “human factor” and the impact on our schools and classrooms. The facts in the article I’ve attached state most employees miss between 3-5 days a month because of workplace stress. Wow. What is happening and better yet, what are we doing about it?
Think about the schoolhouse as the “workplace” for our students. Consider it in the exact same light as you do your job. Students often leave their home fleeing stress only to arrive at school to experience more stress. Think about their absences and if it is a “stress break” they are taking.
Do I, their teacher, come to school carrying my personal baggage of hits, misses, losses, griefs, or disappointments and “spill it” onto my students through my words, actions, nonverbals, or the ignoring of their physical presence?
Do I, their teacher, come to school regardless of my external factors, lifting my mind out of the negative to stand in the positive as the “force of hope” for my students and colleagues?
You decide the difference you choose to make for others. Behavior is a choice.
Most of us are not trained mental health professionals. BUT…we are members of the human race and the first act of mental health is extended through just being aware and human relations 101: how to be kind, how to listen, what to look out for, and how to create an environment of emotional and psychological safety.
It is within our power to create a sense of belonging that establishes emotional and psychological safety in our schoolhouses and classrooms. The $1,000,000 question is what will you do?
A few ways to extend human relations 101 to another…
Call a person by their name, always say hello
Know who the person is beyond the walls of the building
Create interconnectedness through simple acts of inclusion
Share an occasional lunch/coffee break/recess break
Have secret pals for each other
Acknowledge a person’s contributions with a short written note
Find out the person’s passion – their unique contribution through what they love
Embrace a person who seems outside the circle – isolated
It matters not the age of a person. Whether 5 or 65, every human being is wired to connect. We should strive to create the “sense of belonging” in every environment where we bring people together. Lessen the stress for yourself and others. Elevate the human spirit in someone else. Teach our students the experience of what it feels like to lift up someone else. Be the example.
Every student asks three questions about the “school adults” in their lives.
Can I trust you?
Do you believe I can succeed?
Do you care about me?
What if your colleagues are asking the same three questions?
Let us lift up one another to do our best work and care for each other. Be a part of lessening the stress in yourself by helping someone else. There is no greater feeling than extending “unexpected kindness to another. It is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change” says Bob Kerrey.
You are someone’s blessing.