Does teacher stress affect students? The answer is yes. A recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pennsylvania State University found that “when teachers are highly stressed, children show lower levels of both social adjustment and academic performance.” High levels of stress negatively affect teacher wellness, causing burnout, lack of engagement, job dissatisfaction, poor performance and high turnover rates. These factors hinder teaching and learning, lower student-achievement and increase financial costs for schools.
There is a crucial need to support teacher wellness, effectiveness and retention in order to help our youth achieve the most positive outcomes in school and life. Teachers, whom spend the most time with youth aside from family, have the greatest capacity to positively shape a child’s future. However, 46% of teachers say they feel high daily stress. Often, teachers are overwhelmed by multiple demands and the pressure of achieving academic goals, while struggling to address each student’s unique needs and emotional barriers. For example, when children are worried about their parents’ divorce, those emotions follow them into the classroom and make it hard to focus on schoolwork.
The social emotional health of both educators and students is paramount in our work at Acknowledge Alliance. Each of our services – educator coaching, teacher/leadership groups, social emotional learning lessons and counseling – all focus on strengthening resilience, social competencies, emotional regulation, empathy and meaningful relationships. By building skills and coping strategies into the everyday interactions between educators and students, school becomes a happier, healthier and productive place to be. Through our ongoing support, teachers learn how to better manage stress, engage students and handle challenges without calling it quits. In turn, students feel more connected to school and become more motivated to succeed.
Here are some quotes from teachers who noticed positive changes in their stress levels after working with our staff:
“Acknowledge Alliance staff helped me become more aware of the lack of work/life balance my life had and what changes I could make to get that back on track. Talking to her really lifted a lot of stress off of my shoulders and her continued check-ins helped me tremendously.”
“The Acknowledge Alliance session at a staff development day in January helped me reframe how I approach managing my stress at work and helped me recognize how important emotion-focused coping is to handling stress.”
“The Acknowledge Alliance staff person on site improved my overall well-being with her positivity, support, and willingness to listen and provide advice or insight when needed. She always had a smile on her face, which spread good cheer. My students and I were always happy to see her. Her calm presence and empathetic ear was always a mood elevator. This positive impact on our school community is no small thing since there are so many stressors that go along with the teaching profession.”