Whether classes are conducted online or in traditional classrooms, as an educator, promoting personal and student wellness, is essential to student performance and mental health. With all the turmoil happening this year alone, it is not surprising that the rate of depression and mental disorders have risen among educational stakeholders.
How to Promote Student and Teacher Wellness
The following tips may improve and lead to a more meaningful education experience, creating a comfortable atmosphere for everyone to grow, learn, and express themselves.
1. Establish a connection.
The key to creating a positive relationship between educators and students, especially if classes are online, is to establish a positive rapport. You can do this by getting to know each other, setting some time to share about emotions and moods, and providing motivation and positive praise.
2. Promote balance and mindfulness.
Teach students about being in the moment and reflecting about what they experience, how they feel, and how they think. Expecting too much and giving unrealistic goals and deadlines may lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety that will hinder their learning, and in turn, will cause educator stress.
3. Encourage journaling.
Part of improving students’ well-being and promoting mindfulness is to encourage students to keep a journal of their thoughts, ideas, emotions, and other sentiments that they wish to express and share. By doing this, teachers and students may identify emotions and the source of the negative feelings; hence, you are able to practice improved emotional management and control.
4. Take meaningful breaks.
Regularly scheduled breaks are essential during both online and live instruction. Assigning time to decompress with activities such as, breathing exercises, stretching, and movement, will contribute to a positive classroom climate and wellness. Encouraging students to participate in meaningful breaks, tapping into things they enjoy, like playing music and dancing, will allow both students and teachers to relax, recover, and prepare to proceed to the next activity or transition.
5. Establish trust.
Educators manage numerous tasks throughout the day, which can be quite daunting. Allowing students to have an active voice in decisions, and discussions will establish trust. Provide opportunities where students can express opinions, ideas, suggestions, and conflict-solving strategies to make students understand that their voices matter.
A healthy and positive atmosphere, virtually and in the classroom, is conducive for learning and growth and promotes student and teacher wellness. Teachers should send a message that students are safe, supported, and respected by modeling positive interactions and involving students in daily class decisions, whether you are in-person or virtual. Create a positive and valuable experience for students and the educational process will be meaningful and successful for both teachers and students.