Sunday / May 19

#CorwinTalks: Strategies to Support Educator Wellbeing and Resiliency

5 Strategies You Can Use Today to Improve Your Wellbeing 

By Michelle Trujillo 

Adversity is a reality of life and can leave us discouraged, dysregulated, and disconnected. Yet, it need not derail us.

Our well-being, and that of our students, can be nourished when we reflect upon and act within our realm of control. So, what can we do? 

  • Adjust our attitude. When things go wrong, we can choose to step forward with our head high, shoulders back, and face determined. We can choose to take a breath and reset. We can choose to smile, even when we don’t feel like it. This triggers neurotransmitters in our brains, making us more positive, focused, and productive. 
  • Disrupt dysregulation. Dysregulation begets dysregulation. To create a sense of calm for ourselves and our students, we can actively disrupt our dysregulated thoughts and behaviors by engaging in centering rituals like greeting every student, every day, using their name, and offering a handshake, high five, or compliment. These intentional efforts disrupt dysregulation and boost mental health. 
  • Practice gratitude. We can choose to be appreciative. We can appreciate people, places, and experiences. We can choose to sincerely say “thank you” or write appreciation notes. Genuine gratitude soothes our souls and creates joy.  
  • Invest in others. Begin by learning and using people’s names. We can ask “how are you?” and listen to the answer.  We can stop texting and start talking. We can seek to understand and choose to thank students for showing up, instead of demeaning them for being late. When we experience authentic connection, our well-being is nurtured and our community is strengthened. 
  • Seek support. Needing support does not make us weak. Seeking support makes us proactive and wise. We can give ourselves grace and know that it is okay to rely on a friend, to set boundaries, or to consult a mental health professional when experiencing significant adversity. You can use this Educator Well-Being Check-in to identify your strengths and needs for support.   

John Wooden said, “The little things make the big things happen.” Choose one idea from above and act today. It starts with you and just one little thing.

Resilience Won’t Fix Everything, But Better Habits Help 

By Lindsay Prendergast & Piper Lee 

Resilience has earned a negative reputation as the new catch-all for whitewashing away the challenges and stressors faced by today’s educators, skeptics suggest. In our newest book, Habits of Resilient Educators, we examine explicit habits of both personal and professional practice that have been found to cultivate resilience so that teachers may experience the joy and fulfillment of not simply surviving, but thriving as an educator throughout an entire career. Extending the content of our book, which describes nine habits (navigating negativity, getting and using feedback, zeroing in on purpose, for example), we offer two tips for habits grounded in positive psychology that enable educators to embrace their own well-being and nurture their resilience capital: 

Tip #1 Develop your “GQ”  or “Gratitude Quotient”: Intentionally taking time to identify specific areas for which we are grateful is proven to elevate our state of mind, improve our interactions with others, and foster optimism and hope (two key mindsets critical for building our own resilience to withstanding challenges). An immediate, simple shift in practice might look like using a gratitude routine at the beginning or end of a class period or a team meeting. Teaching students the skill of reflection presents an opportunity to journal about learning growth, for example, or gathering evidence of student learning from across the year to celebrate progress. As you continue to learn and do hard things every day, intentionally employing gratitude practices that authentically celebrate progress helps us see ourselves and others in a more compassionate way.  

Tip #2: Collaborate, Don’t Isolate: Building on the second habit described in Habits of Resilient Educators, the end of a school year is as crucial a time as ever to remind ourselves that no teacher is an island. Teaching can be isolating at times, and in the hectic days of spring finding opportunities to meaningfully connect may be even more daunting. However, collaboration does not always require a focus on instruction or student needs. Carving out time to “check in” on your peers may open an opportunity for someone feeling overwhelmed to find relief and experience a much-needed boost of support from one who understands what they are experiencing. Or, sharing your gratitude practices amongst a trusted group will serve to amplify the positive impact you experience by doing them alone!  

Three Examples of Support for Teacher Well-Being in Action 

By Carol Pelletier Radford  

When I wrote Teaching With Light: Ten Lessons for Finding Wisdom, Balance, and Inspiration, I realized that teachers needed time and space to share and learn from each other. These three school districts are intentionally integrating teacher wisdom into their professional development and mentoring programs to support the well-being of their teachers. The programs create a safe space for teachers to engage in authentic conversations that reveal their wisdom, insights, and successful teaching practices. Then they encourage everyone to share their ideas with each other. The result? Positive energy and improved attitudes for teachers.  

Circles of Light 

Lisa Dix, Curriculum Director PK-5 in Bourne Massachusetts, organized a “Circle of Light” book study to encourage teachers to share their wisdom through teaching stories. Beginning and experienced teachers come together three times to share ideas and learn from each other. The book study offers the teachers district credit to honor their time. Lisa even designed a podcast to share with teachers who could not attend. Evaluations were so positive they plan to offer the course again!  

Create your own Circle of Light book study in your school  

Simply Sharing 

Megan Martins, Mentor Academy Leader, Volusia County Schools, Florida, created a “Simply Sharing” group after seeing the idea in the Teaching With Light book. She invited teachers to share one successful idea they used in their classroom. You can hear my story, Simply Sharing is Not So Simple in this podcast episode 5.2. This practical professional development has promoted teacher collaboration and has made an impact on teaching practices. Teachers leave the meetings with successful ideas and inspiration! 

Mindful Living Actions  

Kathryn Shrupe, New Teacher Support coordinator in Charlotte, North Carolina leads a new teacher academy where she supports 100 novice teachers to not only survive but to thrive in their first three years of teaching. As a yoga teacher, Kathryn knows that intentional practice matters. She uses Teaching With Light to keep herself inspired as a school leader. Then she uses what she has learned to support her beginning teachers to take intentional action to maintain their balance.  

Thank you, Lisa, Megan, and Kathryn, for “leading with light” as you create inspired professional learning experiences for the teachers in your districts. For more resources on how to “teach with light”, check out these videos. 


Written by

Michelle Trujillo is passionate about igniting hope in schools and the workplace! She is known to make a tangible, sustainable, and positive difference through her books, speaking and interactive workshops. 

Lindsay Prendergast has served schools and districts across the globe for nearly two decades as a leadership coach, consultant, principal, counselor, and teacher. She holds a master’s degree in education administration from Colorado Western State University and a doctorate of education in education leadership from Wilkes University. 

Piper Lee has more than twenty-five years of experience in education, including teaching, administration, instructional coaching, professional learning facilitation, and leadership coaching. Her passion for student and adult learning and improving effective teacher instruction and student success in learning ignited her pursuit of working as an instructional leadership coach nationally.

Carol Pelletier Radford is the founder of Mentoring in Action, an organization dedicated to the success of novice teachers and their mentors. She is the author of multiple books and the host of the Teacher to Teacher Podcast where teachers share pivotal moments in their careers and how they thrive. 

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