This Non-Profit Has Bold Ideas About How We Can Support Teachers

09.09.16 2 years ago

You’ve got to hand it to teachers. They’re notoriously underpaid and overworked, and yet they still spend day after day enthusiastically educating America’s next generation — creating top-notch music videos and joyful (if cringe-inducing) tunes just for the purpose of engaging their students. That’s called dedication.

And yet, more than ever, and for the exact reasons mentioned, teachers are getting burned out. It’s a serious problem: according to The Teaching Well, nearly half of all new teachers leave their profession within five years (independent research corroborates this). In some areas, that number is even higher — California’s Oakland Unified School District and their charter schools see a 70 percent first-five-years turnover rate.

It’s not a good deal, either for the burnt-out teachers or for the districts who spend an estimated $2.2 billion per year to recruit and train their replacements. And then there are the students, who aren’t getting access to the quality educators they need to thrive.

Enter The Teaching Well, an organization whose mission is to help teachers focus on their own well-being before they hit that burnout point. The non-profit was founded by a teacher of six years, Kelly Knoche — who came very close to burnout after her third year in the classroom. As she tells Uproxx Reports, “I felt like I was short with my students. I knew if I had to do this another year that I wasn’t going to be able to make it for the long run.”

So she took time off to focus on herself, entering a 400-hour yoga training program. During that period, Knoche realized that she wanted to take the principles of yoga and apply them to teaching to prevent burnout in other overwhelmed educators. What started as a donation-based yoga program for teachers soon morphed into The Teaching Well — offering teachers professional development, including nutrition and stress resilience training, during their typical workdays.

Knoche hopes the benefits will be passed on to students and logically, that makes sense. Happier teachers have a naturally increased passion for their work, which leads to better student outcomes.

As professional development facilitator Air Gallegos says in The Teaching Well’s mission video, “We really believe that teachers are a well of giving. In order to be able to give, we need to make sure that our well is full. It’s really important that we learn how to take care of ourselves.”

Check out the full video above for more information on Knoche’s program, which has already served more than 500 educators since its founding.

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