In our recent interviews, trauma-sensitive school leaders pointed to the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and staff cohesion for mitigating stress and helping educators feel effective and empowered. According to these leaders, helping educators feel a strong sense of staff cohesion and belonging by establishing structures in the midst of the uncertainty of the current crisis allows educators in turn to engender this same sense of belonging among their students. District leaders emphasized maintaining the same times as before the crisis for their virtual meetings with groups of principals. Some district leaders are also adding additional times for individual discussions with principals to brainstorm solutions to each school’s unique needs.
How can educators maintain a sense of cohesion and feel effective in their work while teaching remotely?
At the building level, principals are also continuing to hold virtual faculty meetings at the same times they were held before the crisis, and PLCs and grade level team meetings are continuing and being held at the same time when possible. In addition, trauma-sensitive school leaders are also creating opportunities for teachers and building leaders to share ideas and talk through the challenges of remote learning. One creative principal is holding “office hours” on Friday afternoon. While she didn’t expect high participation, she was thrilled that so many teachers joined in to participate in this additional opportunity for support and connection. The trauma-sensitive school leaders shared with us their keen awareness that providing multiple opportunities, both formal and informal, for staff to connect with each other not only helps alleviate stress but provides opportunity for the collaborative reflection that spawns innovative thinking and creative practices. We heard about staff having lunch together via online meeting platforms and having informal virtual chats, serving the same purpose as conversations that happen in the hallway and teachers’ room.
Ensuring that there is time for staff to continue sharing ideas/resources and problem-solving challenges with each other can enable staff to move from feeling overwhelmed to feeling empowered. The trauma-sensitive school leaders shared their perception that in some ways this is the ultimate self-care strategy for teachers, helping to prevent feelings of isolation from remote teaching
Please comment below and share your successes and challenges in supporting educators to maintain a sense of cohesion and effectiveness during this remote learning period .
To read more about how trauma-sensitive school leaders are addressing are addressing their urgencies related to remote learning, please click here.