Navigating the new teaching landscape created by the Covid-19 pandemic has put further strain on an already stressful educational environment. Not only did educators have to shift teaching methods, they also had to address the trauma and stress students experienced, while dealing with their own professional and personal anxieties.
Covid-19 challenges will linger into the 2021-22 school year. Fortunately, schools and organisations around the country have been taking significant steps to better address these systemic issues. This includes the development of Milani.org.za.
Developed in partnership between SocialTV.co.za news platform, SocialTV Foundation and Community Keepers, Milani.org.za is a resource platform which has developed tools for educators related to mental health literacy “as a baseline”. The tool will further strengthen their abilities to identify and support students in need.
This is an online platform for teachers, students and the entire education community, with updated content relating to trauma, stress, anxiety, identification tools and many other helpful resources.
“It is our privilege to be involved with organisations that have the well-being of communities at heart, like in this case with Community Keepers. Building such a resource platform with such a credible organisation, with a very strong track record, gives serious credibility to this intervention. The foundation is on a drive to impact spaces similar to the education sector. We are developing websites for schools and have built a recycling game based on the SDGs so we understand what these projects could mean in the long term. Social TV Foundation is also open to partnerships which seeks to bring positive change in communities and create lasting impacts,” says Samm Marshall, Managing Director for Social TV Foundation.
Importance of teacher well-being
The platform provides self-care strategies for educators, such as mindfulness, meditation, and setting personal goals. Educators need to use learning principles — cycles of practice, feedback, and application — so teachers can learn the aids connected to well-being.
“Being a teacher is a stressful enough job, but teachers are now responsible for a lot more things than just providing education,” says Community Keepers educational psychologist, Amanda van der Vyver. The organisation partners with schools and early childhood programmes to help children and the adults in their lives navigate trauma.
If we’re going to guide educators and school leaders to develop resiliency and well-being strategies, then tools such as these must be available.
Understanding that there are multiple factors that contribute to a teacher’s well-being is an important first step in creating more comprehensive approaches for supporting programmes that encourage teacher wellness.
As our students and teachers continue to navigate uncertainty, instability, and trauma, it’s crucial to prioritise environments that centre healing, well-being and recognise and celebrate both students’ and teachers’ culture and identity.
If the goal of education is to promote student success, teacher well-being must be a central consideration. We cannot expect teachers to try harder, breathe deeper, and face challenges without proper support programmes. Organisations, systems, and policies play a crucial role, and our teachers deserve better.