The “new normal” for BC schools has school staff rife with concern
“Well I know that the Minister of Education has announced the opening of schools part time again come June 1st, and I know that myself and my colleagues are extremely anxious about that and what that’s going to look like. That sense of loss of control in your life - it’s in our personal and professional lives with COVID so I do think some sort of wellness initiative would be really helpful.” Northern BC Teacher
According to the WorkSafeBC report published in January 2020, there was a 79% increase in Mental Health related claims made by workers in Education. More specifically, there was a 135% increase from 2017-2019 in Mental Health claims made by teachers and educational assistants alone. With the onset of COVID-19, we expect that these numbers will rise due to the increase demands on school staff. Why is this important? Not only does it show the need for support for school staff well-being, but research has also suggested that a teachers’ well-being has effects on student well-being. (Emerson et al., 2017; Burić et al., 2019; Harding et al., 2019).
DASH completed a School Staff Well-being Literature Review and found that the vast majority of research only looks at teacher well-being and individual level approaches. DASH would like to expand this research by focusing on the well-being of all school staff. This would include teachers, educational assistants, administrators, school counsellors, bus drivers, custodial staff, etc..
Research has shown that reporting that personal stories tends to be more meaningful than statistical evidence when topics include ourselves and/or our health (Freling et al., 2020). Therefore, DASH has begun to conduct interviews with an array of school staff in order to use their voices to support their well-being. The findings thus far are invaluable, but there is much more to be done.
With your donations, DASH will continue this research and interviews so that we can create a storyboard to help schools in BC design their own staff well-being initiatives.