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Teacher Wellbeing

Author: Ellen Ronalds Keene

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Happy, healthy people are more effective teachers and more productive members of society. Yet, an increasing number of teachers are suffering stress-related illness and burnout. Some of these educators struggle through at a reduced capacity, but quite a lot just leave the profession altogether. Many educators put everyone else's health and happiness before their own, because they just want to make a difference. However, it backfires because the external expectations and demands of the job keep increasing regardless of the dwindling reserves of teachers. This podcast aims to facilitate and contribute to the conversation about teacher wellbeing, positive schools and burnout prevention, to inspire and empower educators of all kinds to take back control of their health and happiness by being proactive about their wellbeing, and to give teachers permission to put themselves first, so that they can go on making a difference long into the future.
71 Episodes
Hi everyone and welcome to this bonus episode of the Teacher Wellbeing podcast. Today I'm talking about teaching in the time of covid-19. So I am recording this not with my regular mic and it's just raw, imperfect, in-edited and un-produced, because I want to get it into your earbuds as soon as possible. This is being recorded at a very particular moment in history. It's lunchtime, Monday 23rd March 2020 and I'm in Queensland Australia. The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated or is in the process of devastating many countries around the world, including China, Italy, France, Spain, the US and the UK. Here in Australia we have now got more than 1200 cases, are being directed to practice social distancing, various states and territories are closing their borders domestically, and there is a petition of doctors raising concerns that we are heading for the same fate as Italy if something doesn't change dramatically in our response, and yet schools remain open. Last night our Prime Minister held a press conference where he announced sweeping new social distancing measures by closing pubs, clubs, gyms, churches and other public gathering places, but emphasised that schools will remain open. Victoria, ACT and NSW however have split from this in various ways, either announcing school closures this week or at the moment NSW is saying schools stay open but they are urging parents to keep kids at home. Here in Queensland, the Queensland Teachers Union held an emergency meeting this morning and released a newsflash a couple of hours ago demanding that Queensland state schools be closed to students from Wednesday. Whether that happens, remains to be seen. Of course I'm well aware that this all may change, by tonight even, but at the time of recording, that's the situation as it stands. Links mentioned: • My post that went a bit viral on Facebook • Sign up to the Advocate, weekly love note in your email inbox • Fatigue Resilience Masterclass 1 • Coaching Options Coming soon: • Season 6 of the podcast! • New Freebies Library • Resilient Teacher Group Coaching program My tips for coping with anxiety during this are: 1. Don't panic. 2. If you're feeling very anxious, practice lots of self-compassion. 3. Follow the specific workplace advice for your school and workplace - it's different everywhere. 4. Check the advice that your union is giving too. They do seem to have finally caught up and are issuing advice relevant to your state or territory, so check that, it's important. 5. Stay home if you're sick! Do not under any circumstances 'soldier on'. The schoolwork will wait, I promise. 6. If you have underlying medical conditions that already compromise your immune system, do speak with your doctor about how you specifically should prepare for and respond to the virus. If possible get a doctor's certificate stating your need to not be at work and be social distancing right now. 7. Employ self-care strategies for anxiety that work for you. Suggestions include: 8. Meditation 9. Exercise 10. Journalling 11. Talk to a trusted friend/vulnerability buddy 12. Fact Check your thoughts. Is it true? 13. If your anxiety isn't manageable with self-care strategies, speak to a professional. Beyond Blue has a list: Also Lifeline on 13 11 14 Also your relevant Employee Assistant Line: 14. Be mindful of how and when you consume news media. It's important to be informed, but that doesn't mean being plugged in 24/7. 15. Be extremely mindful of how you consume social media, and avoid it altogether if it is an anxiety trigger for you. I highly recommend you read 'Digital Minimalism' by Cal Newport for more on this. 16. Wash your hands, eat good food, get good...
The Teacher Wellbeing podcast turned 3 last week! And to celebrate I released a bonus episode of the podcast this week, detailing 4 things I've learned from 3 years of hosting the show! I also talk about the things I've learned about myself and running Self-Care for Teachers in the process. Plus, I share an amazing story about some action a teacher took after listening to the podcast last year that I think you're really going to want to hear. Exciting things coming soon: • Crowdfunding Campaign for Season 6 - make sure you're subscribed to find out about that when it happens. • Fatigue Resilience Masterclass on 28th March 2020 Other links mentioned in this episode: • Follow Self-Care for Teachers on Facebook here • Sign up for the Freebies Library here or the SC4T Advocate here • Book a Discovery Call here • List of Employee Assistant Programs here
Hello everyone, and welcome back to the teacher wellbeing podcast, and welcome to 2020! The new school year is about to begin and I know that means many of you are in the midst of inservice, professional development, student free days and setting up your classrooms. We're still between seasons of the podcast but in this bonus episode, I am sharing with you the audio from a Facebook live video I did last week. If you're not following me on social media and you're not subscribed to my Self-Care for Teachers newsletter, The Advocate, then you might have missed the free video workshop series I did on Facebook last week. I'm sharing the audio from the first of those workshops here and now on the podcast because I think it's crucial information for all teachers to have in their heads and in their hearts as the school year begins. Catch the Replays of the 5 workshops before they expire here: Sign up for the Freebies Library here: Grab yourself a copy of the 2020 Self-Care Planner and Healthy Habits Tracker on my Teachers Pay Teachers store here: Enrol in the Resilient Teacher Program here: As always, remember you're a person first and a teacher second and you are WORTHY of your own care. May you continue to look after yourself wholeheartedly this year, be a beacon of inspiration for others and an example to encourage your colleagues to do the same.
Recently on the Teachers Thriving Lounge Facebook Group, Trudy from and I spent a good 45 minutes discussing the very important but under-researched topic of teacher sleep, and some strategies you can use to help you get a good night's rest. As Trudy says, "Sleep is the sleeper topic for educators. No-one really is talking about it but it is a big issue." So we know it's a huge problem, but what can you do about it? Well, the bad news is that there are no overnight solutions (pun very much intended!), but the good news is there is a lot you can do to reclaim your sleep and take control of your rest. All you need is your phone or computer and you can leave me a voicemail. You can ask me a question, make a comment about any past episodes, or suggest a topic for a future episode. However, what I'd really love is for you to answer the question below for a special project I'm working on for Season 6 of the podcast. In 3 minutes or less, answer the following question: Thinking back on your first year of teaching, what did you learn about staying healthy and cultivating wellbeing as a person and as a teacher? Put another way, what advice would you give your first-year teacher self about staying healthy and cultivating wellbeing as a teacher? There are a few more instructions on the website which I recommend reading before you do so. I'd love for you to share your lessons and wisdom with listeners of the Teacher Wellbeing Podcast! Leave me a voicemail here:
This is a replay of a Facebook Livestream I did today, which I wanted to share with you because I know some of you are only following me on the podcast, and may not get updates otherwise. The audio quality isn't amazing, but it's good enough and the episode will self-destruct in about a week so listen now while you can! I have half updated my website with my new programs, but the tech is causing me some little issues and I don't want to break the whole website (again ha!) so I will finish updating gradually over the week. In the meantime I wanted to come here and tell you about my three new coaching packages (plus the one old one that has been given a new name!) - Happy Habits Accountability Coaching (same as before!) - Nourish and Nurture Life and Wellbeing Coaching - Teacher in Transition Coaching - Teacher-preneur Online Business Consulting I will honour the old prices for anyone who books a Discovery Call today (as in, you make the booking today, for a time that suits you in the coming months) and then goes on to book coaching within the next 3 months. That means you will get the new packages at the old prices! Booking link for Discovery Call: In case you don't know, a Discovery Call is a free video conference call where we get to know each other, talk about your life and wellbeing goals, and see if we might be a good fit for coaching. I usually do these calls via a free program called Zoom (a bit like Skype, only better!) and it's a great time for you to ask any questions you may have about coaching, see if now is the right time and if I'm the best person for the job. I'm going to be changing my free Discovery Call process later in the year too, so now's a good time to nab one of these sessions if coaching has been something you have been thinking about.
First up, this episode will self-destruct in about 7 days, so you wanna listen right now while it's available in your player. I have a couple of time-sensitive updates and then a special invitation for you. • Teacher Self-Care September. If you're not already playing at home, join in at Facebook or Instagram and see the overview post here • Supporting resources for the #teacherselfcareseptemberchallenge can be found in the Freebies Library • Sign up for the Cultivating Extraordinary Wellbeing Webinar this Wednesday 18th September at 6pm AEST. Remember you must be signed up to get the replay as it won't be added to the freebies library afterwards. Sign up here. • Leave me a voicemail for a Super Special Season Six project I'm working on! Leave me a voicemail here! As always remember you're a person first and a teacher second and you are SO worthy of your own care x
Lessons from 4 years of Self-Care for Teachers, and my vision for the future (Season 5 finale) is an adaptation and update of of this blog post. Find all the links mentioned there. See you next season!
In this episode I have a brilliant conversation with fellow teacher wellbeing enthusiast, Jessica Terlick from Lead and Inspire Community. Jessica shares her story with us and it's one I think you'll relate to. She tells us about her experiences as a preservice and early career teacher and how she fell into the trap that so many of us fall into, which is living and breathing the job and letting work take over life as well. It's obvious she's done a lot of self-reflection and can see how some of her patterns were contributing to that. Jessica shares with us in this episode how being so driven to achieve and succeed, while on the surface is a great trait, ended up undermining her health and wellbeing as a person because Jessica the teacher became the sole focus. We also discuss how her partner Ben helped her find more work-life balance, and what led her to creating the Lead and Inspire Community. Jessica also shares some brilliant tips to help you thrive in the classroom and in life. You can find Jessica at follow her on Facebook and Instagram @leadandinspirecommunity Links mentioned in this episode: • Teacher Wellbeing Podcast S01 E03 Teacher Story: Rebekah • Teacher Wellbeing Podcast S04 E10 The thinking traps that are sabotaging your wellbeing • The Freebies Library full of free useful resources for you • Lessons from 4 years running Self-Care for Teachers blog post
I'm deliberately doing this episode directly after Gabbie's 2 part episodes because I know they may have stirred up a lot for some of you. The content of Gabbie's book Teacher and the content of our conversation, while really important, also touches on some real sore points for teachers. I know because you tell me and I know because they're sore points for me too. So I want to say right up front that this episode is as much a note to self as it is a message to you. I hope that this episode it brings you as much comfort as it did to me in writing it and putting it together. X
I think this week's episode is an absolute must-listen for any teacher today. It's Part 2 of my conversation with Gabbie Stroud, author of the best-selling book 'Teacher', and if you haven't yet, I do recommend you go and listen to Part 1 of this interview which is the previous episode on the podcast. In that episode Gabbie told us a bit about her story, we talked about the expectations on teachers and the state of education in 2019 and the visible and invisible work of the job. Plus Gabbie told us how writing the book was cathartic for her and she shared some of her recovery process too. In Part 2, we talk about the 'soldier on' culture in our schools and why that's so dangerous, and how important but also how difficult real rest is. Gabbie also shares very honestly her grief over leaving teaching and the struggles that she's had since then, plus we have what I think is possibly the most important conversation of the year when it comes to teacher health and wellbeing and burnout, which is around financial security. It's something that I just don't think is discussed enough and I'm so so grateful for the absolute honesty that Gabbie displays here. We discuss how when you're at your wits end and physically and emotionally burnt out, you aren't always in a great state to be making wise decisions, and while quitting your teaching job may seem to be the thing you should do because it's causing so much stress, it actually be taking you out of the frying pan and into the fire. We also talk about what's on the horizon for Gabbie, including the book she's writing called 'A letter to the parents of Australia', and what wellbeing looks like for her these days. It's a really great conversation and I hope you enjoy! You can find Gabbie on Facebook or Instagram @gabbiestroud and Twitter @gj_stroud The blog post I mention at the end of this episode can be found here, and you can also check out my Teachers Pay Teachers Store here, or the Patreon page here. Thank you all for your continued support!
I'm so excited to bring you this episode of the podcast with a woman who I'm sure needs no introduction! Gabbie Stroud is a freelance writer, novelist and recovering teacher. Her critical commentary of Australia's education system was published in Griffith Review's Edition 51 Fixing The System. Links to the essay went 'viral' on social media and the essay was viewed 24 000 times within the first two weeks of publication. 'Teacher' is Gabbie's memoir, expanding on that essay and bringing readers into today's challenging classrooms. So in this episode of the Teacher Wellbeing Podcast Gabbie shares with us a bit about her story and we talk about her brilliant book, and how it has really lifted the lid on the conversation around education in the Australian media landscape. We talk about the shifts Gabbie has seen in education in the last 20 years, and the shifts in her language and feeling and life that eventually led her to making the decision not to teach anymore in this current system. We ended up having such a great chat that it went for an hour, so I've split it into two parts. You'll hear the first part of our conversation this week and the second part next week, so stay tuned for that! You can find Gabbie on Facebook or Instagram @gabbiestroud and Twitter @gj_stroud
It is great that schools are providing wellbeing strategies and services to their staff, but they often seem to cover only half of the wellbeing equation. Positive Psychology + Positive Physiology = Wellbeing
In this episode you will hear Part 2 of my interview with Elise. If you haven't yet, go back and listen to Part 1 so that this half to he conversation makes sense! In Part 1 she tells us about some serious health challenges she's faced, including a really, REALLY important message about vocal care, plus how important a culture of wellbeing is in a school. So while in Part 1 we talked a lot about school experiences of wellbeing there, the conversation shifts in Part 2 to be about Elise's personal life and wellbeing, and the self-care practices in place that she supports herself with. It's so great to hear how she has changed her practices and also her mindset from paying attention to what's working and what's not, and being willing to try things to see how they will or won't support her wellbeing. Elise's story is also such a great example of how powerful coaching is to help upgrade and improve our wellbeing both in the classroom and in life. You can also find out about the Mind Management Pilot Program starting in mid July. Read more and book here:
In this episode we hear another teacher story, this time from Elise. Elise tells us about some serious health challenges she's faced, including a really important message for teachers about vocal care. We cover so many great points and it was such a good conversation that it actually went for nearly an hour, so I've split it into 2 parts. This episode, part 1, focuses on workplace stuff, the wellbeing challenges and the impact a leadership team that is proactively supportive of staff wellbeing has been. In Part 2 we focus on the more personal wellbeing side of things, and Elise shares some great tips there too, so stay tuned for that next week. Throughout both of these episodes, Elise mentions Katrina Bourke from Katrina Bourke Coaching, who is a friend and supporter of this podcast and has been a wonderful sponsor for a couple of seasons now. I do want to say, though, that this is NOT a sponsored episode, Katrina is not paying me to or Elise to say any of this. This is just a very real and honest testimonial for the power of coaching, and of course for Katrina's wonderful work both with individuals and with school staff. If you'd like to work with me there are a number of ways to do that, with individual coaching or group programs, online resources and also some in person workshops. You can find out more and book a discovery call with me at or sign up for all the resources on the Freebies Library, and stay tuned to the SC4T Facebook page for updates, events and resources. As always, remember you are a person first and a teacher second and you are worthy of your own care x
Despite the jokes that teaching is 9 - 3 with 12 weeks holiday a year, we know it to be otherwise. We know that the work starts well before 9am, finishes well after 3pm and that large parts of those holidays are usually spent working too. We also know that workload has been increasing over the last 10-20 years. The introduction of new improvement measures such as Professional Standards for Teachers and the national curriculum, as well as the impact of NAPLAN and the My School Website have resulted in more administrative work, much of which arguably has little to do with the actual running of a classroom day to day. There is a vast invisible workload required of teachers today, much of which isn't only invisible to the general public but it's also going unnoticed and unacknowledged by us too. As well as the administrative requirements of the job, the mental load of running a classroom and the emotional labour inherent in the role are increasing too. This episode is about that invisible work, and while there are no quick fixes, I offer some steps to take to help survive and practise self-care in the process. The Teachers Thriving list of Employee Assistance Services Mental load cartoon by French Cartoonist Emma, in the Guardian Mental load ABC article by Leah Ruppannah BBC Emotional labour article Toggl App The work hours tracking sheet on the Self-Care for Teachers Freebies Library Books mentioned: "The Wife Drought" by Annabelle Crabb and "Your Money or Your Life" by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
Teacher Stories | Kelsey

Teacher Stories | Kelsey


In this episode I interview Kelsey, a teacher from the United States. She shares with us her wellbeing challenges of being consumed by the job in her first year, and losing her identity as a person. Kelsey then tells us how she has overcome this through intentional personal growth and self-care. We talk about decision fatigue, the power of rituals and routines, and learning to switch off at night. You can find Kelsey at @adventuringkelsey on Facebook and Instagram and also at Connect with me @selfcareforteachers on Facebook and Instagram and at I also have a couple of announcements! • If you're in South East QLD Miranda from Kickstart Martial Arts and Yoga and I are running another PD, a Teacher Wellbeing Workshop in Toowoomba on Saturday the 29th June, so head to for the details and to book. Spots are limited so get in quick! • Speaking of events, make sure you keep an eye on the Facebook events list because I'm also running another free online video training on Saturday the 15th June at 9am, if you miss it it will be going into the freebies library so head to to check that out! • I'm also currently taking expressions of interest for a new group program I'll be running in Terms 3 and 4 of this year, all about having a better time managing and minding your mind. We touch on decision fatigue a little bit in this episode and I know that is something teachers struggle with, and of course there's a whole lot of other cognitive demands that impact us too, things like focus vs distraction, also called deep work vs shallow work, the mental energy required to be 'on' in the classroom all day versus the type of thinking that's required for planning, preparation, marketing and reporting tasks. Plus just switching off before bed. So anyway, if you're interested in taking part in a pilot program along those lines, send me a PM or a DM on Facebook or Instagram and let me know you're interested in the mind management program, and I'll send through more details. • And last but certainly not least, it's the middle of the year and the end of Term time which is a time often you can feel a bit exhausted and frustrated and just over it. And honestly, that's the perfect time to think about what you want to change. So I'm making myself available for some one-off Reflect + Refocus coaching sessions on the school holidays to help you get clear on what you'd like to change in the 2nd half of the year and how you'd like to support yourself with your health and wellbeing, as a person first and a teacher second. Now these are one offs, no ongoing coaching commitment, just time for your to Reflect + Refocus on you during the school holidays. So head to for more info on that!
In this episode I speak with Linda Back from Zest Natural Therapies. Linda works with a lot of teachers so I felt she was a great guest to cover this topic because she really does have a good understanding and appreciation of the kind of work that we do and the demands of working in a school that are different to other workplaces. We talk about all things to do with gut health and the immune system, which is such an important thing and very timely too at this time of year. Disclaimer: This podcast episode is NOT medical advice, this is general information only and you need to speak to your health practitioner to get advice that is right for you. Connect with Linda via her website, on Facebook, or email her at Some articles Linda suggests are below, and you can also check out her free e-course on immmunity here. • Low immunity/continual colds & flus: • Burnout recovery: • Zinc • Magnesium: • Gut health:
I share 5 steps to changing your health habits and improving your wellbeing as a teacher. When I'm coaching teachers, running live webinars or presenting workshops and retreats, you tell me that your habits are something you know undermines your wellbeing, especially as the busy times of term set in. So hopefully this episode will be quite timely for you and will help you cultivate wellbeing habits that support your health and happiness not just on the school holidays but throughout the year as well. Find some helpful worksheets, including a self-coaching worksheet, a healthy habit tracker and a free training about healthy habit hacks, in the freebies library on the Self-Care for Teachers Resource Room: I also have some important people to thank. In case you don't know, podcasts are free to listen to but they're not free to make and if you've been paying attention on the socials, you'll know I ran a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier in the year to make this Season 5 of the show possible. I want to publicly thank the people who supported this show via that Pozible campaign. So, a big shout out goes to Naomi Arnold, Jessica B, Penny C, Bek P, Kelsey G, Jessica D, Amanda Rootsey, Leanne, Jess H, Amorina, Marie-Therese, David Masefield, Valda, Karly Nimmo, Naomi C, Sarah P, Phil C, Miranda, Katrina Bourke from Katrina Bourke Coaching, Katie McCray from See Me, Know Me, Teach Me, Jessica Terlick from Lead and Inspire, Trudy from Teachers Thriving and Zoe Eather from My Smart Community. There were also a number of wonderful, wonderful people who contributed to the crowdfunded who wished to remain anonymous, and I completely respect their wish. However, I do want to give them a shout out here as well without mentioning names. So thank you, dear anonymous supporters, you know who you are and I am truly grateful. Notes and links can be found at and follow me on the socials @selfcareforteachers If you enjoyed this episode, and especially if it made you think about a teacher that you care about who you think needs to hear this message, please share it with them. Hit the 3 dots on whatever podcatcher you're listening in and share the episode to your socials. Or, send your friends to As always, remember you're a person first and a teacher second and you are worthy of your own care x
This is the last episode of Season 4, and I'm talking about three thinking traps that sabotage your wellbeing as a teacher. I see these all the time and I experience them myself, so don't feel like you're alone in it. Of course it's not an exhaustive list, but these are the top three that I see and I think it's useful to identify them so that we can get out of the trap. I've heard Katrina Bourke say that we have to "name it to tame it" when talking about emotions, and I think it applies here too. Once we're aware of these thinking traps, we can catch ourselves in the act and redirect our thoughts to be more conducive to supporting our self-care and our health and happiness, instead of sabotaging it. May the rest of your 2018 go smoothly and I hope you will join me on the socials and via the newsletter so you can be the first to know about announcements and have access to things like early bird prices for programs I'm running in the new year. Support the show at and by leaving a rating and review on your podcast app. Reach out if you have a teacher story about health and wellbeing that you'll like to share on the next season of the podcast. Until next season, remember you are a person first and a teacher second and you are worthy of your own care! Find the show notes for this episode at and connect with me @selfcareforteachers on Facebook and Instagram. This episode is sponsored by Katrina Bourke Coaching, helping caring professions create a life of balance and flow. Find out more at and evolve, transform, thrive.
In this episode, I interview Clare Crew, a mother, teacher, speaker and host of the Thriving Children podcast. Clare shares with us some of the ups and downs on her journey of parenting and integrating that with her role as an educator, being still a great teacher while having some energy left for your own children. She experienced post-natal depression in her shift into motherhood, and I really wanted to have her on the show because of course teaching is still a predominantly female workforce and many still think of it as a very family-friendly profession, but it isn't always the case. Obviously every parent's story will be different and there is no one-size-fits-all but as you probably know by now, I think it's important to talk about mental health challenges and also to share a range of different career options for teachers at any stage of life. Clare talks in this episode about the different choices she's made in her teaching career since becoming a parent, and how that's still evolving. I also particularly love her point about superheroes being fictional characters and that we shouldn't compare ourselves to them, or to anyone else for that matter. I hope that you enjoy this interview with Clare Crew from Thriving Children. Find the show notes for this episode at and connect with Clare at or on Facebook @ThriveEducationAndWellness This episode is brought to you by Daniela Falecki's teacher wellbeing cards. These 52 cards give you simple daily reminders to help better support your wellbeing. Find them and Daniela's other resources at
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