‘As professions, Teaching and Nursing tend to be at the top of the scale when it comes to lack of self-care.’ (Said by a Clinical Psychologist at an AIS seminar some years ago.)
I’ve never forgotten this statement and I’ve always grappled with how we can improve this situation for teachers. Without a doubt, most of us came into the profession because of a love of teaching and a positive concern for children. Many Christian educators strive to live out the Apostle Paul’s words to the Thessalonians – ‘We loved you so much that that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well’ (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
When you put classroom preparation aside, a large proportion of a teacher’s time is spent in pastoral care and welfare situations – interacting with our students to help them make the best choices and the most of life. We are a caring profession. We want the best for our students. But on the whole, we’re not great at caring for ourselves.
While trawling through a bookshop a number of years ago I came across the book Resilient Ministry, which is based on seven years of qualitative research. While its target audience is pastors and church-workers it also claims to be relevant to all those in vocational ministry (Introduction), and I couldn’t help but notice the startling similarities between the responses of Church-based pastoral staff and what I had been seeing in schools for some time. The book explores the ideas of building resilience by pursuing spiritual formation, avoiding burnout, building emotional and cultural intelligence, alongside developing healthy practices for stress management and leadership.
I’m excited that Professor Donald Guthrie has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the upcoming EdComm Christians in Teaching Conference. Apart from being a co-author of Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us about Surviving and Thriving, he is currently the Professor of Educational Ministries, Director of the PhD in Educational Studies and The Jeanette L. Hsieh Chair of Educational Leadership at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago, Illinois. Professor Guthrie will bring his extensive experience in education to our Christians in Teaching Conference in May 2018 as we explore the idea of ‘Resilient Teaching’ together.
Click here for more information and to register for the Christians in Teaching Conference.